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Does anyone manage to shop in one supermarket, or do you have to make the rounds to find what you need?

I'm not even referring to stops at farm stands or ethnic/speciality shops...We just find that no one store carries all the items we need. Which is your fave go to supermarket and what are your supplementary ones? Until we found MB, we used to just go to our local Stop&Shop cuz it had most of what we need and was quiet and convenient, but they have become more expensive and carry less than they used to. We probably shop most at Hannafords cuz its smaller and cheaper than the others, and MB, however we have at least one or more staples that only Shaws and TJs has. So we can end up at Hannys, MB, WF, TJs, S&S and Shaws in a month just to find all our stuff! Plus, not one of them has a bakery that reigns supreme, but they each have at least one bakery item that outdoes the others..

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  1. We find all of our basic needs at our local Stop and Shop and Kam Man.

    But we buy stuff at a ton of other places because we want to. (Famers market, firmaggio, Irish butcher, etc )

    1. This made me think about how my parents did it. I never remember my Mom making the rounds, so to speak. She went to the local Grand Union once/week. Throw in a farmer's market in the summer to supplement what we didn't grow in our own gardens, and that was it.

      Like you, we make the rounds. We go to Russo's 2x/month, MB 1x/month, TJs multiple times/week (it's close), and the occasional trip to S&S to pick up/supplement what we couldn't get elsewhere. We only go to WF when we want the oysters or to Shaws over by BU for the fish and other seafood. No single store satisfies all of our wants, so round and round we go. Two weeks ago, we were having friends over for dinner, and I hit TJs, S&S, and Russo's all in one morning to make sure I had all that I wanted. Fun dinner though!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cachetes

        Cachetes, you're writing from inside my head! My mom did Safeway once a week, with all six of us trailing behind her. I live close to Russo's and am there every Saturday when they open. I shop at my local butcher, farmers' markets, and fishmonger, and I'm lucky to have Middle Eastern and Portuguese shops nearby. When I go out west I pick up raw milk and fresh eggs. This is shopping, but it's also my idea of a good time! For the paper/cleaning/cat litter sorts of things I go to Costco twice a year and stock up. I don't care if I never see the inside of a regular supermarket again.

        1. re: elenacampana

          I do the weekly shopping at MB and get everything we need for the week, or just do without whatever I can't get. We also get all our paper products, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, spices, and other stuff that we use a lot of at Costco. I also buy fish or some type of meat a couple times per month there. My wife hits up Trader Joes about twice a month for snacky type stuff and muffins for the kids, but these are really unecessary purchases imo.

          I have to visit 4 or 5 different beer stores per month to get all the beers I like to drink on a regular basis.

      2. Our Saturday morning consists of:

        Iggy's - bread (and coffee and pizza and snacks and salmon bagel)
        Russo's - veggies, fruit, tofu (they carry a fantastic fresh tofu made in JP), milk, cheese, pasta
        Arax - whatever looks good produce-wise, yogurt
        Whole Foods - a few items here and there
        Dulock - meat

        Basically only go to Stop and Shop in Watertown for processed food snacks and paper goods. Star Market in Porter in a pinch, but man does the produce there just suck. I should go to MB in Somerville more often, but I don't.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          I would suggest you go to any other MB. I'm a fan of the chain, but this location is just beyond over-the-top crazy at all hours.

          1. re: CportJ

            If you take a Zen approach, it can be quite pleasant.

        2. TJ's for a decent bit; WF in either Arlington for a basic list, or Woburn/Fresh Pond for a more extensive trip; Wilson Farm if the list is produce heavy. MB in Burlington for staples like distilled vinegar. H-mart for the occasional asian-themed ingredients.

          1. while the produce at our local stupidmarket looks pretty, it is more than twice the price of the fruit and veggie market, so that alone makes it a two stop shopping trip.
            the large megamarts in many parts of the country try to fill every need, but they all fall short on brands and certain quality that many of us here on Chohound.com may want or avoid.
            TJ's has an appeal for a few things. at least to fill the void made by supermegamarkets for items they fill the shelves with cause it's a higher profit for them.
            Most other chains are not available in our immediate area, so for supermarkets it's King Kullen, Shop Rite, Pathmark, Stop & Shop and the fruit and vegetable markets. The ethnic food shops provide a large bulk of what is purchased as well.

            1. We totally make the rounds - the primary market for us is Wilson Farms - at least once weekly, Trader Joe's for dry goods and deli cheeses once a month or so, Roche Bros once a month or so for dry goods that are not at TJ's (we never buy from the produce or bakery at Roche Bros). We do a big shop at Russo's every 6 weeks or so to mix things up a bit.

              We make frequent ad hoc stops among Whole Foods (Fresh Pond, Medford, and Arlington - in that order of preference), New Deal, Fresh Pond Seafood, and D'Agostino's depending on what protein we are craving, as well as Iggy's and Mamadou's for fresh bread, and Busa Farm in season for produce (especially their greens!) grown closest to home.

              Occasional treats are to visit Concord for Pete & Jen's for eggs and get what's in season at Verrill Farms along with their amazing prepared foods and bakery goods. Further afield is Wegman's which is worth a trek once in while as well.

              We have a Stop n Shop less than a mile away that we avoid whenever possible and have not shopped at Shaw's in years (worst produce quality to value ratio around IMHO).

              We miss Foodmaster, and think we should be going to Market Basket but can't deal with the parking lots in Burlington or Somerville.

              1. market basket, costco, shaw farms for milk and cream, north end butchers, haymarket if i am nearby on a friday, farmers' markets in summer. sometimes hannaford's but that requires a nasty drive to drum hill.

                asian markets for oogly bits of meat, cheap veggies and cooking staples like sesame oil.

                we buy wine, beer and booze in nh.

                we buy no processed foods or ready-to-eat meals.

                i have given up on trader joe's, will no longer get robbed at whole paycheck.

                there is a stop&shop right across from a convenient mb and i am always shocked at how much higher the s&s prices are.

                1. I rarely find everything I need in one stop. I shop at Whole Foods quite frequently. Yes, it can be more expensive for certain items (though not everything..), but the quality is far superior to many other options around here. I'm willing to pay more for good quality ingredients. I also shop frequently at a local meat market and at a produce market next door to it. I also find other items I like at stores like Caputo's and Tony's. To make one meal, I will often go to the meat market, the produce market and then one other store (WF, Jewel, Tony's or Caputo's) to pick up the rest. Kind of crazy, but I am very picky about my ingredients. Cooking is my passion.

                  1. I make the rounds. I don't have a car, so a lot of my choices are based on proximity/easy distance to the T. Every so often I get a Zipcar and go to more far-flung locations but this is my regular rotation:

                    -MB for most things (except meat and fish)
                    -Whole Foods for what I can't get at MB
                    -Dulock or Union Square/Armory farmers market for meat
                    -New Deal or Courthouse for seafood
                    -TJs for random processed crap and certain specific items: I really like their whole-grain sourdough bread, for example and the frozen roasted corn
                    -Target when we stock up on paper goods

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LeoLioness

                      for us, its silly little items like Old Cape Cod Rounds crackers, only at MB or 3x price at Wilson, Smuckers Blueberry All Fruit Preserves only at Shaws, Kiss My Face fragrance free soap only at Hannafords or prolly at WF at 2x the price. I wont usually travel out of the way just to get a cheaper price on a couple items cuz the gas costs more than you save these days... I guess our parents didn't have such finicky preferences as we have.. But with the hugeness of these stores, don't know why they don't all carry everything! I

                    2. The only place that sells the dry cat food my feline Chow Hounds will eat is Star, so I feel coerced into occasional trips there, which I would otherwise avoid. But once I get there, I stock up on paper goods as well. I rarely buy anything there that falls into the human food category. Their produce is beyond pathetic.

                      1. To do a complete shop I have to go to 3 supermarkets and a butcher shop. Luckily they are all pretty close together.

                        1. Bear in mind...you may be asking the wrong crowd...

                          1. Like many others I have a favorite market for the bulk of my shopping (market Basket) and like to shop at specialty shops for higher quality or unique items.Baked goods, fresh pasta and cheeses, Italian or Asian specialties, and often my local butcher and fishmarket. We're not against making the 70 mile trip to Boston or Providence before the holidays or big parties. I buy my wife flowers often and TJs has the best assortment at very reasonable prices so I usually hit there 2-3x per month.

                            To those who need to make a special trip for pet food, try on-line scheduled shipments. Petango.com sends me two 38 # bags every 14 weeks of Hund 'N Flokken kibble for our dogs and I save about $6 per bag and it's delivered free to my door. I'll also use on-line shopping from D'Artagnan for specialty foods or The Stockyards for aged prime beef, but neither is cheap!

                            1. I only wish I could find everything I need in one place.

                              Trader Joes: The bulk of my frozen items, snack foods, and things like polenta or coconut oil that are crazy expensive elsewhere

                              Pemberton Farms: Produce, 'fancy stuff', deli items, and alcohol

                              McKinnon's: Meat!

                              Star Market (Porter): Name-brand items that can't be had at the above places, like soda, condiments, etc

                              1. I frequent Market Basket for odd and ends, Costco for the bulk of my shopping, avoid Stop & Shop and Shaw's unless I feel like I just won the lottery, Fish monger for seafood, TJ's just disappoints and Wegman's doesn't impress me at all. In the summer, I like my local farm stands.

                                1. With the increase in supermarket choices I'm no longer loyal to anyone. It doesn't pay to be. The superM's are always outdoing each other and more than ever the consumer comes out the winner by not being loyal.

                                  Meanwhile, the littler guy also moves in and does a bang up job of winning me over on a ton of items I can buy at the SuperM's but won't because of price.

                                  While shopping for hand cream, I bought eggs at Walgreen's the other day for .59/dozen; limit 3. That's about as good an example as I can make.

                                  1. I could probably do all my shopping at the Chelsea or Burlington Market Basket. Or, alternately Hay Market + the North End. But I do like my bread from Trader Joe's, and nuts, and ...

                                    I go to Hay Market regularly and a butcher in the North End for sausages. The biscotti place closed :(. Hay Market isn't much cheaper v.s Chelsea Market Basket, and the MB quality is a bit higher. But I enjoy Hay Market a lot!

                                    I recently calculated that if I low ball the value of my time and cost out my driving at the IRS deduction rate a half hour round trip to the grocery story is, at minimum, ~10 bucks. So I probably ought to be more willing to use the nearby stores for incidentals.

                                    Meanwhile http://www.checkbook.org/ recently finished a nicely researched piece on the various grocery stores in the area; you can probably get it at your local library. There is a nice little chart comparing the annual cost of various stores, according to which there is a $4,992 difference twix MB and WF.

                                    I also fill my growlers in Chelsea.

                                    6 Replies
                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        I'm partial to Sulmona on Richmond myself.

                                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                          Now I'm really missing the location feature that used to be supported.....

                                          1. re: sr44

                                            Sorry, it's actually on Parmenter. This should help:


                                            Best sausages I've ever had. And don't get me started about the hand cut to order veal. Ever order "meatball mix" and have them grind the beef, veal, and pork in front of your eyes? Incredible.

                                      2. re: bhyde

                                        Thanks for the link to that supermarket comparison. It's really very interesting. I have some friends who are MB-phobes, and now I can - with scientific proof - let them know that MB is, in fact, 22% cheaper than S&S or Shaw's ... not to even mention whole foods. Linked here:

                                        1. re: ClippyZ

                                          Agreed. That was an interesting read. I also believe if they checked the Cape stores, where Stop & Shop enjoys precious few competitors, they would find a far greater disparity between them and MB. I find MANY items with are a full 50% cheaper than S&S, but the Cape has the highest S&S prices in the chain, from what I'm told.

                                      3. We do a bulk shopping run every month/month-and-a-half at either Costco or BJ's. We supplement it with what time/finances allow.

                                        Stop & Shop is the closest supermarket to the house, so if I need something at that very moment, that's where I go.

                                        Hannaford is the second choice -- a bit further than Stoppy, but depending on the time of day, there's a mess of traffic to contend with on the way there.

                                        I seldom go into Shaw's/Star, even though there's one a mile or two from our house. Last time I was in there it was too depressing for me to explore.

                                        MB is a bit of a haul for us. I have done monthly runs there, though, when I haven't had the chance to do Costco/BJ's.

                                        If I'm in a TJ area, I'll pop in, but I don't make a point to do it often unless I'm looking for something specific.

                                          1. Could. Don't wanna.

                                            My thing is that since I work at home, doing the shopping is pretty much the only time I get out of the house during the day. So it's not so much that I "have" to go to multiple stores as I find that a pleasant way to kill a few hours on a weekday morning.

                                            1. I can find everything I need in terms of grocery items at my local Market Basket...especially since I asked them about carrying a couple of items I went to Whole Foods for and they agreed.
                                              I don't purchase meat or seafood at the grocery store. So both of those require a trip to either Thwaites Market or Lobster tail.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: BlueMagic

                                                Plus 1 for Thwaites, pretty awesome meat pies.

                                              2. The Shaw's in Canton is a one stop for me. The salmon is always great and there's always plenty of ginger root.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: libertywharf

                                                  Just curious if it's just a problem with the Shaw's on Lexington St. in Waltham, but they never seem to scale the salmon. It's very fresh, but hard to grab on to a small piece of fish to scrape off the scales. Have you noticed this in Canton?