I am surprised to read that most seem to favor Publix over Kroger. In Savannah, we have those, Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion and Wal-Mart. The Food Lions here are like everywhere: small, dirty, narrow-aisled and generally preferred by the toothless.
There is a Harris Teeter in Hilton Head, but that's 45 minutes away. I find their stores pleasant but expensive. Good wine selection, too. A few years ago they looked at Savannah and deemed us unworthy, so they would have to be much better to justify a 45 minute trip.
Piggly Wiggly varies greatly, as the newer stores are OK, but the older ones are like a trip back to the 70s, both in appearance and selection. It's the place to go if you need pig's ears, but somehow that makes me doubt the sushi counter. If it weren't for their cool name, I would dismiss them entirely.
Wal-Mart is pretty good for produce and staples, but the meat counter isn't very good and the seafood is worse. I know many people despise Wal-Mart as destroyers of the fabric of American life (fabric now made in China), but they always have frest cilantro, which in a small town makes up for the labor unrest in California.
Now the only real choices here: Kroger and Publix. My surprise at others' comments is that my experience here has been the oppposite. Publix are nice, clean and friendly, but their meat selection is dismal and more expensive than Kroger. I once asked for flank steak and was told they don't carry it. Where are they getting cows with no flank? Is it going to you people in "better" places, or maybe luxury hamburgers for the Atlanta crowd? Although Kroger has raised the price of this excellent cut of meat in the last couple years (to the point where you might as well get a strip steak, but that's another story), at least they have it. Contrary to another post, Kroger here always has "unimproved" pork and chicken, although you do have to pay attention lest you take home the version "enchanced with a solution."
Here's my biggest complaint with Publix: much of their produce is sold on sytrofoam trays wrapped in cellophane. It's not the synthetics that annoy me, although for the record I have nothing against, say, bamboo trays, wax paper and some glue from a tree that was not harmed in its extraction, but sometimes I don't want four zucchini or 1.23 pounds of sugar snap peas. Plus, even though their labor is non-union, it is apparently the job of someone to make sure that one of the five tomatoes so tantalizingly bulging under smell-proof shrink wrap is of suspicious quality. While no melon thumper, I like to see all six sides of the genetically cubic produce that I take home to my decidedly urbane family.
One comment on Ukrops. I was in one several years ago and they sold no alcohol (ethyl, not isopropyl, which while useful, seems to last longer on a per ounce basis). I was told this was because the owners didn't believe in the stuff. Is this true?
Edited by maf, 29 March 2004 - 08:54 AM.