As someone who spent his college career allowing the variety of VIC specials to dictate his meals for the week, I (along with a million middle-class dads throughout North Carolina) am a Harris Teeter fanatic. With that said, there’s no denying that the Plaza-Midwood location is, um, less than ideal. Yelp users routinely trash the store with a vitriol once reserved for Republican presidential hopefuls (the average rating is 2.5/5 stars) and the 10pm closing time has jammed up the entire neighborhood at one time or another.
So with that in mind, Teeter announced plans to raze the Central location this summer and emerge with a 48,400 square foot, two-story “eco-friendly” monstrosity in 2013. This will no doubt give huge boners to the hearts of the newly minted stay-at-home moms of the neighborhood, but I expect there will be more than a few curmudgeons who start grumbling on social media once the trip to Common Market turns into all the traffic-snarled, frenzied-family “fun” of a Sunday trip to Southpark.
Yuppieville 1, Historic Neighborhood 0: Teeter gets its Kenny Powers on for any naysayer who whined about the store being “cramped”
But this article isn’t about neighborhood dynamics. It’s an exploration of where the hell one is supposed to shop when the only grocery store in walking distance is out of commission. There’s Trader Joe’s, of course, as long as being within a 100-yard radius of the Met parking deck doesn’t immediately induce hypertension; there’s also the Hood Lion further down The Plaza as well as the Bi-Lo on The Plaza & Eastway (for those who REALLY aren’t trying to run into anyone they know while shopping). I feel my suggestion is superior to all the stores named above and also solves the immediate problem of where to get the best produce NOW since farmers’ markets aren’t exactly in full swing: Compare Foods.
I’ve been a fan ever since I landed here. The first thing that drew me in was their insane 10 for $1.00 price on limes — consuming enough G&Ts before those babies go bad has always been a challenge. And it got better from there. Compare has a vast selection of South & Central American staples (plantains!) that rarely appear in other stores, and since Compare operates under the Galaxy Foods banner, they are able to negotiate better prices for traditional produce items that Harris Teeter et al. consistently jack up the price on.
To give you an example, I stopped in recently at their flagship N. Sharon Amity location (the Independence store, which incidentally used to be a Harris Teeter, has closed). I was able to obtain all the items I needed to make for guacamole hummus/black beans & rice/random shit for under $20:
A week later, I decided to…contrast the prices with the Cotswold Harris Teeter (hey, there’s not a whole lot open when I get off work at 4am). The total for the same items without tax was over $29!
So my advice to you is take a ride, try something new, save some goddamn money, and enjoy this “winter” we’re having!