Everything You Need to Know About Joe

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Bwog braved the line yesterday at Trader Joe’s and would like you to be well-informed before you make the harrowing 40-block trek to buy groceries. Because you might get really pissed if, say, you showed up there tomorrow only to find there is no wine.

That’s right: unlike its Union Square brother, this Trader Joe’s is drier than a cabernet sauvignon. State law requires they open a separate wine shop to sell it in, and as of right now, Trader Joe’s has no plans to build a new wine store in addition to the existing one in Union Square. THANKS, PURITANS.

Winelessness aside, there are some redeeming qualities—like the fact there’s this whole grocery store thing going on. Sure, you can’t make sangria out of them, but basic staples are considerably cheaper than Westside and Fairway, and Trader Joe’s is big on organic without imposing the significant financial penalties of Whole Foods. They also have a wide range of inexpensive specialty ingredients, such as toasted sesame oil—that’s right, toasted—and spices. And not just the typical spices like cinnamon and oregano, but also those weird ones you buy for that one meal you cook your boyfriend and then forget in the back of your cabinets only to smell it for weeks afterward whenever you open the door.  Oh, plus there’s the Pound Plus bar of chocolate, a highlight of their extensive candy selection.

In addition to being cost-efficient, it’s also quite fun. They have those cool escalators you can put a grocery cart into. Chances are, you’ll spot your TA. The walls are decorated with weird memorabilia. They have free samples of prepared meals, and free coffee. And the best part: at the check-out, to let you know that a register is free, an employee will hold a big red flag with their number on it and wave it calling “23” until you present them with your groceries. Semaphore!

There really is something for everyone, whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just someone who wants to make a recipe other than Easy-Mac for the first time…that doesn’t call for wine. No wine. (Ugh, Puritans.)

Enjoy the photos, and go try it for yourselves!

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  1. Anonymous  

    it looks unbearably crowded and cramped.

  2. ...  

    the big question on my mind is: are the lines as bad as union square? now granted, that's a hard one to answer, because the entire upper west side will probably pass through there in the new few weeks.. if it is to become a regular part of my life, i need to know if i should budget extra hours for linewaiting...

  3. Anonymous  

    the one in chelsea (6th ave/21st st) has never been as crowded as its union square sibling (n=3 visits), but i don't mind waiting in line at the UWS location for a few extra minutes if it saves me the 45 i'd otherwise be spending on the train.

    go trader joe's!

    -californian expat

  4. wino  

    Actually, they CAN'T open a wine store. There is also a provision of NY State law dating back to the early part of the 20th century which states that the owner of any liquor store (be it International or Trader Joe's or the guy on 125th St. who never checks your ID) can only operate ONE store in the state. Which is why we don't have liquor store chains here. And why most of them have a small selection. And why you are doomed to forever need to take two trains to trek down to 14th St for a glorious bottle of Two(Three)-Buck Chuck. But it could be worse. We could live in Pennsylvania.

  5. Anonymous

    What is this myth that Whole Foods is expensive? Buy the store brand--it's cheaper than anything I've found living in Brooklyn and Manhattan (and the only 99 cent pasta left anywhere). Trader Joe's is horrible. They sell so few actual raw ingredients, it's ridiculous. 135th St. Fairway and 96th St. Whole Foods are far and away better.

  6. Sharking  

    It’s when you run up on a lady on the street and pull her tube top down while your friend video tapes it. It’s considered a crime here. THANKS A LOT PURITANS.

  7. wine?

    nobody else just gets free delivery from astor wines?

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