The Biggest Grocery Store Openings of 2011

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Who cares about grocery store openings? Me and this snobby cheese guy statue, for starters.
Frequent commenter and fellow food blogger Misha Govstehyn once asked, on Twitter, why Eating Our Words covers so many grocery store openings. There couldn't possibly be that many people who cared, he reasoned. Except that there are.

I'm one of them, actually. Going to a grocery store -- especially a really good one, like Phoenicia -- is on par with going to a museum for me, except that if you see something really remarkable, you can purchase it and take it home with you. (This tactic does not go over well with, say, the Twomblys at the Menil.)

I'll spend hours happily browsing in a grocery store, losing myself looking at labels and comparing prices and carefully inspecting slabs of meat and staring at pieces of produce while coming up with ideas for their use. (Not like that. Gross.) And I'm not alone. Earlier this year, Financial Edge pointed to the fact that grocery stores are made for this kind of slow, leisurely browsing as one of the chief reasons that online grocery stores failed, another casualty of the fickle Internet.

Add to that the fact that every time a big grocery store opens in Houston, it's a news event on par with a hotly anticipated restaurant opening. EOW readers browse through grocery store slideshows with the same frequency and intensity that other Houston Press readers delve into slideshows of swimsuit competitions and fetish balls at Rich's.

The five grocery store openings listed below are the ones that have generated the most interest for our readers over the past year, and the ones which have had the greatest impact on Houston's changing grocery store scene as a whole.

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Every department, including seafood, was greatly expanded at Disco Kroger when it reopened.
5. Disco Kroger

Even though the run-down but beloved Kroger at 3300 Montrose got a much-needed facelift and expansion in September, the longtime nickname "Disco Kroger" will likely never fade. Said store manager Michael Marino, "I don't think it's something that will go away. You still see customers refer to it affectionately as Disco Kroger. For as long as we've been here in the neighborhood, I just don't think that aura or mystique is going to go away any time soon."

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Precios are indeed very bajos here.
4. Mi Tienda

The second of H-E-B's pioneering Latin-centered concept stores opened earlier this month, and on a much larger scale than its predecessor in Pasadena that opened in 2008: At 90,000 square feet, the new Mi Tienda at 3800 East Little York Road is more than twice the size of the original. It also offers a far larger selection of Hispanic foods -- both groceries and ready-to-eat food in the cocina area of the store -- as well as an in-house panadería, aguas frescas bar, tortillería and a full-service carnicería.

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The exaggerated, almost mid-century modern design of the store blends with the surrounding neighborhood.
3. H-E-B Montrose

From its novel community-decided design to its innovative aisles, shelving systems and even dairy case doors, everything about the new H-E-B in Montrose at 1701 W. Alabama was a collaborative and fresh means of creating a grocery store. Team leader Shannon Simpson said of the new store that H-E-B leadership learned from their mistakes and successes at stores like the Buffalo Market on Buffalo Speedway to design a more efficient store than they ever have, and it's by far the prettiest new grocery store in town to boot. Now if only they could just get their liquor license...


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LES TIDWELL
LES TIDWELL

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King Neece

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Richard Vera
Richard Vera

It is really looking best grocery shops. Can I get opening hours of these shops. It would be more beneficial if they are appearing at www.istorehours.com. This online directory is having various shop's details along with distance from your place and opening hours. 

laanba
laanba

I've been thinking about places to take my mom when she comes into town for a Christmas visit and grocery stores have been floating around on my list.  I felt silly for thinking that but now I know I'm just one of those grocery store people.

Zack
Zack

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Info
Info

Not everything in Revival Market is local. Some things will surprise you. Read labels.And while the neighborhood gourmet market is great, it's hardly a grocery store. It's a gourmet specialty foods store and not even in the same industry as the others listed. Having studied the industry, I feel compelled to make that distinction.

Corey
Corey

Their barrel aged soy is quite disgusting, though I swear by their heights honey and Worcestershire sauce.  Anyone that pays $7 for a jar of pickles or $5 for rendered lard is an idiot, they're definitely pricing their items at a premium price point..

Kelli
Kelli

@trisch   Woman!!! Mi Tienda!!! Or Fiesta on Studewood.@info  Of course you would nitpick like a typical EOW commenter  pfftt

Matthew
Matthew

count me in as a grocery store junkie. I don't even have to buy stuff.

trisch
trisch

Me, too.  Love grocery shopping, hate other shopping.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

A glaring omission of my own admission on this list: Whole Foods Montrose. If I could go back and amend the list to include five stores, WFM would be number three on this list. I am still smacking my forehead in disbelief that I forgot to include it...

Corey
Corey

Whole Foods Montrose isn't all that great, and not worthy of this list.  It's really nothing special and the meat and seafood isn't very good at all, though their poultry has been good.

Maggie_Mae
Maggie_Mae

Oh, it's easy to criticize Whole Paycheck.  But the store earns points with me because you can Drink While You Shop!  

Cheflambo
Cheflambo

So I'm not the only one who thought WF/Waugh should have been here!  For sheer brou-ha-ha factor, (twitter-traffic, parking snafus, coverage in the damn Chronicle) it was definitely a bigger deal than most of the others mentioned. 

trisch
trisch

I was wondering about that.  I live(d) in the triangle bounded by the new HEB, the new Whole Foods and the Disco Kroger, and of those three the opening that made the biggest impact on me in 2011 was the Whole Food's because it brought a new player to the neighborhood for a larger portion of the year.  I'm looking forward to checking out the new HEB when I get home for the holidays.  But I'm sad to hear that the Fiesta on Dunlavy is shutting its doors -- where do I go for cacajuates japones and sale-priced sides of beef now?

Corey
Corey

Fiesta on Studemont should have you covered.

JB
JB

Quite a testament to the 2011 bounty of wonderful new grocery stores that the new Whole Foods doesn't get a mention!

Floatdub
Floatdub

wish you had included addresses for all of the entries, not just the couple with links.

mollusk
mollusk

That's 'cause all the cool kids already know where all these places are...

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Yeah, all the cool kids hang out in grocery stores, dontchaknow.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

We don't typically have links/landing pages for grocery stores; we do for the top two stores here because they also have cafe/coffee/bar components. I'll update the post with addresses for the others.  :)

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