Kress for lunch

IGA Kress Supermarket on 3rd between Pike and Union

The grand opening of the new downtown grocery store is old, old news. However, due to my crazy work schedule these past couple of months, it’s been a while since I’ve left my office long enough for more than a quick lunch in the building. Yesterday, however, I managed to escape (to go to the dreaded post office eek!) and thought it would be a good time to check out the miracle on Third. I mean, much of the press generated about the store mentioned the large pre-made area geared towards downtown office workers and their lunchtime needs, so I decided to take one for the team and try it out.

I should mention that I have old memories of the scary Safeway in downtown DC that I’m using to compare the Kress to, so my opinion of the place might be a little shiny. That said, my first impression of the place, of course, was pretty good. The entrance is kind of overwhelming, what with it’s escalators right into the cherries, but I suppose it is a good use of space…and as in any heart of downtown establishment there were a few crazies talking loudly already, but easily avoided. The layout was easy to follow and even though it is in the basement, the lighting is good. The produce was nice and shiny and the peach I had for lunch was tasty and ripe. They had a good selection of dry and frozen goods as well. Everything one might need, including the same ginger beer that I had gone out of my way to get from Metro Markets the night before (mmm Dark and Stormy).

As far as the lunch bar area, it was indeed large, taking up a good third of the place, it seemed to my untrained eye. The options include a salad bar, soup station, Asian food counter, sandwiches and other deli options. I decided to give the sushi a whirl and also ordered a small (that wasn’t so small) bowl of hot and sour soup. Normally I have neuroses that keep me from cross-culturally ordering, but I wanted to try out a few options and everything else seemed too heavy to pair with the sushi.

lunch: sushi combo, hot and sour soup, a peach and free reusable bag

Everything looked good and clean and fresh. The customer service was quick and friendly. Prices weren’t that bad; my lunch was a little over $13 for the sushi combo, hot and sour soup, peach, and free reusable grocery bag. I really wanted to like it. However, as you might expect, it was still just grocery store food. The sushi was the same as you can get at any area grocery store, and quite frankly I can get better sushi over at Sushi Kudasai in Century Square [us]. The hot and sour soup was decent, but I don’t think this place is a lunchtime destination at all. Harried and Hungry next door can get you better food for the same or less price and time. Sadly, the food gives me no reason to abandon my routine of delicous sandwiches from the Other Coast, located in my own building. I say sadly because I really do need to get out into the sunshine more.

That said, it is still the long awaited and nicely stocked grocery store that downtown has needed forever and I’m glad it’s here. Just not for lunch.

5 Comments so far

  1. John Eddy (jaydeflix) on July 3rd, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

    How was the kosher selection?

  2. CeRo (cero) on July 3rd, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

    You know, I didn’t see one, but then again I wasn’t looking for it.

  3. John Eddy (jaydeflix) on July 3rd, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

    =) Was just a vague hope. Recently had kosher friends in town and they were staying downtown…

    Next time some idiot talks about how the Jews run the world, I’ll challenge them to go shopping for kosher food. Infuriating is what it was….

  4. 1michael on July 4th, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

    Does anyone but me find it slightly unconscionable that a store with so many ready-to-eat items has no seating nearby? I understand maximizing the footprint and all that, but without the seating they seem to be just a bigger 7-11.

  5. snopper on July 24th, 2008 @ 1:24 pm

    Having just spent a week at the Harbour Steps, I was thrilled to stumble across a full service grocery store while walking to the Walgreens.

    I’d think most folks living downtown in all the mixed use buildings would really enjoy the selection and prices compared with the boutique "market grocery" types that border the Pike Place Market area.

    Living downtown here in the Little Rock / N. Little Rock are, all we have is a silly tourist trap called the "River Market" and 2 mornings a week Farmer’s Market with fresh produce. We could really use a real live grocery store open until 10pm without having to drive 3-5 miles.

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