I have always heard “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” And, when it comes to grocery stores, that statement is definitely true. Before our visit, during my planning research, I kept finding references to two grocery stores, Whole Foods Market and Central Market, among the “must see” attractions. I must confess that I wondered what would make a grocery store qualify as a tourist attraction. As soon as I entered Central Market, the reason became clear. Central Market was described to me by a local resident as “like Whole Foods, only not as pricey.”
As I rounded a corner, I found myself by the butcher and fishmonger areas. On the right side of a wide aisle is the meat and poultry. On the left side is the long seafood counter with many seafood selections to choose from.
Next were the aisles of canned goods and other staples, organic supplements and cosmetic products, natural cleaning products, paper products, and grains. Then the frozen foods and baked goods. And finally, near the cash registers, the floral department. Every department in this store is at least twice as large as the stores I am accustomed to. The size of the store reminded me of a Costco, but just filled with organic groceries and products. And it’s not just the size of the store, but the variety, quality, and prices of the produce, meat, seafood, and other products that is impressive. I’d give anything to have a store like that near my home to shop on a weekly basis! (Sigh. Oh, well.)
Austin is also the original home of Whole Foods Market. We visited the original store a few days ago and were even more AMAZED. It’s quite a destination, bigger even than the Central Market.There are multiple mini-restaurants within the store to sit and have a meal. You can purchase anything from sushi to tacos to barbecue to deli sandwiches to Italian cuisine.
The store apparently frequently has live music, although on the day we were there recorded music was playing. Like the Central Market, each grocery section is humongous. Central Market does have them beat on price, but ambiance of the store and the shopping experience at this Whole Foods is a notch up from any other Whole Foods I’ve been in and from Central Market as well (though truly, Central Market beats the average grocery store experience hands down.)
Grocery shopping in Austin is kind of like going to a gigantic farmers market. Lots of choices of fresh foods displayed in a very inviting atmosphere. Austin’s restaurant scene is known for great food. I guess having such amazing grocery markets is in keeping with Austin’s foodie image. At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to these two stores during our stay in Austin.
This is my last post from Austin. We’re starting on our journey home and leaving our Texas adventures behind. We’ll be on the road for several days, stopping in New Orleans and a small town in Alabama on the way home. At any rate, my next post will be after we’re back home in North Carolina. As much as I’ve enjoyed our time away, I am looking forward to getting home and to the coming of spring in the mountains.
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