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does anyone shop at Grocery Outlet?

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i have been to one Grocery Outlet - interesting products, very economical, the employees were very friendly and helpful.

is it the next Trader Joe's?

i don't know and i have no affiliation.

just curious what you all think.

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  1. The San Francisco board has had periodic 'this month's finds' thread. There was an attempt to expand that to either the Chains board, or other regional ones. The Seattle board version didn't get much traffic. Anyways, check San Francisco.

    1. i do and i enjoy it. however, i go there for interesting finds rather than specifics. i treat it like a "supplementary" store. The next Trader Joe's it is not.

      1. I do occasionally. Sometimes they have some great stuff, sometimes they have nothing at all that I want or need. No, not the next TJ's but it really does fill a niche market, their prices are great if you find something you like.

        1. I shop there on occasion. I don't find there to be any similarity to Trader Joe's though. I think Trader Joe's has many unique items you don't see at your typical grocery store. Grocery Outlet has items you'd find at any grocery store, though they sometimes have brands that are normally carried in other parts of the country. Recently I picked up a couple bags of old fashioned yellow grits. My local stores only carry white instant grits. My parents like to buy jarred pears and peaches at GO. Just recently they had jarred Del Monte peaches for $.99/jar. I've seen the same product at Safeway for $3.99/jar. When I go to TJ's I know I'll walk out of there with at least a few items, at GO, I may find something that's a great deal, or I may walk out empty-handed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gmm

            There are occasional overlaps between GO and TJ, but not many. I have stocked up on a ground Italian espresso coffee at GO, the same brand that TJ used to carry. I also got a Spanish Tempranillo at similar price, and quality, from both. And of late I've been getting mascarpone for less at GO than at TJ. But the nature of shopping at GO is that the great finds are there today, and gone tomorrow.

            1. re: paulj

              Word, PaulJ. If you like it and it's in stock, buy lots!

              The nature of the store is they buy sellouts, soon to expire and discontinued items.

              I just had a trio of Spanish goat cheese, sliced in wedges. 5 oz for $1.99, so a little over $6/lb, a really great price. So yummy. All gone now, natch.

              Last summer they had mozzarella rolled around prosciutto. A slice of that, some crusty bread, who needs to cook in the heat?

          2. I too treat Grocery Outlet as a supplementary store. It is the third stop in my shopping trip that starts at Winco then Fresh & Easy. I don't have a convenient Trader Joe's nearby, and I sure do miss it. GO is really nothing like Trader Joe's.

            1. Grocery Outlet and Trader Joes have always served different purposes. The original concept for GO was as a gov't surplus food distributor, then grew into Canned Foods in the 70s, dealing in dented cans and distributor surplus food as well. Sometimes I'd go there just to see the funky different labels they had. The student housing co-ops at UC Berkeley always did huge shopping trips there to fill their pantries. On my last trip to GO, they had Hellmann's mayo, but only in the 2 qt. size, even though we're in Best Foods territory. (I bought one for a neighbor friend from the east, since he yearns for Hellmann's. It is a different product—a bit less tangy than Best Foods.)

              Trader Joes always leaned more heavily on remnant alcohol sales and high-brow food stuffs. Their cut and wrapped in store country paté was cheap and really good. Today, they only carry paté in little plastic tubs. The TJs I began going to in West Hollywood in 1985 is nothing like the TJs today. I don't even think they had anything privately labeled back then, whereas over half the store or more seems like it's "made for Trader Joes" now, sort of like Nordstrom's Rack! :)

              I shop at both GO and TJs on occasion, knowing full well that I need to taste-test anything from GO pretty quickly, since it may not be there for very long, plus most items are very near their 'Best By' date. I've been buying the Del Monte fruit in glass for 99¢ not only for the fruit, but also the container to keep homemade soup in in the fridge. The 'Best By' date on those is 3/11/12, today! GO only has a few items I surmise are made just for them, such as the California Healthy Harvest line of canned tomato products. A small can of tomato paste is reliably 39¢ at GO, for instance. That's a brand I've seen there for at least a decade or more, and always reliably good eatin' for less than half the price of most tomato pastes in standard supermarkets.

              Oddly, I believe GO is a better source overall for inexpensive good wine these days, the crown TJs used to hold. Selection and supply is limited, but GO doesn't have nearly the shelf space to fill for wines, and they get their share of real stinkers. As an example, I just picked up a 2009 Malbec from Argentina for $4/bottle that's perfectly acceptable for drinking now and will be marvelous to cook with. I can't recall any wine recently under $10 at TJs that I've been as happy with as this Malbec. On the other hand, a Riesling I bought for $3 from a highly respected winery was badly cooked and went down the drain.

              I hope GO stays just as it is. Some of the stuff is real junk and I just pass it by, while some of it is top quality for real bargain prices. Where else are you going to find glass jars of Himalayan Pink Salt from the Cucina brand for $2.99 that sells elsewhere for $12 or so? I also noticed my local GO here in Oregon is selling Miller-brand beef franks for $5.99 for the big pack. That's expensive for the clientele who frequents a remnant store, even though those are high-quality franks, well worth the money. But that's a well-known purveyor from the Bay Area—I'd be surprised if many in Oregon would pay that kind of price for hot dogs from a little-known brand up here that has a short time until the 'Best By' date runs out.

              The other place I've been shopping in lately is Dollar Tree. There are two near me, and they both have Jumex nectars in the Tetrapak for $1 a liter. I love me some guava nectar at that price! Same brand is usually 79 or 89¢ for a 12 oz. can at Safeway, for about a third of the quantity.