Maybe you just moved to the OPRF area or you might be a seasoned resident. Below is a quick outline (in no particular order) of where weekly grocery lists around town get fulfilled each week. Wherever you decide to shop, make sure to bring a reusable shopping bag. Since early 2018, Village Code requires Oak Park retail stores of 5,000 square feet or greater to charge customers $0.10 for each paper or plastic bag provided at the checkout counter.
Survive the mildly treacherous parking lot that will test both your patience and spatial awareness and enter the coveted Trader Joe’s on Lake Street. You might not be able to find every single item on your list but you will definitely leave with an item or two, not on your list. Either because the packaging was too darn cute or the tasting from the sample hut was irresistibly tasty.
AOP’s Item to Buy Here: Cookie Butter Ice Cream
Pete’s Fresh Market
Produce is the name of the game at Pete’s! The perfect store to grab all of your meal prep essentials. Pete’s features a vast amount of ethnic items with aisles dedicated to various cuisines. It will definitely inspire you to try something new and you might suddenly find yourself googling a recipe for Chana Masala. They also have a hot bar, coffee shop and gelato bar that will tempt you as you enter the building.
AOP’s Item to Buy Here: San Marzano Crushed Tomatoes
Jewel in River Forest
The standard and stereotypical supermarket of the area. Definitely a one-stop shop where you can even purchase such things like an I-Pass or dump your piggy bank for redemption at the Coinstar terminal. Enter to a fairly large produce area and browse well-stocked aisles with plenty of variety (that you might pay a premium for). Around Halloween and Christmas, there is an exciting candy/seasonal aisle to tempt even the most committed clean-eaters.
AOP’s Item to Buy Here: Jewel Bakery Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sugar Beet Co-Op
A somewhat new addition to Oak Park, the co-op is located on Madison Street near Oak Park Ave. Although you can opt to become a member and gain access to member-only sale prices, anyone can shop here. It’s a small item selection but things. There is a great bulk section so you can dip a toe into cooking with something like arrowroot powder or other obscure ingredients before committing to the full-size canister. There is also a wonderful cafe area with a few tables.
AOP’s Item to Buy Here: Produce!
Wedged in one of the busiest corners in town, Whole Foods is a grocery staple when it comes to pretty high quality and stereotypical granola eating lifestyles.
Navigating a cart in this place is akin to changing lanes in your car while steering with your elbows, blindfolded. That chaos aside, find plenty of high-quality produce and prepared items, a bustling meat counter and so many delicious desserts, bread and prepared deli items.
AOP’s Item to Buy Here: Hot Bar General Tso’s Tofu, Produce!