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Old 05-27-2008, 12:13 PM
 
22 posts, read 99,721 times
Reputation: 84

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I'm not new to OKC, I've been here for about a year. I find myself frustrated finding a decent supermarket(s) in the OKC area. I travel a lot, and I find that other cities seem to have much better food markets than we do here. I don't know whether this is because these other cities are closer to larger cities (and therefore trucking is cheaper) or whether some other factor is at play, such as local culture and/or education.

For example, although Wal-Mart has a deli section, all they really serve is fried okra, chicken, and a few other greasy or fresh-from-the-carton foods. It is really a deli in name only and nothing to compare with stores like Safeway, King Soopers, Ralphs, Whole Foods, and the like, which can be found in the western US. I'm yet to find a store with really great fresh produce--plump artichokes, fresh-squeezed orange juice, heirloom tomatoes when in season, or mission figs.

Go to the breads section and holy cow, there's twenty different kinds of blueberry or sugar-coated bagels, but no sesame, onion, or savory flavors! So far the only place I've found that does interesting breads is Panera, and they are more of a restaurant chain than a bakery.

I know that Super Cao Nguyen has good fish, but finding a western version of many meat-market products, like smoked whiting, or smoked ham shanks, or pate, or creamy blue cheese or other interesting cheese products seems impossible.

What am I missing? Is there any place in OKC that is comparable to upscale markets in other cities, or are we stuck with the fried okra and 20 varieties of blueberry bagels?
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Old 05-27-2008, 01:46 PM
 
42 posts, read 164,506 times
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That's what you're stuck with. Sorry. I love OKC and wish we still lived there, but have found the grocery stores sorely lacking. We currently live in Corpus Christi (about 300,000 pp and WAY lower per capita income) and used to live in Wichita, KS (once again, about 300,000 pp) and both cities have OKC beaten by a long shop in the grocery store area. I was going to suggest Super Cao Nguyen as I started reading, but see you've already found it. Truthfully, I spent most of the past 15 years in OKC and that's the best market I've ever found. Buy for Less on NW 23rd and Penn has great produce (and an incredible variety), BUT it's one yucky supermarket. I went to OCU, so not scared of the area, I just hate that grocery store...it's always crowded and smells like barbeque.

The true problem w/ OKC, in that arena, is that Wal Mart has killed the grocery industry there. There is a very, very tiny profit margin in groceries. When everyone began flocking to Wal Mart to save a dollar or two, then it pretty much closed the door to grocery competition. Additionally, the inability to sell wine in grocery stores, prevents a lot of the specialty stores (ie Trader Joes, etc) from locating there. That's how they compensate for the small profit margin on food ...by selling wine....and that's not a possibility in OK. Sorry! Good luck!
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
1,586 posts, read 6,316,391 times
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No worries. There will be a Whole Foods etc. in the next year or two. Crescent Market, La Baguette on May ave.(tons of brie and great selection of cheese and meat), Browns Bakery, Kamps, Big Sky bread, Prarie Thunder baking company which has an imported european bread oven or whatever. You can always find products in Atkins or other small specialty grocery stores. The farmer markets are impressive enough to please many people and there is even one that serves downtown in Kerr park. Wait for a year because Grant Humphreys and others are very hungry for an upscale grocery store to develop on western/midtown/NH Plaza. Lots of momentum for it. Watch two open back to back in the next year. It has nothing to do with education or culture or whatever (just laughed). It has more to do with the fact that there was only one part of OKC for a long time that could support such a store and that is Nichols Hills. It has to do with a suburban lifestyle that sucked OKC dry for a long time. In the last ten yrs things have changed dramatically. I would just hold my horses. OKC is all about "If they build it, it will come".
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:06 PM
 
6 posts, read 19,700 times
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I have lived in Houston/Dallas and recently moved to OKC. The grocery stores are the biggest let down about this town. I don't know why Oklahoma won't allow grocery stores to sell wine, many recipes call for wine. What was the logic when this law was passed? When was the law passed 1907? Happytown, have you ever lived in a large city? Have you ever shopped at a Central Market, Whole Foods or Signature Kroger, etc. It is great to be able to go to one place for all of your needs instead of 5 different places. We will never have a quality shopping experience until grocery stores are allowed to sell wine. I live in Nichols Hills and have shopped at Crescent Market and La Baguette, they are fine establishments, but not a true comparison. There are many suburban areas all around Houston and Dallas that have great grocery stores. Where is the great grocery store in Edmond? Houston/Dallas are covered with Walmarts, but the fine supermarkets strill thrive. Could it be because they can sell wine? Could it be that expectations are too low in this city?
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:47 PM
 
72 posts, read 419,874 times
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i wonder if they'd let a wine store sell groceries.

kidding, of course.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:46 AM
 
Location: Des Moines near Refugee Center
105 posts, read 305,515 times
Reputation: 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by robW View Post
For example, although Wal-Mart has a deli section, all they really serve is fried okra, chicken, and a few other greasy or fresh-from-the-carton foods.

What am I missing? Is there any place in OKC that is comparable to upscale markets in other cities, or are we stuck with the fried okra and 20 varieties of blueberry bagels?
I understand your deprivation and I can sympathize with you. When I lived in Oklahoma I missed Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. They are all over the West and Northwest Coast. But you have to realize fried okra is one of the state meals along with chicken fried steak, grits, pecan pie ect... Okra is a southern staple. I haven't met one person from the south that told me they didn't love fried Okra. Go figure
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Living on 10 acres in Oklahoma
1,188 posts, read 5,148,714 times
Reputation: 1196
Seriously...there is going to be a Whole Foods here in under two years?

Happy Town, where did you hear this? I don't want to get my hopes up as I wonder if it is a cruel rumor.

For a good produce selection, I really like Crest Foods in Edmond!
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
1,586 posts, read 6,316,391 times
Reputation: 823
Quote:
Originally Posted by housewife View Post
I have lived in Houston/Dallas and recently moved to OKC. The grocery stores are the biggest let down about this town. I don't know why Oklahoma won't allow grocery stores to sell wine, many recipes call for wine. What was the logic when this law was passed? When was the law passed 1907? Happytown, have you ever lived in a large city? Have you ever shopped at a Central Market, Whole Foods or Signature Kroger, etc. It is great to be able to go to one place for all of your needs instead of 5 different places. We will never have a quality shopping experience until grocery stores are allowed to sell wine. I live in Nichols Hills and have shopped at Crescent Market and La Baguette, they are fine establishments, but not a true comparison. There are many suburban areas all around Houston and Dallas that have great grocery stores. Where is the great grocery store in Edmond? Houston/Dallas are covered with Walmarts, but the fine supermarkets strill thrive. Could it be because they can sell wine? Could it be that expectations are too low in this city?
It has a lot to do with income. Nichols Hills is the wealthiest part of OKC and can easily support a high end store. Crescent has higher prices than any Trader Joe or Whole Foods could ever have and the food is below par!! My family shops there on a weekly basis and we have been living within walking distance on grand for around 25yrs now. Crescent is an institution. A high end 100 yr old+ grocery store! How many cities have something like that? Do you know of an older upscale market in the US that has been surviving since like 1889 or something (or Kamps since 1910)! They are very few numbers. If we didnt have these local institutions then of course you would see a whole foods. Crescent has been dying for the last 10 yrs or so and will unfortunately be replaced soon by some 'new' high end franchise that sells better food, but it will have no character. The plaza has been bought by chesapeake and will be doing a major transformation in two yrs. So if you do live in NH then get really excited over some serious shopping in the next 2 yrs. when the lease runs out on the Plaza and billionaire McClendon takes over. Sadly, Crescent and NH drug will be gone. Since you do live in NH you would obviously know the transition that is taking place. You would know what is coming and what is replacing Crescent Market. All the locals are obviously upset over Crescent/Drug store leaving. You would also realize that Western near Will Rogers theatre/Crown Heights is also ready to make the same jump, because of all the obvious development. Grant Humphreys is a major developer for the area and is looking for a spot to place a wild oats or whatever.

Have I ever lived in a large city? Boston and NY for short periods of time (yr each during school). Plenty of time to pick at a grocery store. I prefer to go to different stores that specialize in their own thing then just an overall grocery with everything. Of course that is truly living in a large city w/ culture where vendors are within walking distance of eachother. Cities like Denver/Dallas etc. are more suburban and offer everything in one location like a Trader joes so no one has to walk anywhere. OKC like Dallas etc. will also provide a single box store with good produce. Its just going to take a little longer.

Like I said. Patience. The stores will be popping up soon enough. The first one will most likely pop up in Crown Heights. Lots of demand from that area and Crescent will still be hanging around for CHK to take over.

Until that time everything is in limbo for great or even good grocery shopping in OKC. No reason to lose hope!!! Your just gonna have to wait 2 yrs.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Edmond, OK
11 posts, read 41,322 times
Reputation: 17
From an ex-Californian:

I really miss the grocery stores in CA and I totally agree about selling wine and liquor (man that was great) for whatever reasons, the "nays" have it in Oklahoma about selling liquor in grocery stores. But hopefully since we've just passed tattooing and the lottery, MAYBE we'll take that next step and realize that we don't need to be protected from ourselves.

As far as healthy foods? My wife and I shop the Farmers Market in Edmond and Crest Foods. Two of the best I've found yet.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:01 PM
 
Location: nichols hills
6 posts, read 28,641 times
Reputation: 16
I think the idea of a world class grocery store building in okc wil be held up by their abililty to make their model work without the profits from wine and imported beer sales. That is the hold up, if the law giving liquor stores a monopoly on wine and beer profits was changed tommorrow, then we would see the above mentioned chains fight to get their stores opened as fast as construction would allow.We need to change this law so that we can make it profitable for these businesses to move in to okc. This is something that all should get behind!!
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