Last December, Southtown welcomed not one but two grocery stores to the area. The first was the long-awaited and ballyhooed H-E-B Flores Market, while the second was The Urban Farm Stand, a locally sourced and curated nook off Presa St. Because I don't live near Southtown and I'm literally two blocks from my closest H-E-B, and maybe five minutes away from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's at The Quarry Market, I don't understand the plight Downtown dwellers face when it comes to limited grocery options. The openings of these two stores meant it was time to take a gander at how to shop in the area, whether it's feasible to stay at one store and what the hardships are — even now. It should also be noted I shop as a single millennial who eats out a lot. Here are my results.
• Blue Star Provisions 1414 S. Alamo St., Suite 103, (210) 858-0329, bluestarprovisions.com
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun
Space: Blue Star Provisions opened in August in front of Halcyon.
Selection: The shop is neat and clean and carries necessary items, including dog and cat food (a bag of Pure Balance will set you back $10). I found most items on my list: pasta, fresh tomatoes, jarred tomato sauce, basil, paper towels and pet food.
Parking: Tricky. It's shared with the rest of the Blue Star Art Complex.
Prices: If I were to compare this to its larger counterparts, I would liken Blue Star Provisions to a wee Whole Foods. Everything is just slightly more expensive, but organic, natural and local when available, so that's a plus. I spent $25.85 (but did score a pineapple and greens smoothie with extra avocado).
Extras: Carts, growler fills, smoothies, ready-to-go food, large frozen food section
• H-E-B Flores Market 516 S. Flores St., (210) 444-1879, heb.com
Hours: 7-9 p.m. daily
Space: It's tight in there, man. The narrow aisles aren't meant for dilly-dallying in the least. Better find that can of corn STAT.
Selection: Think of your local H-E-B and then take 80 percent of brand varieties out and you're left with essentially one or so of everything — from tomatoes to deodorant. The wine and booze section is massive, which is great. I was able to procure all items on my list and a few extras for another recipe. Bonus: Flores Market also carries Naked Coconut Eats meals for busy folks on the go.
Parking: Sweet little parking lot, but I also stopped by on a chill Sunday evening so it could differ from, say, a busy pre-Super Bowl afternoon.
Prices: Comparable to other H-E-Bs; I spent $27.03
Extras: Gas station, carts, ready-to-eat meals, microwave station
• Urban Farm Stand 1423 S. Presa St., (210) 702-0898, theurbanfarmstand.com
Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon-Sat, noon-4 p.m. Sun
Space: It's a cozy little shop, filled with wafting aromatics from the available herbs.
Selection: Because the Urban Farm Stand is essentially considered an indoor farmers market, expect to find similar selections as you would at a market. I was able to find tomatoes, pasta (made of spinach, basil and garlic no less) and red sauce. I didn't spot any towels, or pet food, but did manage to leave with a $2 basil plant and grated garlic parmesan.
Parking: There are a handful of spaces right outside the door.
Prices: Comparable to the H-E-B's produce section, but slightly pricier on the local pasta. It was Go Texan after all. I spent $25.85.
Extras: I left with a plant, and my lovely cashier made sure my tomatoes were good to go. There's also a reading nook with cookbooks.
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