It finally happened, and folks — including a lot of gays — were ready to turn out for it: The opening of Trader Joe’s on Lower Greenville Avenue.
I wrote about the Big Opening a few weeks ago, and it arrived over the weekend. On Saturday, like a lot of people, I went in excited to see what they had in store. I had ever heard rumors that they had a bar inside.
If there was a bar, it escaped my view — at least not one that sold booze. There was a coffee stand, and a kiosk near the wine department where you could sample the latest pours, and nosh on cheese. And there’s a kind of deli set-up in the produce section that’s actually more of a taste kitchen, where the product of the day is featured and they hand out tiny plastic cups to sample it.
But for those who expected something along the lines of a foodgasm, it was slightly disappointing. The butcher shop had tons of product: Lots of organic chicken and hormone-free beef and the prices were even good. But if you were looking for something specific — say, chicken thighs, but nothing else — it was hard to find. The canned food section is actually smaller than my home pantry, with just some basics: Organic black beans, chickpeas, chili, soups.
The selection, it seems, is reserved for the frozen food section, which was extensive, and the produce, which included mini heirloom tomatoes and shallots and avocados.
Not, however, any scallions — who doesn’t have scallions?
But keep in mind: Trader Joe’s isn’t really about selection, but what Joe happens to have to trade this week. You get the feeling the inventory will change a lot, and that there will be a different thing to discover each week. And at a good price. And with tons of wine.
You want an orgy of choice? Go to Central Market. But I liked Trader Joe’s quaintness (the too-narrow checkout lines are all named after neighboring streets) and the enthusiasm of the staff. And $3 wine ain’t bad.
More photos below.