From the Forum – The cheapest grocery option in C-Heights/Park View/U Street Area?


The cheapest grocery option in C-Heights/Park View/U Street Area:

“Hey y’all – I tried to search this online, but couldn’t find a topic specific to DC that actually helped me, so I figured I’d ask here. I know what some of you may say, but I’m legit not interested in super organic farmer’s market shit – I spend money on coffee and fine liquor – not necessarily on fruit.

I normally do my shopping at Giant on Park road because it’s only a five minute walk away, but I heard from several people in my office that Giant was still pretty expensive, even with the deals. So, I guess I’m just wondering now – is there a better option in the area? All I can think of is going to the Target, maybe hiking over to the Safeway, or Biking down to Trader Joe’s or going over to Arthur’s – would it be worth it to actually head anywhere else, or should I stick to Giant?”

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29 Comment

  • Best Way (or whatever it’s called these days) has great deals on produce — cheap limes, onions, peppers, mangoes, pineapples, avocados.

  • I think you might have a problem with your priorities if you find Giants expensive because you spend your money on “coffee and fine liquor”.

  • HaileUnlikely

    If you’re interested in maximizing your savings and hit the store several times a week for a few items each time (as opposed to one big shopping excursion), you’ll likely find that each store likely has a few items that they sell at lower prices than anybody else. I find Safeway to be goofy expensive overall, but it’s hard to find a cheaper 2-pound block of cheese anywhere else. Bulk oatmeal is cheaper at Whole Foods than anywhere else I’ve seen. Whole Foods and Trader Joes both beat other major grocery chains on olive oil. Harris Teeter for the big canister of powdered Gatorade.

    • This is the reply everyone should read! Shopping in America seems to be this chore that’s done once a week, but if you go a few times a week, you’ll definitely find bargains across the stores. Also, glad Whole Foods was brought because while it is on average more expensive, there are certain items that run the same or even lower than crappy chains we have in DC.

      • Going to the grocery store more than once every two weeks is a night mare to me. I’m glad you both have that kind of patience but I just can’t take it. I used to even drive out to Virginia on the weekends just to deal.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Just a whole different approach – I hit the store 3 or 4 times a week and am typically in there for at most 10 minutes at a time. I realize this is more practical if your commute requires you to pass by several different stores on your way home every day, and even better if you work odd hours so the lines aren’t too long if you do this on your way home.

        • Avoiding any grocery store on a weekend is the key, whether you go several times a week or once every other week.

  • Egad

    Panam or Bestway.

  • I’d echo others….you need to comparison shop. Given that the big chains have apps, it’s pretty easy to do that when you plan a shopping trip. If you want to do all your shopping in one place, you’ll always be at a disadvantage and it doesn’t matter where you go.

    H-T seems to be a bargain for very little. Whole Foods can be cheaper than the others for some produce (baby carrots, for some reason, as an example), but generally the main advantage is that they have faster tunrover. But most things are ridiculously expensive there–a package of high end soup stock is more than a dollar more than at Safeway right now. Peet’s coffee is often “on sale” at Safeway and occasionally so at Giant, but rarely elsewhere. the list goes on…..

  • Whole Foods is definitely cheapest on a lot of staples (their “365” brand or whatever) – stuff like oats, milk, canned beans/veggies, etc. are generally pretty cheap there, and high quality. Meat is crazy expensive, but I really think it is better than the crap I’ve bought from TJ’s or Giant.

    Trader Joe’s is GREAT for things that are expensive elsewhere – like huge things of high quality olive oil, maple syrup, etc. Their produce is terrible, though.

    And Giant – I just buy what’s on sale. i.e. Starbucks coffee is currently 5.99 or something, so I bought about 5 bags and will freeze them.

    And produce – when I have time, I drive to H Mart or one of the other big Asian stores in Virginia on the weekends. Definitely the best deals there.

    • I don’t know why people say TJ’s produce is terrible. It’s no worse than what you find at HT or Safeway. It will never compare to Whole Foods’ produce or a fresh farmers market, but the relatively cheap cost reflects that. If anything, I find that TJ’s does a better job than HT or Safeway of getting seasonal produce on the shelves when that produce is at its cheapest (example: various squash and apples in the fall, fresh berries in the summer, etc) and passing along those cost savings. I also like that a lot of the produce at TJs is not quite ripe yet, so it gives me more time to stagger my usage and provides me with more shelf life (i.e. won’t go rotten in two days).

      • The problem at TJs is the packaged produce – I’ve bought bags of carrots, brussels sprouts, lettuce, etc that are totally slimy / rotten in the middle when I get home and open them. Anything you can actually look at is fine, though.

  • I’m going to echo what everyone else said about comparison shopping. I live nearest to the Admo Harris Teeter, so I do my everyday shopping there, but it’s certainly not ideal. They have the best bread of any of the major chains; randomly, they’re also good for mushrooms, fresh-squeezed orange juice, refrigerated pasta, and chips, of the things I buy. Don’t touch their cheese or meat. Whole Foods is best for cheese and poultry/sausages (their chicken is the cheapest I’ve found in the area), any prepared food, and organic dairy products. Safeway is good for packaged crap when it’s on sale. Can’t speak to Giant–it’s way too much of a cluster*ck for me to want to trek all the way over there.

  • If it comes in a box or can, go to Target. My formula: Whole Foods for meat, fruit and veggies, Target for pre-packaged stuff and Giant for deli meats and occasional other things. Some exceptions but that’s it for the most part.

  • I usually buy specific items at Target, Giant, and Safeway each.

    However, a good trick is to download the Safeway Just 4 U app. It links up to your Safeway card and gives you some crazy good deals. You just log into the app, review the deals, and click “add to card,” and you are given that extra special deal. Yes, it’s annoying, but it can save you a ton of money if there are products that you normally buy.

  • Produce – Latin grocery stores in MD
    Pantry – Giant/Harris Teeter

    Safeway has some great sales but you pay it back if you buy produce there.

  • clevelanddave

    Once a month get in a car and go out to H Mart in Virginia. Great variety of tofu, kimchi, potatoes, onions, lettuces, seasonal and Asian veggies. Plus they also have nice conventional fruit and veggies at great prices.

    • Are the savings enough to justify renting a car just to do it, though? Because owning a car in the Cohi/U St area is an enormous pain in the ass, and hardly useful for most other things.

  • Bestworld/way is great for small trips – like if you’re going to eat everything you purchase within 24-48 hours. I never had luck keeping BW milk from spoiling before 3 days, but the produce is fine as long as you’re not looking for super-long shelf-life. The meat inventory skews heavily toward snouts and chicken feet, but ground beef and chicken breast/thighs are priced reasonably (again, use within 24-48 hours).

  • Have you tried Streets Market on 14th– just north of Florida? They don’t have a huge selection but they’ve got some good produce options and a nice mix of standard and upscale brands. They regularly have deals where they give you free products if you spend over a certain amount. A month ago I did a big trip and they gave me a bottle of laundry detergent, an 8 pack of toilet paper, and a 24 roll pack of paper towels.

    • Anonynon

      they no longer do that, that was an October ‘special’…I love the connivence of the store but their produce is not good at all, iv had some really bad experience. Prices are a little high but when you don’t feel like making a big trip and just need a few items, its pretty great.

  • Excuse me sir, Do you have a moment to talk about Costco?

    I know it’s not exactly in said areas, but…this choice should apply to your choices on coffee and fine liquor also. Liquor prices at DC Costco are a holiday treat.

  • brookland_rez


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