Last week, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the new Mariano’s grocery store at 7401 W. Lawrence in Harwood Heights, Il. Mariano’s is a grocery store that I’ve known about for a while, since my mother (Mor-Mor) shopped there a while back and came to me raving about how fresh the produce was. She also informed me that it was like a restaurant inside. Color me intrigued. I’m all about the grocery store experience. Usually, I’m by myself, and I enjoy being able to take my time and take in the sights. Yes, I’m a mother of four children, and the aisles of a grocery store happen to be my sanctuary. Let’s just say, my sanctuary has been kicked up several notches.
Upon entering, your senses are met with color and smell overload (in a good way.) I noticed lots of reds, yellows and greens, and I was immediately drawn to the produce section (very smartly put right in the front of the store) and all that it offered. Salad bars, and hot bars lined the area too, just in case someone at work wanted to run in for lunch and run back out to work. Convenience personified. Have you ever had gelato? Well, it’s divine. I’ve been able to try it several times, but that didn’t stop me from taking samples that were offered to us on grand opening day. My favorite happened to be the mixed berry gelato with the lemon coming in a very close second.
When you’re thinking about dinner, Mariano’s has you covered. You can choose packages for six or ten dollars, and have your meal ready for you as soon as you’re finished with your grocery shopping. So for those days where time gets away from you, and you forgot to put something in the slow cooker, or take the chicken out from the freezer, this is a perfect option. I mean, this beef tenderloin is asking for me to come back and
devour rescue it.
The cool thing about Mariano’s is that it is literally gourmet grocery shopping for normal prices. These cupcakes were GINORMOUS and very sensibly priced at $2.25. I was honestly expecting more items to be a little more out of my price range for some reason. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my grocery bill wouldn’t go through the roof if I were to add Mariano’s to my weekly shopping trips. I’m a bit of a seafood nut,so I was happy to hear that the crew at Mariano’s actually has the telephone number of the ship that’s catching their seafood. The great thing is that it’s shipped from shore to store in 24 hours, so the seafood that you see in the case was caught fresh and delivered within the day. You can’t get fresher than that, unless you were catching it yourself.
The meat below is also made on site (like, they grind the meat and STUFF it into the sausage casings!) and you can even have them cook it up for you on their grill. So, for those of you who aren’t very talented in the kitchen and may end up burning more than your fair share of money – this is the option for you. Thank me later.
The florals were amazing. My mom designs flowers for weddings, so I have a bit of an appreciation for great arrangements. The florist on hand took time to stop and speak with us about things that were going on, and even gave me some suggestions to flowers I should put in my house if I want a stronger floral scent (hint, hyacinths would be those flowers.)
This young man right here was the hghlight of my visit. Keith is over the wine & spirits purchasing for Mariano’s (all of them.) He knows and loves wine and therefore, makes YOU love and enjoy learning about wine. He helped me pick out something fruity (because my untrained palate can’t do dry wine just yet) and also pointed out several other varieties that I may enjoy when I come back. He was so excited telling us about what was trending in the wine section that it was hard to get him to stand still for a photo. If you ever have the pleasure of seeing him in one of the stores, ask for his recommendations!
After our tour, our group was able to sit down and eat. There were several options to choose from, and honestly, by this time, we had sampled everything BUT sushi, so I went for it. A great big Godzilla roll. Mind you this was after I had ribs, baked beans, gelato, cheese, bread and a little bit of orange juice. Needless to say, only half of this roll disappeared in the store, and the other half became dinner later that evening.
And the man of the hour, Mr. Mariano himself. Such a wonderful sense of humor, and a desire to really see families stay around the dinner table, which is why he has put so many great options into his stores.
He also told us a story of one of his customers who took his dad out for a glass of wine at the Chicago store, and ended up having dinner there and missing the reservation that they had, because the store is so inviting and comfortable. Grocery stores that allow you to have moments with parents, or friends, or children are totally all right in my book.
Another point of interest is that Mariano’s also takes SNAP benefits, since no one should have to go without fresh fruits or vegetables, or organic products. *Throws Confetti*
So, what are you waiting for? Get going to your nearest Mariano’s (in the Chicagoland area) and pick something good up for me! While you’re there, remember to sign up for their reward card.
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Mariano’s #cbias #SocialFabric #MyMarianos