When I first bought my condo eight years ago, one of the first things folks would ask is, “where will you get your groceries?” It was a reasonable question, but I grew up in the country and was used to 10 mile drives for everything. It seemed like no big deal to drive to a suburban grocery store.
My how things have changed! Now we have Cosentino’s grocery store (10 E 13th St) — a mere 15 minute walk in the summer or a 10 block drive. Plus, if you drive to Cosentino’s you can get three free hours in the parking garage with validation. That gives you enough time to have lunch and a beer at one of the great restaurants and then do your shopping — suddenly shopping has more appeal!
I've also come to think of shopping downtown in a different way. Now I think, “where can I buy things close by without having to drive?” For example: I needed a new butter dish. Instead of driving to a box store like a Target to buy one, I went four blocks to River Market Antique Mall (115 West 5th Street) and found a used, beautiful glass crystal dish for a great price. I also feel better since I'm not adding to the waste stream of this world.
There are other unique places in downtown, too:
There are several places to buy groceries:
For fruits and vegetables I shop The City Market (20 W 5th St, "CM") and love to talk to the vendors. I get organic produce, grass-fed beef and locally produced pork at the market on Saturday and Sunday from the trucks that show up from the countryside.
I always think I should shop more at the Asian markets (China Town Food Market, 202 Grand; Huong Que Oriental Market, 424 Locust Ln) and Al'Habashi (CM), which is run by folks from Jordan.
Corrolo’s Italian deli (CM) is a great place to get Italian sausage — which they grind and prepare — plus Italian wine and an herbed gouda cheese that is great on crackers.
For tools, I love Harry J. Epstein Co. (301 West 8th Street), which has old, creaky wood floors, more inventory than you can imagine, and almost every hand-tool a dude or dudette could need.
For gifts, check out the Steamboat Arabia museum store, Emblazon gifts and also Yoki (which has great things for children). (CM)
When I needed water glasses for my condo, I went to the restaurant supply store called Index Restaurant Supply (521 Main Street) and bought wonderful pint glasses.
We also have a CVS Drugstore (10th & Main) where you can get toilet paper and shampoo among other things.
I love to make “River Market Chili” where all the ingredients I buy within walking distance. And I always serve it with potato bread from Steve and Janet at Bloom Bakery (CM)!
My morning coffee and sometimes coffee beans come from City Market Coffee (Nicole is the owner). She has 8 oz serve-yourself cups for $1, so if there is a line at the register, you can at least get some coffee until the crowd dies down. And there is a gathering of folks who live in the Northeast neighborhoods there every morning and they are great!
But mostly, I love the journey on the sidewalks to these places, because I meet and see folks. And the business owners are the best. That is the beauty of living downtown: it’s the best small town I know.