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.