Saturday, September 23, 2023

All Appetites Lead to Southlake

Searching for locally grown produce, hard to find grains or imported cheeses? Foodies have quite the buffet of options now with four specialty grocers within a two mile radius in Southlake. The Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s opened their doors in this year, joining already established Central Market and Sprouts. Specialty food stores now outnumber the larger supermarket chains in town. This shift is reflective of a national trend towards healthier eating that includes fresh produce, organic meats and gluten-free products, as well as catering to local gourmets seeking rare wine, exotic spices and other culinary treats.

Central Market was the first to blaze into town in December 2006, much to the delight of residents throughout Northeast Tarrant County. With only nine stores throughout the state of Texas, most located in major cities, Southlake is by far the smallest city to claim a Central Market. Known for its extensive wine selection, vast organic produce section, in-store café and popular cooking classes, Central Market has quickly become a social hub in addition to supplying basic necessities and hard-to-find ingredients.

Sprouts Farmers Market opened in Southlake in 2007, the first location in Tarrant County. Touting a full line of groceries with prices 20-25 percent lower than its competitors, the natural food chain’s motto is “Healthy living for less.” Although smaller than the traditional supermarket, Sprouts provides one-stop shopping with an on-site bakery, large selections of wine and beer, national and house brands of organic items, fresh seafood, choice cuts of beef grown without hormones or antibiotics, 14 varieties of sausage made in-store, 1,500 gluten-free items, 8,000 different vitamins and supplements, and a produce section with 300 to 400 items.

The Fresh Market, which opened its doors in January. Self-described as “a fresh concept in grocery shopping,” it is similar to an open air market, with shelving deliberately kept low so that customers can see across the store. Inspired by European markets, the store displays rustic styling, warm lighting and classical music. Shoppers will notice the smell of freshly brewed coffee, always available for sampling, as they peruse the prepared foods section, in-store bakery, full-service meat and seafood counter, multitudes of bins filled with roasted coffee beans, chocolates, nuts, granolas and snack mixes, and the extensive fresh produce section. The Fresh Market takes pride in offering local and regional produce, using a 100-300 system to designate how many miles away the produce was sourced.

The newest arrival in Southlake is Trader Joe’s, which opened last week. The California-based specialty grocer is known for offering more than 3,000 unique food items under the Trader Joe’s private label, including Trader José’s salsas, Trader Ming’s fried rice, and Charles Shaw wines, popularly dubbed “Two Buck Chuck,” to name a few products. Another significant point of difference is that Trader Joe’s does not have sales or promotions. The grocer carries an extensive array of domestic and imported foods and beverages, including artisan breads, Arabica bean coffees, international frozen entrées, 100% juices, fresh crop nuts, deli items, and vitamins, in addition to staple ingredients like eggs and milk. Rachel Broderick, Trader Joe’s media relations representative stated, “We’re excited to open our Southlake store. There are a lot of foodies in the area.” She also noted that all store locations have interior décor related to their specific location, and that customers should expect to see painted murals on the walls of the Southlake location that are inspired by the community and local landmarks.

Thanks to these four specialty markets right here in Southlake, there is no lack of fresh produce, organic meats, imported wines or specialty ingredients. As we say in Texas, “Come and get it!”