Sprouts Market, Westheimer at Kirkwood
The new Sprouts Market opened yesterday at Westheimer and Kirkwood, and I stopped by after work out of curiosity.
I had really been looking forward to it as an alternative to my usual but always crowded HEB on the opposite corner. I was disappointed. The produce section is nice, but pricey. The meat looked good, but pricey. The cheese and deli is stocking Boars Head, but selection is limited and it's pricey.
I bought carrots and eggs because they were on sale and I was out. I did NOT buy the turbinado sugar that I'm also out of because it was...
I have to say that I liked the Fresh Market, (that opened last week on Memorial), better and I expected just the opposite. Sprouts is much closer to me, but Fresh Market is just as convenient if I'm stopping by on my way home from work. Neither will become my regular grocery store.
The best thing about Sprouts is that it will hopefully pull some people from my always crowded HEB. If it doesn't, it probably won't be around long.
I was in the area recently and stopped in to check it out. Of all the new grocery stores coming to town, this seemed the most promising to me from the advance publicity and it was the most disappointing so far. I was very disappointed in the small produce department. I had to pick carefully to find some decent looking Jazz apples and they turned out to be the most insipid I've had in 2 years. I picked up some organic Ecuadorian bananas; I'd never seen Ecuadorian bananas anywhere here and I've heard Ecuador is known for it's bananas. Then I found them the next week cheaper at the new Fiesta Market Place in Sugar Land. So far I haven't detected anything special about them.
Besides the Boar's Head meats I noticed Usinger's sausages, a very good sausage purveyor from Wisconsin. Spec's downtown is the only other place in town to get them that I know of and depending on inventory, Spec's is likely to have a better selection. Boar's Head is available everywhere these days.
I also noticed the packaged meats in a self serve cooler from Durham Ranch including bison, elk, antelope, I think I remember camel and some others. I picked up a small package of Durham Ranch Wild Boar sausage which I assume was supposed to be a breakfast sausage but I used for some very good wild boar burgers.
I was intrigued by the very modest prices on the ready-to-eat meals and entrees and sides but none of them looked all that great and I had all my meals planned out for several days so I didn't take a chance on any of them. There were numerous free samples in the bakery department but none impressed me so I passed on buying anything there.
The bottom line on this is real easy for me: it's way too far out of the way to be a regular on my shopping rotation. i will give it another couple of tries when I'm out that way, say for a trip to Phoenicia, or maybe when I want to try some more of the game meats or Usinger sausages but otherwise, I'll pass.
I checked it out about a week or so after the grand opening but it was so crowded I couldn't really get the measure of the place. I did find that the 'pricey-ness' varied. (ie., $1.98 for organic kale vs $2.98 at HEB but $18.xx for a bottle of Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc vs $11.59 at HEB). I need to go back when it is not so mobbed - I noticed they had a meat counter with lots of 'natural' meat. It was too crowded for me to ask exactly what 'natural' meat is....
I think they are going after the Whole Food market more than HEB.
I haven't been to Fresh Market yet.
OK, I've been back to Sprouts a couple of times and it's growing on me.
Last weekend, armed with the weekly circular, I hit it up for about 6 lbs of "Natural" 85/15 ground beef. At $1.99/lb, I made taco meat, Marguerite's Chili, and hamburgers with enough to freeze of each, (as well as a couple of pounds frozen uncooked).
Also, Boar's Head smoked Turkey at $7.99/lb, Pepper Jack Cheese at $1.99/lb, Organic Red Leaf Lettuce at $0.99/lb, Hatch Peppers at $0.48/lb, and maybe a few other things.
I won't do my weekly shopping there, but it might just become a frequent stop for the sale items. It's convenient enough to me to warrant that.
I thought I should come back and 'fess up, since I sort of panned them the first time through. Quality is good and service is very good.
If you haven't been, you should check them out.