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Goodbye, Co-Op!

The major supermarket in Hyde Park is the Co-Op, a Beloved Neighborhood Institution. Beloved by some people, that is, for its Depression-era, mildly socialist roots. Not beloved by lots of other people, for its poor service, terrible business practices, and sometimes weird product selection. They went through some unfortunate business ventures -- I won't bore you with details, but suffice it to say that they are over a million dollars in debt, without a really clear plan for getting out of debt.

The University offered to buy out their lease, on the condition that they don't let the door hit them in the ass on the way out of Hyde Park. There were several weeks of tortured neighborhood debate, none of which really touched on what I see as a major issue. Hyde Park, on the (heavily African-American) South Side, has aspects of an urban food desert -- there are relatively few grocery stores for the population size. The Co-Op is the only major supermarket in the neighborhood. We've got Village Foods, which is small and will do in a pinch, and Hyde Park Produce, which is good for produce (durr!) and a few specialty items, so we're better off than some South Side neighborhoods. But when the Co-Op closes, that's a major deal.

Well, I learned last night at singing that the vote finally came in. The Co-Op will close, effective about twelve days from now. I went shopping today, and they'd already started to shut down. The produce section was almost cleaned out, and one bank of fruit stands was completely gone! I have to say, it was quite a surprise to see things moving so quickly. In theory, the deal with the University states that another store has to occupy the space within two weeks. If this is realistic, then I am Marie of Romania. There's still no word on what might move in when the Co-Op is gone. But I hear also that Hyde Park Produce awaits only a health inspection before moving itself into a bigger and more convenient (for me) location.

A location, I might add, that used to have a branch of the Co-Op, run at a major financial loss for many years before they gave it up. How the worm do turn . . . .

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
dawtheminstrel
Jan. 5th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC)
Groceries can be a problem in the city. This sounds problematic.
frenchpony
Jan. 5th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
I'll probably be okay with the Produce store and Village Foods for a little while if a new supermarket doesn't move in quickly. But not for months on end.
karenator001
Jan. 5th, 2008 04:42 am (UTC)
I'll probably be okay with the Produce store and Village Foods for a little while if a new supermarket doesn't move in quickly. But not for months on end.

Oh gosh. We'll have to start sending you care packages. Do want white or yellow grits?
frenchpony
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
Do want white or yellow grits?

Um . . . sure? I think.
karenator001
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
Um . . . sure? I think.

Now, you'll have to decide. Stone-ground or Quaker? I mean, there are so many decisions when faced with forty-eleven different brands of grits.

Maybe you better research it and let me know. And go ahead and compile your whole list so I'll know how much dry ice I'll need for the fatback and hog jowls.
frenchpony
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
Oy. Fatback and hog jowls you want to offer me? You should only know from a nice piece kishke. Better you than me, sweetness.
karenator001
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
Fatback and hog jowls you want to offer me?

Oh, honey, modern medicine is a miracle. They can clean out those arteries faster than you can say myocardial infarction.

You should only know from a nice piece kishke.

I'll send you some of that too...as soon as I find out what it is. We might have some around here someplace...probably tucked between the collards and the black-eyed peas.
frenchpony
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
You want kishke, I send out to Max and Benny's for a shtik. Kishke, intestine stuffed with matzo meal and spices until it's as brown and dense as what was originally in the intestine before the schochet got at the cow. It works like so: you send fatback and hog jowls, and I retaliate with kishke.
karenator001
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:27 am (UTC)
It works like so: you send fatback and hog jowls, and I retaliate with kishke.

Oh, sugah, we got that down here, only without the matzo meal. We call 'em chittlins'. Don't touch 'em myself.

So...how about something more along the line of bagels and Spam?
frenchpony
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC)
You Southerners make your chittlins for fat and flavor. We Jews make our kishke for bulk. You'd think that something that heavily spiced would have some flavor. And you would be so, so wrong. Half a slice of kishke in your kishkes, and you'd sink like a stone in the middle of the river.

bagels and Spam

Bagels, sausage and Spam
Spam, bagels, sausage and Spam
Spam, Spam, Spam, bagels, and Spam
Spam, sausage, Spam, Spam, bagels, and Spam
Lobster Thermidor aux Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a toasted bagel on top and Spam . . .
karenator001
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:49 am (UTC)
You Southerners make your chittlins for fat and flavor.

Well, you ain't smelled 'em. When the one bite I tried to take got within twelve inches of my nose, I backed away like the General Lee coming up on the sheriff. The cats and dogs wouldn't even go near it. Therefore, I can't vouch for its fat content or its flavor. I'll take your word for it.

Lobster Thermidor aux Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy

I know where I can get a frozen lobster and some brandy. Will that do?
frenchpony
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
When even a dog won't eat something, you know it's got to be aromatic. On the other hand, kishke is the only food item I've ever seen that, when correctly prepared, so perfectly resembled a hockey puck.

I know where I can get a frozen lobster and some brandy. Will that do?

If you go heavy on the brandy.
karenator001
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
If you go heavy on the brandy.

Will do. I've got it: bagels, Spam and brandy. It's in the mail.
frenchpony
Jan. 5th, 2008 06:04 am (UTC)
Mmmmm, brandy . . .
meggins
Jan. 6th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
It can be a real pain when your favorite (or merely local) grocery store closes. Hope a new grocery comes in.
frenchpony
Jan. 6th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC)
And soon, too! It'll probably be better than the Co-Op -- I've heard rumors of either Dominicks or Treasure Island -- but that kind of assumes that it's going to be there at all!
elliska
Jan. 7th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
Oh I hate to see stores like that go out (even if the mismanagement was their own fault). Pray it isn't replaced with Publix or Kroger or what ever big box store you guys have there. (I'd die if Whole Foods left my area...I already drive 40 miles just for them. I can't go much farther and get the food home before it spoils)...
frenchpony
Jan. 7th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
Rumors have narrowed the candidates down to Dominicks and Treasure Island, which means we will probably get something entirely different. Dominicks is a pretty good store -- I used to go to one when I lived on the North Side, and I'd be perfectly happy to see one in Hyde Park. I don't know much about Treasure Island. It's supposed to be expensive, but the Co-Op was not exactly el cheapo, either.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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