More like Trader Schmoe's amirite?
September 14, 2010 5:41 PM   Subscribe

ISO discount grocery stores around the Cambridge-to-Waltham Massachusetts corridor. I'm thinking here of the dented-can, overstock, weird-food-that-didn't-sell-in-the-regular-supermarket, fell-off-the-loading-dock variety. Like a "Building 19⅚" of grocery stores. I've seen places like this in other locales, but not around where I live.
posted by not_on_display to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you checked out Market Basket? Definitely cheaper than your Shaw's and Stop & Shop, often pretty crazy to meander, there's sawdust all over the floor to help soak up spills, and sometimes people pay in dimes and nickels. But it's often incredibly cheap, especially if you're ok with shopping store brands. And their produce section is surprisingly pretty awesome (and cheap, and better quality than some of the other chains). Supposedly the Chelsea store is newer and nicer, but I would often happily go home with a week's worth, and several bags full of groceries for <$30 at the Somerville location when I lived in Cambridge (with lots o fruits and veggies to boot).
posted by raztaj at 5:53 PM on September 14, 2010

Yeah, I have not seen any stores like you are describing in your question, but Market Basket is the cheapest grocery store I have found in the area. As raztaj said, great deals on produce, and they have a lot of Latin American food too if you're into that (at least at the Somerville location). It can get crowded--oddly, I found Friday evening to be the absolute *worst* time to go, packed with parents shopping with their little kids (it's the exact opposite at the Porter Square Shaws).
posted by phoenixy at 7:03 PM on September 14, 2010

Was coming in to say Market Basket. A great regional small chain and very cheap.
posted by Miko at 7:40 PM on September 14, 2010

Well, they even have a fan site. I'll check it out again; I went there a few times many years ago, and I remember it was good'n'cheap. And they had kickass ginger beer. Thanks, folks! (Still, feel free to add your two cents if it's further away than the Cambridge/West area.)
posted by not_on_display at 7:49 PM on September 14, 2010

I don't have a specific place to recommend, but I've found the phrase "salvage grocery" useful in searches for this kind of place — apparently that's the official title for what I've also always known as dented-can stores.
posted by RogerB at 9:44 PM on September 14, 2010

I'll join in the pile-on and say that I have a love-hate relationship with Market Basket. It's always packed and the patrons are from a whacked-out Fellini film. But it is DIRT cheap. You can't get anything too exotic (my weekly shopping is half Market Basket and half Trader Joes), but I reiterate that it is very, very inexpensive.

The closest supermarket to me is a Stop and Shop, and every time I go there for something I come out incensed at the prices because I know what things cost at Market Basket. I don't think that the produce is as good as previous commenters have reported, but it's fine if you're careful.

Shaw's and Stop and Shop will have some things in their weekly flyer that beat Market Basket, especially in produce and probably meat (which I don't buy), so the way to get the absolute best deals is to go through those flyers and say "I want that, and that" buy only those things at the rip-off grocers and do most of your shopping at Market Basket. But if you don't want to put in that much effort, Market Basket is your best bet.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:59 AM on September 15, 2010

As RogerB says, you want to Google "salvage grocery". Also, this site has a listing of salvage grocery stores all over the country.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:28 AM on September 15, 2010

3 Columbus Ave, in Downtown Boston? Really?! That would be a great gem to uncover one day when I'm in the city. (It's a block away from the Common?!) Thanks for the search term and the list.
posted by not_on_display at 8:50 AM on September 15, 2010

3 Columbus Ave, in Downtown Boston? Really?! That would be a great gem to uncover one day when I'm in the city.

That's actually at 303 Columbus Avenue (half a block west from the intersection of Berkeley and Columbus) and is not a storefront. It's the listed offices of this reputable-looking outfit.

I looked it up because as a former South Ender I knew that 3 Columbus would likely be in the Park Plaza or the back of the Transportation Building, which seemed unlikely.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:03 PM on September 15, 2010

Thanks, Mayor. Now that's the kind of hard-hitting investigative reporting I like! I saw 3 Columbus on the Google street-view, and I thought: "Really now! Must be above the Hertz."
posted by not_on_display at 7:08 PM on September 15, 2010

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