One question that inevitably comes with a move is “where am I going to shop?” Specifically, “where am I going to buy groceries?” You can get by with the major chains—it’s easy to find a Safeway or QFC—but those chains are also a little… boring. And Seattle is a city with a surprising number of notable, unique grocery venues, eachwith its own specialties and quirks.
One of the more prominent stores is WinCo, a name that will be totally unfamiliar to you if you came here from the East Coast. Here in the West, though, this massive all-purpose chain is all over the place. We have ten in the greater Seattle area alone. WinCo operates somewhere between a Costco and a typical grocery store, selling bulk food, produce, deli products, and various other items like pet food and cleaning supplies. And Uunlike Costco, it’s usually open 24 hours. Even better, it’s employee-owned.
With even more locations in Seattle than Winco, Chef’Store is a restaurant supply store that doubles as a legitimate grocer as well. They sell in bulk, don’t require a membership, and branch out from just food; they carry a variety of kitchen items and home project materials.
Central Market is a local independent chain with six total locations. Each one offers fresh seafood, organic foods, and a large selection of more specific, hard-to-find food products based on the specific location of the store! They are community-oriented, passionate about the environment and sustainability, and overall just pretty cute.
This next one needs no introduction, but if you’re new to the area, Met Market is a stylish locale that sells itself as “the area’s progressive independent grocer.” They like to emphasize how deliberately they choose what to pick their products carefully—sell, and they sell everything from fresh fruit to fancy pastries to full-on poke bowls. They hold tasting events, they cater, and they stay modern and relevant with eight8 locations in the Seattle area.
For more ethnically specific cuisine, there are a number of great options. Uwajimaya, Viet-Wah, and 99-Ranch Market are all authentic Asian food markets that sell saké, fresh seafood, and much, much more; while European Foods is an Eastern European equivalent that sells authentic products from places like Ukraine and Poland.
Last on our list, Vegan Haven is a humble, local vegan store that only has one location, but has plenty enough charm to make up for it. They use volunteer help to run the store, take their commitment seriously, and hold the claim of being Washington’s only 100% vegan grocer. “The pigs thank you for shopping here.”