Your Everyday Food Winners

We recently surveyed Montclarions about everyday food, including top spots for coffee, grocery shopping, pizza and chocolate.  Coffee seems to be the most local preference, since everyone gets their fixes in town.  When it comes to the other staples, however, you are willing to shop around.

Coffee Houses:

Over 60% of Montclarions prefer Peets, in a resounding and crushing victory.  The rest of you split the remaining votes among Thornhill Coffee, Royal Ground and Nelly in the rear.  Good old Starbucks didn’t register much with locals, but some visitors must keep them in business.  (Click for more Montclair Coffee Shop info.)

Grocery Shopping:

There’s simply no consensus about the best place for groceries.  As the election official, I’ll award the sentimental favorite medal to Farmer Joe’s (Yelp).  There were enough write-ins to make it rank among the balloted candidates.  Here’s what Yelpers had to say:

  • Farmer Joe’s is also a great alternative to battling the parking lot mess and angry hippies at Berkeley Bowl or the feeling of conspicuous consumption at Whole Foods.
  • The prices and quality of the fresh stuff are really really good, especially compared to Safeway or Lucky, and you feel like you’re supporting a family-owned business.
  • This is by far my favorite grocery store in the entire world.
  • I skip over Lucky’s, Safeway and Farmer Joe’s #1 to shop here from the south, where I live; or, from the Berkeley direction where I work, I skip over a far more impressive collection of Safeways, Whole Foods and yes- even Berkeley Bowl, which is now a zoo at all hours of day and night- to shop at Farmer Joe’s #2.

Back to the official election results now.  Within the Village, Lucky received the most votes but no one raved about the market.  They did like the convenience, staples and prices there.  Beyond the Village gates, Trader Joe’s (Yelp) was the preferred alternative.  By comparison, Safeway and Village Market trailed behind and Whole Foods straggled into last place.


What a close race, which required a recount of the paper ballots!  The almighty Zachary’s (Yelp), over in Rockridge, came out the overall winner – which means our pizza identity is shaped more by Chicago than anywhere else.  Within Montclair, the two winners were Cybelle’s and Rustica.  The runner up and dark horse was Red Boy (Yelp), just down Park Blvd.  (Click for more Montclair Pizza info.)

Chocolate Sources:

Well who can argue with Berkeley’s Scharffen Berger (Yelp), which came out tops?  It was a three-horse race, with strong contenders Le Bon Bon and XOX Truffles pulling up the rear.  At least we have truly top-notch chocolate around here, so the supermarket option wasn’t much considered by survey respondents.

Thanks all, for your votes and opinions.  What morsels should we survey next?