by Clare Gordon
Let me start by stating that I'm already predisposed to approving of any grocery option on the West side that is not Whole Foods or Safeway. New Seasons Markets are plentiful on the east side of the river, but short of some scattered co-ops and always-stellar but seasonally appropriate farmers markets, national chains dominate between the river and Beaverton. Local Choice Market has quietly opened on NW 9th and Everett to challenge this situation, and Saturday's opening enthusiasm promises at least a sincere and effort to encourage an affluent neighborhood to spend its money within the community.
It's nothing if not comfortable for a grocery store. With more floor space and personnel than could possibly be necessary or cost effective, Local Choice Market comes replete with a coffee bar, wine/beer bar, butcher, delicatessen, produce department, and most things of edible luxury (try finding a basic essential, like a box of baking soda, in the entire store). I don't think even Whole Foods offers Happy Hour specials on the local beer and wine offered at the in-store counter, where customers are encouraged sip and snack while shopping (make sure you plan on grabbing those Salt & Straw pints after the pit stop, not before). The coffee bar features Coava espresso and pastries from Tula and Bakeshop, in step with the almost entirely local selection of featured prepared foods and ingredients. Again, forget finding basics like Kosher salt—Oregon Pinot Noir Flake from Jacobsen Salt Co. will have to do. And the produce department is ridiculously pretty. Like, with old produce carts and artfully arranged vegetables. I'll be impressed if the level of product maintenance is as sustainable over time as the sourcing of the products themselves. Wandering around the store and just looking at the displays is kind of enjoyable, if you're like me and really enjoy shopping for food.
I'm not sure if Local Choice is as practical as the competition it aims to displace—yet. But when I have too much money on my hands, I'll buy my little luxuries of dried kale chips and Mama Lil's Pickles here. Locally. 'Cause we live in Portland, in case you managed to forget for even a second.
Local Choice Market is located at 830 NW Everett and are open from 7 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday and 8 am to 6 pm Sunday.