So Many Choices In Los Altos

Clearly, access to quality goods and services is important to the residents of Los Altos. With a town of roughly 28,000 residents, Los Altos is fortunate to have 5 major grocery stores within its city limits. From national chains, to family owned regional stores, there is an abundance from which you can choose to shop. Additionally, there is a fresh produce stand, near downtown, that is “so Los Altos” it has become its own institution. Finally, for those seeking unique international flavors, there is a wonderful store at the southern tip of Los Altos that provides specialty items from across the globe.

To begin, there are three national chains from which you can shop …

Safeway - Los AltosFirst, Safeway can be found in North Los Altos in the downtown area, along Foothill Expressway. This Safeway is one of the parent company’s smaller physical sites. While it does not have the wide variety of products that many of its newer stores provide, you can easily find many of your day-to-day necessities. For those of you unfamiliar with Safeway, it is a fairly large corporation with 1,775 stores across the US and Canada. These include 312 Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada, 112 Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, 37 Genuardi’s store in the Philadelphia area, as well as 17 Carrs stores in Alaska. The sheer size of the company, allows it to offer products at a fairly low cost here in Los Altos.

whole-foods-los-altosNext, Whole Foods is the newest addition to Los Altos, and the most environmentally oriented. The opening of the store on El Camino, just a few years ago, not only created a buzz in Los Altos … it became an instant hit with the residents. Founded in 1980, today, they are the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with more than 270 stores in North America and the United Kingdom. They generally strive to find the highest quality, least processed, most flavorful and natural foods possible. Basically, they believe that food in its purest state is the best tasting and most nutritious food there is. While Whole Foods does provide a great alternative to the other two chain stores, they are more expensive.  However, they know what they are doing.

ProduceThe smallest of our national chains, Lucky’s can be found in South Los Altos, just 3.5 miles down Foothill Expressway from Safeway. This is a much larger store than the downtown Safeway, and it provides an expanded array of the items. The store has wide aisles, is well lit, and contains a bakery and bank inside. For background, Lucky’s is operated by Save Mart Supermarkets, owner and operator of 245 Save Mart, S-Mart Foods, Lucky, and FoodMaxx stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada. While Lucky’s is a smaller chain compared to Safeway, it also provides a good product at good prices.

Los Altos also has two incredible regional chain stores …

Draeger's - Los AltosDraeger’s, in the downtown area of Los Altos, has been consistently voted “Best Of” or “Reader’s 1st Choice” by community newspaper readers. Recently, Draeger’s has also received recognition as an international destination for food and wine by many respected publications including Gourmet Magazine, Bon Appetit, and The New York Times. While just two blocks from Safeway, it is worlds apart in its epicurean experience. It is interesting to note that there are only four stores in this family run business.  However, they have developed a strong following of very satisfied shoppers by paying close attention to the tastes of their patrons. They are on the expensive side, but you will not be disappointed.

Andronico's - Los AltosNext, Andronico’s has carved out a niche in mid-Los Altos.  Andronico’s Market is an independent company with eight locations in the greater San Francisco Bay area. The store provides high quality food products, including a wide range of sustainable seafood. An interesting fact about Andronico’s is that it consistently seeks out sustainable seafood products from new sources, and it is committed to phasing out unsustainable products over time. Also, the location of the store, in the Rancho Shopping Center, affords you the opportunity to run many errands at one stop. Like Draeger’s, Andronico’s is on the expensive side, however, they have a lot of quality items to offer.

Finally, a wonderful community, like Los Altos, should also have specialty food stores …

Demartini's OrchardOne of our favorite fresh produce venues is DeMartini’s, located across from City Hall near downtown. DeMartini Orchard is one of the last roadside fruit stands that used to be common in the Santa Clara Valley. The business strives to consistently supply their customers with the absolute finest, freshest and most succulent fruits and vegetables available. More importantly, farm fresh and locally-grown produce is always a priority for them. Owned by the Kozy Brothers, DeMartini’s provides its customers a warm and inviting shopping experience … combined with old-fashioned charm. This is a must visit business. Good fruit. Good vegetables. Good people.

Trader Joe'sFinally, while Trader Joe’s is a grocery store, it is actually so much more. Located at the southern tip of Los Altos, their shelves are stocked full of delicious foods and beverages from the basics like milk, bread and butter to more exotic fare like imported cheeses, organic produce and hand-tossed pizza from Italy. You might expect indulgences like these to come with high prices, but they are as much about value as we are about great food. In other words, they keep their costs low and have terrific everyday prices. Today, Trader Joe’s has more than 300 stores in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Despite their size, they remain privately held and have embraced each community where they have opened a store, including Los Altos.

In addition to the locations described here, there are a handful of smaller “mom & pop” and “grab & go” stores dispersed throughout town. Clearly, having a choice is important to the broader Los Altos community. Whether it’s buying the necessities for day, or planning an elaborate dinner, you will appreciate the diversity of venues here in Los Altos. We hope you enjoy shopping in town as much as we do.

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