Best Of Tucson®

Best Local Grocer

Trader Joe's

Wake up, Tucsonans: The operative word here is local. Get out of the Twilight Zone. Trader Joe's is a unique grocery store chain started by Joe Coloumbe in South Pasadena, Calif. Coloumbe, a merchandising wizard, parlayed his idea further by selling the company to two German billionaires. We know one writer who moved to Tucson instead of Albuquerque simply because she's moonstruck over Trader Joe's. There must be something about crossing state lines and rising gasoline prices, because many items cost more here than in California. Nevertheless, compared to other grocery store options, where else can you savor this much gourmet variety at still reasonable prices for wines, cheeses, cereals, chips, chocolates, soy products and sauces? It's a wonderful life.

Runners up:

2. 17th Street Farmers Market, 840 E. 17th St., 792-2588

3. TIE

  • AJ's Fine Foods, 2805 E. Skyline Drive, 232-6340
  • Rincon Market, 2513 E. Sixth St., 327-6653
Unclear on the concept (of local): Trader Joe's (69 votes), AJ's Fine Foods (24 votes), Wild Oats (20 votes), Safeway (18 votes), Fry's (15 votes), Albertson's (13 votes).