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Jan 11, 2012 05:14 AM

Cheap groceries? Moving to Brookline area,,..from out of state

So - will have a car - so can move around easily to find good grocery prices.

Will actually be working slightly south of Brookline.

Not familiar with the chains here - Shop Rite near where I live now always had the best prices during sales ("can-can")


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  1. Hi, and welcome! You should check out Market Basket in Somerville. If you're a weekly shopper, it will be worth your while to make the trip. I don't know where you're coming from, but be prepared for the cost of living to be higher here.

    1. The cheapest prices are at Market Basket. The closest locations to Brookline are Somerville and Chelsea, and both are usually super-crowded unless you go at off-hours (I like to go after 8pm), and are probably a pain to drive to from Brookline. The Somerville location also tends to run out of things from time to time (skim milk, lobsters, isolated produce items like ginger or loose mushrooms). If you go to the Somerville one, you can combine the trip with a stop at Reliable Market, an Asian market with a heavy focus on Korean and Japanese products and very good prices. Other worthwhile stops in the area might include McKinnon's (meat, Davis Sq), either New Deal or Courthouse fish markets, or Mayflower Poultry (all on Cambridge St in Cambridge).

      I've recently been adding a stop at Whole Foods to my grocery shopping routing and I've been pleasantly surprised with the prices for many items, especially the conventionally-grown produce, house-brand items, and bulk items.

      I find Shaw's and Foodmaster to be painfully overpriced, at least compared to Market Basket (and often higher than WF too), unless an item is on sale. Shaw's also irks me by being the type of store that seems to focus on things like pre-packaged scallions, bagged salad mixes, and salt-injected pork at the expense of good, inexpensive produce and meat.

      If you're in the area, a stop a Russo's in Watertown for produce is a good idea. Good prices, excellent selection. It's a fabulous store.

      I'm sure people will chime in with more Brookline-centric suggestions.

      New Deal Fish Market
      622 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

      Courthouse Fish Market
      484 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

      McKinnon's Meat Market
      239 Elm St, Somerville, MA

      Mayflower Poultry Company
      621 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA

      Reliable Meat Market
      45 Union Sq, Somerville, MA

      Market Basket
      400 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA

      Market Basket
      170 Everett Ave, Chelsea, MA

      1 Reply
      1. re: emannths

        Market Basket Somerville was the bomb when I lived there years ago. Best prices on lobster and steamers. Great vegetable selection. Best prices all around. Decent meats. Closer to Brookline there should be some large Asian supermarkets in Alston.

      2. There's not much cheap in Brookline.

        South of Brookline being .... Where?

        5 Replies
          1. re: few

            Norwood is way south of West Roxbury, not to mention Brookline! There are lots of the giant stores down there such as Walmart, and in Dedham there is Whole Foods, Costco, BJ's, Ocean State and a giant Stop and Shop and a Shaws. In Westwood there is Roche Bros.which has great loss leader sales but generally is higher than the Stop and Shop, I can;t imagine why anyone would be willing to slog through the traffic to shop at Market Basket unless they were shopping for a months worth of food. The gas would be a cost factor for a trip that far.

            1. re: Berheenia

              It started out with suggesting Market Basket before the OP said they were working in Norwood. Your suggestions certainly make more sense. I didn't know Ocean State sold food.

              1. re: CookieLee

                My OSJL's food section looks like it might have fallen from the truck. A lot of odd brands..

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Agree but the OP asked for 'cheap groceries' and OSJL food is DIRT cheap.

        1. Trader Joe's in Brookline has some good values if you want to stay local.

          4 Replies
          1. re: suzysue2

            Yes, the Trader Joes in Coolidge Corner is great for certain things, like cheap wine.

            1. re: Kinopio

              Depends on how you shop and what you shop for. The Russian stores, particularly Bazaar, are great for all kinds of first quality meats, jams, honey, pickles, and some excellent produce. Russos is in Watertown and is great for most fruits, vegetables, cheeses, Clear Flour and Japonaise are in Brookline and where you go for bread, Trader Joes is fine for a lot of basics, including wine, tea, juice, but has lousy produce generally, Armenian stores in Watertown particularly Arax have great produce, spices, etc. See Emannths list above for the best in seafood (New Deal), chicken, eggs and other poultry (Mayflower), super 88 for all things Asian (Brighton). If you are looking for a single supermarket to shop in, Market Basket is the closest until the proposed new Wegman's opens in Newton, or you might try a membership at Costco in Waltham.

              1. re: teezeetoo

                We love New Deal and will only buy seafood here. However, it is anything BUT cheap.

                1. re: teezeetoo

                  IMO, Costco doesn't fit the bill as a "single supermarket" unless your buying habits are extremely limited (there are too many things they don't carry, or only carry in unreasonable quantities). Also, Market Basket has similar prices on many food items, though Costco's items are sometimes higher quality. Costco has its merits (I'm still a member), but for grocery shopping you're probably better off just going to MB.

                  I agree with Small Plates that New Deal is not cheap. It's one of those places that offers only the best quality items and (rightfully) charges more than supermarket prices. I've seen higher prices than New Deal though, and they certainly don't take the price-is-no-object attitude that some specialty/high-end places do. Same with Mayflower--you're getting stuff that's probably higher quality than Market Basket, and you pay a reasonable premium for it. I think Mayflower chickens are something like $1.60-$2.70/lb, depending on their origin and organic pedigree, whereas MB's Perdue chickens are $0.90/lb.

            2. you may also want to go to the farmer's markets which open in June and go through Thanksgiving; they are scattered throughout the Boston metropolitan area though they are not necessarily cheap.

              wf is most expensive when you buy their food that is prepared in the store; most of the regular items are not that far out of line.

              But, of course, why buy fish there if you can make it to New Deal/Courthouse?

              Formagio's also has excellent cheese, but again they are expensive.