A Grocery Outlet just opened in Pinole – 1460 Fitzgerald Drive. I usually go to the one in Berkeley, since it’s only a couple miles from where I live, but I thought I’d check out the Pinole branch to see if they had anything special. For example, the Berkeley location (2001 4th Street) has Vital Vittles bread, since VV is close to them, at 2810 San Pablo Avenue. Note that there seems to be a problem with the Vital Vittles website right now. Looks like they did not renew their domain on time. Yikes!
Anyone who pooh-poohs this West Coast chain is out of their mind.
You never know what’ll show up at Grocery Outlet. They carry stock from all over the country, including store brands from chains located in other regions, as well as imports. Today I found Mallomar knock-offs from Acme (not only a brand popular with the Road Runner, but also a supermarket chain) for $1.99. A Mallomar is a seasonally-produced marshmallow cookie with chocolate and graham cracker — very popular in New York City. Unfortunately, real Nabisco Mallomars have been downsized to death, so I have no problem buying other brands. A Mallomar back in 1970 was a thing of beauty, though.
I picked up two boxes of Bahlsen Waffle Rolls for 99 cents apiece. I grew up with Bahlsen products. The German half of my family lives in the same part of the country as the factory. I love their stuff, but their website is annoying in all its amped-up glory. When all you want to do is see some cookies, you’re told in German that you need Flash, and asked about taking a survey. Just click “Nein.”
My husband will be happy to see Celetano stuffed shells in the freezer. I don’t usually buy this kind of thing, but Celentano is a brand beloved by my husband’s family, and it conjures up the comfort of childhood for him, so what the heck. He hasn’t had this since we left New York in 1995. I don’t have the heart to tell him that Celentano was purchased by Rosina Food Products in a bankruptcy auction in 2000, though. Most of the products we loved as kids have turned to crap over the years via death by a thousands cuts anyway, so you just have to enjoy the moment with this kind of thing and not worry about it too much.
They had Reebok’s at the Pinole store for $19.99. We got Matt a pair of green lace-ups.
There were several Nexxux products, including Therappe shampoo and conditioner ($6.99 for 20 ounces). This conditioner alone is worth the price of admission.
If you have the patience to weed through some oddball stuff and pay attention to detail, you cannot go wrong. What may appear to be off-brands of things like Canadian bacon and salami in odd packaging may be irregular slices of brand name products – and sometimes the brands are high-end. They often have pound packages of prosciutto like this for $3.99 in Berkeley.
I go when I want large jars of red cabbage or sauerkraut from Germany, which they sell for $1.99. Once I found some 6-foot long Barilla pasta.
I’ve never purchased fresh meat or poultry, but I’ve gotten produce. They cover every supermarket category – and then some.
If you haven’t been, go in and walk around. You’ll find incredible bargains of name-brand merchandise, though some of the brands may be Canadian, particularly in the beauty care section. This is fine with me, though, since lots of those products are not tested on animals and I’m always willing to try something new.
Grocery Outlet is a third generation family-owned business headquartered in Berkeley, by the way, so this may calm any residual concerns you have about visiting.