Saturday, September 13, 2008

Un grand marché

One of my favorite grocery stores in Nashville is Osborne's Bi-Rite on the corner of Antioch Pike and Nolensville Road. I lived about a quarter-mile from Osborne's for some eight years. On average, I reckon, I was in that grocery store about three times a week.

"What's so great about Osborne's?" you ask. Well, it's a small-town grocery right smack in the middle of an urban - a very urban - part of Nashville. There's a high-rise apartment building for retired folks right across the street from Osborne's. Walk through the store and you'll quickly see that these folks are catered to in a big way -- a big ol' good way. For example:

You can buy single fresh-cut chicken breasts and pork chops at Osbourne's. You can buy a package of men's handkerchiefs at Osborne's! You can buy those old-timey razors and razor blades at Osborne's (you know, the kind that you have to twist the top to insert the blade). Osborne's store-brand products are picked over more than name-brand products. Close your eyes for a bit while perusing these items and you'll swear that you're in a grocery store in Union City, Fayetteville, or Maynardville.

One of my favorite trips to Osborne's took place about a month before I moved from that area. I'd been out of town on business, and there was literally nothing to eat in the house when I returned home. I went to Osborne's and bought a package of Frosty Morn hot dogs ($.99), a package of Bi-Rite buns ($.99), and a bag of Frito-Lay rippled chips ($.99). I ate three hot dogs, and half a bag of chips, and it was one of the best meals I ever had ... and for just a little over three bucks.

That said, Osborne's Bi-Rite -- as well as other Bi-Rite and Foodtown grocery stores in the Nashville area -- often have Five-for-$19.99 sales. That is, you can get five packages of fresh-cut meat for 20 bucks. The very first time that I ever attempted to cook country pork ribs, I got my meat from Osborne's. And what good meat it was. (Which probably explains why slow-cooked country ribs quickly became one of my favorite things to eat.) The last time I made country ribs - 'bout two weeks ago - I got my ribs from Osborne's. And what good ribs they were. (If you read this blog regular-like, you seen 'em).

The area around Osbourne's has changed so much since I moved from that area. I know that I'm going to drive into that parking lot one of these days and see a Mercado Gigante sign. When that day inevitably comes, I'm going to be very sad. And I'll immediately start pining for 99-cent Frosty Morn hot dogs, 99-cent Frito-Lay potato chips, and two-sided razor blades on display next to the National Enquirer and US magazine.


Steve said...

That hot dog place next to Osbourne's is pretty good.

TerryB said...

Today I decided to "grill" out. But I don't have a grill, so what do I do? I have a hibachi made of bricks that I put together the other day. And I bought some chuck hamburgers at Food Lion today (it's around the corner and the gas stations have lines backed up to Alabama). I learned some things: 1) Aluminum foil will definitely catch on fire, esp. with those juices dripping into the fire. (Actually that happened to me in the Boy Scouts, too). 2) Match-light charcoal should be called torch-light because that's what it takes to light it. 3) A smoke signal awesome enough to start a major Indian war will not necessarily keep away the bugs. But, if you, like me, end up with skeeter bites the size of quarters on the places you forgot to spray with OFF, there's a wonderful thing called Tecnu. Rub it in real good, and your suffering is over.