And I’m back from my Winter hiatus! Hope everyone had a great holiday season. Now I normally wouldn’t cover a supermarket opening, but the new Lucky’s Market at 1459 NW 23rd Avenue is officially opening its doors to the public on Wednesday, January 7th. I missed the preview event yesterday due to sickness, but I wandered in there tonight to check it out. Holy. Crap. This. Place. Is. Awesome.
I mean seriously awesome. This is the first Florida location, and Gainesville is “lucky” enough (see what I did there?) to get it. Founded by former chefs, they’re all about sourcing produce and other products locally. Despite being a chain, they are focused on giving back to local communities and look to quality products that don’t have to travel a long ways to their shelves. Employees are even given 32 hours of paid time each year to volunteer at a local charity of their choice. How awesome is that?
The market is about the size of a Publix, and is absolutely gorgeous. Think Whole Foods without the ridiculous prices. Tons of fresh produce piled high and perfectly neat to satisfy my OCD along with a self-serve juice bar. Aisles of bulk food dispensers that contain every kind of grain, soup mix, candy, snacks, dried fruits, and baking ingredient you can think of. There is a huge selection of house-made pastries, breads, house-cured meats, and house-made bacon and sausages. The deli offers sandwiches made-to-order and pizzas. The cheese selection rivals Whole Foods. There’s also a huge wine and spirits side of the store that puts Publix to shame. I could go on and on and on.
The best part perhaps, is the bar located in the store that serves $2 pints of local drafts as well as a selection of wine. You can sit your beverage of choice in your shopping cart cup holder and enjoy it while you shop. Yes, you can drink beer while you shop, they provide you with a cup holder, AND IT’S $2!!! I saw Swamp Head and First Magnitude both represented along with several other Florida breweries. Growlers are even just $8 each and only $4 to fill. WHY HASN’T ANYONE ALLOWED THIS BEFORE!?!?!?
Publix will always be my “bae” as the kids say, Trader Joe’s is always convenient, and who doesn’t love Ward’s for their meats and fresh produce? But as a whole, I think Lucky’s is my new favorite grocery in town. If it sounds like I’m ranting, it’s because I still can’t get over the awesomeness of this place. There’s a big sign over the produce section that reads “Food. Glorious Food.”, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s worth the cross-town drive for me.
Lucky’s is open 7 days a week from 7 AM to 10 PM. They will be hosting a “bacon cutting” ceremony tomorrow (January 7th) at 10 AM and will present two donations to Grace Marketplace homeless shelter and Bread of the Mighty Food Bank. There will also be a local food fest this Sunday, January 11th that will feature local vendors offering product samples and live music. 5% of sales on January 13th will go to Stephen Foster Elementary, January 20th will go to Glen Springs Elementary, and January 27th will go to Norton Elementary.
You guys need to check this place out. I approve!