Best New Retail Outlet: Trader Joe’s

Joseph Diebold, Managing Editor

1211 Chicago Ave., 847-733-0690,

Students have their issues with Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, but few have said it better than her when, upon the opening of the city’s first Trader Joe’s, she proclaimed, “I did not get to be the mayor of the city of Evanston by stopping people from shopping at Trader Joe’s, so I promise a very brief speech.”

The California-based grocery store opened its first Evanston location in September, bringing its trademark $3 wine, organic foods and easy-to-make frozen meals to 1211 Chicago Ave. Though it sits tantalizingly out of walking distance from campus, if you have a car or can scrounge a ride from someone, it’s well worth the mile-long journey south and well-deserving of best new retail outlet.

Though the produce doesn’t compare to the more expensive Whole Foods and you won’t find the name brands of Jewel-Osco and the recently departed Dominick’s (may it rest in peace), the combination of prices and unique, delicious offerings is hard to beat. At any one time, my freezer is now a beautiful collage of taquitos, dumplings and pad thai just three minutes away from turning into a meal. And if you haven’t tried it yet, the pretzel crisp/cookie butter combination is changing the snack game for good, so hop on the bandwagon.

— Joseph Diebold