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Added Feb 12 2012

Some fantasy talk about Trader Joes on another thread inspired me to open a new discussion about grocery stores in our neighborhood. I’m interested to hear what people think about their local food shopping options. I don't know if we could attract a Trader Joes here (although one could argue that they have a coverage gap between Lake View and Highland Park), but I do think we could use another type of grocery store, particularly from the perspective of those who prefer to walk rather than drive.

Let me do a little inventory of what we have (help me fill in the gaps): the two Dominicks along the Clark/Ridge corridors; the two independent markets (Morse Fresh and RP Fruit market); as well as a good number of ethnic groceries (several Mexican markets along Clark, and the South Asian markets along Devon in West Ridge—which are excellent, although a little far to walk if you live too far north). We also have the two Whole Foods in Evanston, which I’m very pleased to have that close, although they're even farther for walkers.

Personally, I tend to judge a neighborhood by its smaller independent grocers which offer something other than mainstream supermarket products. Morse Fresh and RP Fruit Market come the closest to that, but although they work very hard to offer a lot of stuff in their cramped spaces (and their prices and produce quality are excellent), I think they’re also deficient in a few ways: most of the bread is bagged and pre-sliced; prepared food options aren’t that good; organic/alternative options are often low; meats are mostly factory-farm sourced; the spice/herb options are poor, particularly if you don't want to buy them in small cans/containers; and condiment selection could be improved. But mostly, I find that neither of these two stores makes me feel very intrigued about food when I’m walking down their aisles; they're kind of utilitarian. Which is good sometimes (I’m not looking for a food Disneyland), but not always...

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    continued from main post...
    A very similar situation extends down into Edgewater: they have their version of Morse Fresh (Devon Market), Mexican/Latino groceries, and a similar number of large mainstream groceries. They also have a couple of things we don’t: an Aldi, and a health food/organic grocery (True Nature—which unfortunately I find overpriced, understocked, neurotic and unpleasant in terms of atmosphere and staff). Edgewater also has better access to the Vietnamese groceries down by Argyle. As far as West Ridge is concerned, other than the Devon corridor, they don’t seem to have much; if I lived west of Ridge, I’d be shopping in RP.

    All this is to argue that I think there is a need for a "Trader Joes type" grocery here, i.e., something a little more interesting and food-lover-oriented. I'm not sure TJs itself would offer what I'm looking for--they're great on prepared foods and a number of other things (wine, dairy and coffee come to mind), but they don't try to be comprehensive (try finding shortening on their shelves), but at least they make food fun, and a TJs would definitely complement our current offerings. Also consider that our closest version of a non-standard supermarket (Morse Fresh) is extremely crowded, which indicates to me that we have a population of consumers looking for something other than Dominicks and who might be currently underserved here.

    In making my little inventory of groceries, I also find myself being reminded of how great our grocery options are, particularly if you're willing to go up into Evanston, SE to Devon, or as far south as Argyle. We’re about as good as it gets in Chicago in terms of access to a wide variety of food products. But I still think there's still a certain gap in Rogers Park (and Edgewater); what we’re missing is a non-standard grocery store that truly inspires you to cook and eat. What do you think?

  • Krisann architectural educator

    Morse Market suits nearly all of my needs. I LOVE that grocery store. I think it is one of the highlights of Rogers Park. I mentioned in a previous post but, my father worked for 45 years in the grocery business in Wisconsin and, when he went to Morse Market, he loved it so much that he is still talking about it.

    I go to Andersonville for my wine and beer. The only thing MM is missing is liquor, but they don't have much space for it.

  • If you go to TJ website, you can see there is a huge gap of TJ's, and we are right in center of that gap. Although I appreciate your inventory and passion behind TJ's, I wonder if we, myself included, are being grandiose. Did you check out the link I posted about the new place opening up next to Mayne Stage? They are going to have a store front perfect for TJ's and the building will have a parking garage, a feature that most TJ's have. I think though that this kind of thing would need a campaign, many RP people supporting it and then using that a reason for TJ to come. I went to school at Georgetown and they had a TJ's in a apartment building right next to GW and the students loved it. I would assume that loyola support would also be useful in this big push. However, I do believe that some people might be angry about it being close to Morose market. Anyways, thanks for the post.

  • Joseph G PhD student on a bike

    Trader Joe'd in RoPa? That would be next level. While not as cheap as I tell myself it is, it is a pretty awesome option for those lazy weeks leading up to finals when I just don't have time to pressure-cook, stir-fry, or broil.

    I personally shop almost entirely at Rogers Park Fruit Market unless I'm buying something bizarre (bulk rye berries, which I can get at Whole Foods) or I'm Dominick's shopping at 12:34 am.
    I love R.P. Fruit Market because they're so charmingly close and small. Discovering the possibilities of produce and products from african and caribbean cuisines has been pretty cool, as I am poor and always appreciate vegetarian alternatives to the western standbys.
    But R.P Fruit Market lets me down, sometimes. The few times I've bought meat there have had some gastrointestinal consequences and I don't do that anymore. Many people do, apparently, as the meat counter lines usually constitute the bulk of the store's business on weekends, but I just haven't had good luck. The fish, too, are just sad, with their grey, sunken eyes mourning days spent alternating between freezer and cubed-ice display case.
    The produce is pretty solid and affordable, but you have to pick careful to get consistent quality.

    Devon Market is awesome. I'd shop there more often, but I'm up on Sherwin and bike-bound, so it's usually not worth the haul. When I pull my car out of storage, I like to go down there and grab a bounty of affordable ethnic groceries and respectable produce. They still have a disheartening fish selection, though.

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972

    Morse Market is awesome, Chapala's Supermercado on Clark just south of Touhy is a great authentic Mexican Grocery with even a little Mexican cafe in the back (helps to be able to read/speak Spainish - very authentic indeed), Dominicks at the Gateway is a standard, decent big grocer, Rogers Park Fruit Market is a good produce source and has lots of unique ethnic produce, JD Mills just over the border on Chicago Avenue in the strip mall by Walgreens is great for bulk health foods and way cheaper than Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). In my opinion, Trader Joes would round out the offerings.

    That said Trader Joes may be a total fantasy. I think it would fill the empty lot on Howard and Ashland nicely and provide some jobs to an area that needs them. It would help salvage that shopping district. Given the Aldis near Home Depot on Evanston and on Broadway and Granville, they may feel like they already have a big enough presence.

  • Inactive user

    I did not know about JD Mills. I am going to check it out now that I am aware of it.

    There is also the old Dearborn Wholesale space on Howard near Damen. It would be great for a store to go in there. I think a Trader Joe's would go well in this area. It would pick up not only Rogers Park customers but Edgewater, Andersonville, Evanston as well.

  • Morse Market is amazing and the few things I don't buy there I can easily access via public transit. I'd much rather see an effort to encourage Morse to expand than an I would an effort to bring TJ or some other chain, "natural food" or otherwise, into the neighborhood. It is a great business worth our support and their selection already shows they want to cater to the community. But what incentive do they have to expand if we just say we want something else instead of (you can say "in addition to," but a TJ in the neighborhood would absolutely draw people away from Morse) what we already have?

    Newleaf on Loyola Ave is also worth a visit if you're looking for more "natural"/organic options. It's small and hidden, which is probably why it hasn't been mentioned in this thread, but for example, they have weekly produce boxes available and fair trade stuff.

  • Nolan - RP 2+ Year RP resident

    Newleaf is smaller more pricey version of whole foods. Though since it's within walking distance I hit them up sometimes. They serve the waldorf students/teachers/parents as much as they serve RP.

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    I'm glad to learn about JD Mills and Newleaf, thanks to two of the posters for that. I also agree with you, Megan, that an expansion of Morse Market would be ideal. I get a sense that they are so space restricted that they just don't have room for expanding their offerings. I do really like Morse Market, and I think they do an amzazing job with the little space they have; just wish it was a little broader in some areas. I've comparison-shopped quite a bit at the Devon Market, and I think Morse Fresh has them beat in a number of areas (but Devon Market is more spacious, and that makes for a more pleasant shopping experience).

    I agree with some others that the chances of a Trader Joes opening up in Rogers Park are prettty slim. However, I don't think that it would be such a long shot for Andersonville, and if it's a location close enogh to Devon (what about right along Devon?), that would benefit out neighborhood as well. Yes, RP and Edgewater are smack in the middle of their most obvious no coverage area in Chicago.

    But maybe our best chances would be with getting a conversation started about encouraging Morse Market to expand (or perhaps even to move to a larger space--perhaps like that one mentioned by Mayne Stage). It wouldn't hurt if the owner got our suggestions. MM has so many customers, it's pretty obvious they are ripe for expansion if the owner has that kind of initiative. I've never seen such a busy grocery store.

  • It seems like commercial space is becoming readily available, and like I said, Morse is always making efforts to please their customers (Have you seen their selections meat/dairy alternatives? It's crazy.) So I think the first step would be to ask them to carry the things you'd like to see, and if they don't then ask why.

    Let's just not forget how blessed we are up here on the North Side. The South and West sides are truly the most obvious no coverage area in Chicago, and that's of any solid grocery options. Rogers Park is by no means a food desert, even with out our very own TJ or WF we are still much more privileged in that regard. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but the bottom line is we have it easy up here compared to other areas in the city when it comes to accessing healthy options.

  • Joseph G PhD student on a bike

    I really like Megan's suggestion about asking Morse to stock the items you're looking for. They *do* have a lot of great stuff that you'd never see at somewhere like Rogers Park Fruit Market or even Jewel, like Bob's Red Mill grains, coconut milk beverage, an extensive mineral water section, and a whole bunch of other cool odds and ends.

    While Trader Joes is convenient, it is by no means a small, local retailer. I fully support the idea of building the resources you want to see with the stuff you already have. On that note, maybe I'll ask RoPa Fruit Market to start carrying some better fish! (not holding my breath though...)

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    I seem to recall that Edgewater tried in vain to interest Trader Joe's to open a store within the past year or two. Same thing in Evanston in two different possible locations. It seems they are not interested in expanding.

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    I can see why Trader Joes might not have many more Chicago stores planned, given that they have at least 8 here already and there are so many other TJ deserts. But there's at least one national competitor to Whole Foods and TJ's--Fresh Market--and maybe Andersonville would therefore be a logical place for them to set up in Chicago (their closest store is in Wilmette). But I don't know what they're like, having never shopped there.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    I would love to see a grocery store like Fresh Farms in our area. I really like their produce and prices. I don't care for Morse market's produce or meat department.

  • svenbro Concerned citizen/condo owner

    I know of few that want a Trader Joe's here in RP. I would just because they different foods and some of there prices are better.
    If two whole foods less than 2 miles apart that seem to be doing well. Why not a Trader Joe's on western in one of those vacant car dealers were on Western.

  • Inactive user

    Krisann -- totally agreed! Morse Market is great! Just so you know - not too far away on Clark/One block south of Pratt is Rogers Park Fine Wine and Spirits, which is an AWESOME and friendly place to find the finest wines, and a HUGE selection of craft beer. The owner, Henry, is great - and he is constantly stocking his shelves with things his customers request. Just thought I'd mention it in case you hadn't discovered that place so you don't have to trek to Andersonville for the libations. ;D

  • Inactive user

    Devon Market ...the old Dino' great; love that place. Rogers Park Fine Wine is a jewel. Also like taste for their cheeses

  • Sorry, but I just won't touch the meats at RoPa Fruit Market or Devon Market. Those looking for meat should try Holtzkopf's Meat Market on Broadway. I would love to see a TJ's in RP -- I go down to the one on Lincoln frequently. I try to avoid WF because it's too pricey. I've also been going to Mariano's on Western near Belmont -- a real food mecca!!

  • Inactive user

    Did we forget another staple on Devon...La Unica...its been there for close to 20 years....great little eatery in the back of the store. Also, as opposed to Joe's how about a Pete's Fresh Market? IF you have the time check it out on Pulaski near 45th St just south of I55. FANTASTIC!!

  • Nolan - RP 2+ Year RP resident


    I was a fan of Holtzkoph's for a while. They do have higher quality meat than other local options. However, I asked where their pork comes from and it's Cargil so same as grocers they just get a more premium cut. I also asked about grass fed beef and they only carry that in the freezer.

    So while I would rather shop at a local meat market I head to whole foods for what I perceive to be higher quality meat and a fine selection of seafood.

  • Inactive user

    Holtzkoph's ( formerly Borenhoffen's) and Whole Foods are
    way over priced...yes the service is A+, but it's still $$.
    For seafood, if you want Fresh and Reasonable try Issacson & Stein at the corner of Fulton & Halsted. Yeah it's a drive but you
    can't beat the selection and the price. Very high quality. Also, about 1220 West on Lake street is Peoria Packing....Great Selection and can't beat the price for average cuts and poultry. GReat place to stock up for summer grilling. Steaks? I will go to Holtskoph's.

  • Nolan -- I'm not actually looking for organic or grass-fed in my meats. At Holtzkopf's, I like the fact that the meats are cut in-house and of a higher quality than grocery stores. In house prep of ground meats is especially key for me. I tend not to like WF meats as they cut too much fat off and you get dry, tasteless meat. In terms of pricing, I used to go to Paulina Market -- talk about needing a second mortgage!!

  • Inactive user

    For those looking for grass-fed meat, you can do a meat and eggs CSA share through Cedar Valley Farms and pick your meat up at Uncommon Ground Devon the first Weds of the month. For more info:

  • Jason 3 Year Rogers Park Resident

    @Krisann For all your Wine and Beer needs, check out Rogers Park Fine Wine & Spirits on Clark and Columbia. They rock and are having a GRAND REOPENING on March 2nd and 3rd. Friday/Saturday

  • Jason 3 Year Rogers Park Resident

    Also, I think if everyone wants a Trader Joe's in Rogers Park, your best bet is emailing them.

  • Nolan - RP 2+ Year RP resident

    This is a grea thread!

    Ed G, thanks for mentioning Isaacson Stein (I had never heard of them).

    Suzanne, Glad to hear Holtzkoph meets your needs. A bit further and smaller but you might like Mueller meats.

    Knangreave, Thanks I like uncommon ground a lot.

    Another place that I like is Gene's Sausage company in Lincoln Sq.

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    Ed G: I agree, La Unica on Devon is incredible. For me, it's not so much for the groceries (although they have some Latin American regional specialties you can't get at the regular Mexican groceries), but for the small restaurant in back, which you also mentioned. Just about the best taste to price ratio I've found in Chicago...

  • Inactive user

    I've been going in to the Colujmbia & Clark, ROgers PArk Fine Wines for a long time - the owner really knows his stuff...he's never steered me wrong!

  • Jackie L Tajiri EdgeRoge Celtic Music Lover

    As Trader Joe's is owned and run by the same company that owns ALDI (which already has a store on Broadway and Granville, as well as California and Granville), the company may be reluctant to have ALDI and Trader Joe's stores too close to one another. That's my theory (for all it's worth). The building that now houses "Auto Zone" at Clark and Granville would have been an ideal location for a TJ's. I do feel that there is a need for alternatives to supermarket chains and substandard food retailers that now exist in our community.

    We also could use more organic food options.

    Personally, I am a loyal 'Devon Market' shopper, and have been very satisfied with the products I've purchased there. ALDI is good for buying staples (sugar, milk, eggs, etc.), but their produce leaves much to be desired. A little farther South, in Andersonville, I also shop at Edgewater Produce, though the quality of their meats are iffy.

  • Jason 3 Year Rogers Park Resident

    @Jackie The Aldi on Broadway was going to be a Trader Joe's in the past, but I believe they looked at the area and felt an Aldi would fit better there. Now that things have gotten better up north, i don't see any reason why they wouldn't build a Trader Joe's. The people who shop at each stores are totally different shoppers. Aldi folk tend to go Jewel or Dominicks more...while Trader Joe's shoppers tend to shop at Whole my 7 years of grocery experience.

  • Inactive user

    We shall see.

  • Inactive user

    I can't imagine a trader joe's east of the tracks at this point, with all the gun violence.

  • We buy a few things at Dominick's and occasionally Rogers Park Fruit Market. 99% of our dollars go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. It has been that way fir me for 20 plus years. Before WF was here I shopped at Oak St. Market in Evanston. I shopped at Food Stuffs on Morse when it existed and even though I am friends with the owner almost never go into New Leaf on Loyola. I wish new leaf was 3 times the size...which could let them compete a least a bit on price. Waldorf School keeps that place going.

  • Ann Hinterman manager, Glenwood Sunday Market; RP lover

    I think, in a neighborhood like Rogers Park, we should be doing everything we can to support small, local businesses. The Glenwood Sunday Market, Rogers Park's organic, sustainable farmers market (all vendors must operate within a 250 mi radius of our zip code) runs every week, June-October, and once a month November-May. We just had an amazing market yesterday (2/12), and will have another on March 11 at 6962 N Glenwood (indoors at the Glenwood Bar). Check out the website:, or Facebook. If you have questions, feel free to email me at

    I think it would be awesome to have a food co-op in Rogers Park... Power to the people!

  • Its my understanding that Trader Joe's almost came to the area at Granville and Broadway. Aldi's the parent company, felt that the location would be better served to be an Aldi's instead of a Trader Joe's. So it seems that Aldi's feels that Trader Joe's is not needed in the area.

  • Ann -- I like farmers markets and generally go to the one in Evanston during the summer. The one time I went to the Glewood Market I had MAJOR sticker shock (and some ice cream I purchased there was truly dreadful!)

    I love small, local businesses and prefer to buy from them, but we need to keep in mind that some of the big stores like TJ can provide value pricing in a way that small stores can't.

    Nolan -- Where is Mueller's?

    Since we are moving off RP stores, I like Lincolnwood Produce and Jerry's Meats in Skokie. Many times, I will drive further to these options as I don't have to feed the meter boxes in Chicago.

  • Inactive user

    Ismael M: the developer who put up the high-rise at Granville and Broadway (NE corner) floated rumors that Trader Joes would be a tenant in order to solicit neighbhorhood support. TJ was not planning on going in there at all, and told them to cease and desist. Later, it's an Aldi. Odd.

  • Nolan - RP 2+ Year RP resident

    west ridge? It's on Peterson just west of Western

  • Inactive user

    Ismael - that developer is now getting his just due - nearly all of his retail space is empty and the building has gone from condo to rental units.
    I don't know which Aldergenius approved this design but the building is just the other side of being an's ugly and will not improve with age.

  • Inactive user

    I dont think a trader joes and the farmers market would be an either or thing. Having another decent food store around wouldnt put a farmers market out of business. There is always a need for a farmers market, they have unique fresh products that not even whole foods would necessarily have.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    I came home from the Glenwood Sunday Market yesterday weighted down with two full bags of potatoes, mushrooms, granola, cider, wonderful baked goods made with whole grains, and more. If I could ever get there early, I'd be bringing home wonderful eggs, but those are usually long gone by the time I arrive. Since the market first opened, I've only missed it a couple of times. In some ways, it's also a social occasion.

  • KMQ New to the Uptown Sound

    I dont see the long-term cost benefit for the company if they dropped a Trader Joe's in the middle of RP. I have been 3 times to a Trader Joe's, and it always seems to be overpriced for me. I dont think the average household in RP could afford to purchase their daily items from a TJ. Does anyone have the figures on annual household income in RP?

    I love going to Morse Market, as I feel it helps support a good local business, and the prices are fantastic compared to the big box stores.

    I like what we have currently, but dont want to over-saturate the market. I think everyone who is clamoring for the Trader Joe's is doing so for two reasons: prestigious image, and an anchor for the Morse corridor. The latter reason I can totally understand, but the prior just seems to be for selfish pride.

  • Adam Rogers park resident, small business owner

    It pains me to read this thread with people clamoring for a Trader Joe's or a TJ's. I consider Morse Market to be one of the crown jewels of Rogers Park. It of course doesn't look like much from the outside, but the owner tries very hard to cater to a broad spectrum of shoppers - from those who need only the basics and care exclusively about the price point, and those who are willing to pay more for organic. Even when buying mostly organic, I never walk out of there having spent more than $20 or $30 for what seems like a lot of food. Their organic prices are also $1 - $3 less per item than Whole Foods. As a business owner myself, I have to give huge props to these guys for doing the absolute best they can in the space they have.

    I would much much rather push/lobby, hell, even donate, to help Morse Market expand and see what they can do with a larger space than try to attract a national chain which will inevitably harm this business that has done so much to anchor the street and will always be more receptive to the needs and desires of the local area.

  • According to this City data link, the median 2009 household income in RP is $65,080, so I think we can handle a TJ. (

    I would like to see a TJ in RP as I drive freqently to the one near Lincoln and Addison to shop. I don't shop at the Morse Market and won't, so the idea that the two are in competition may not be realistic.

  • Inactive user

    Muellers is great. As to the meter issue, my time is worth way more than the 50 cents I might nominally save by driving to Skokie to park in a lot and that doesn't even gas and wear and tear on the car going back and forth. 'll pay nominally more to save my precious resource my time

  • Bill W. 12 Year Resident of Rogers Park

    I tend to shop at the Morelia on Western. It has decent prices, a good bakery and good meats. For name brand stuff, I stick to the Dominicks or Jewel stores in the area. Also in the summer Ed&Irv's on Touhy has the best steaks in town!

  • Trader Joes employees wear Hawaiian shirts, is that a "prestigious image"? No, its quirky and fun, which in some ways could characterize some elements of Rogers Park. I'm a broke student and I consider Trader Joes cheap, especially when it comes to easy and tasty frozen items. They always have samples of new products in their stores which gives shopping their a fun edge, plus its small which gives it a more community like feel. Do I think RP will ever get one - no. Does this make me jaded? Not in the least. But do I think that RP would be conducive for a TJ, yup. It's one of the few corporate places I would actually endorse. Like I said in previous posts on this topic, I never want to see independent businesses at a disadvantage to such corporate businesses, but as a resident, I also would like to have the conveniency of certain stores/products. But hell, who doesn't.

  • Adam Rogers park resident, small business owner

    Suzanne, please don't take this as a negative tone, I'm just curious why you would never shop at Morse Market and find the need to drive to Wrigleyville to get groceries? Is it a lack of selection? A distrust of the meats? Produce quality? Lack of pre-prepared food that is more convenient?

    I ask because when I first moved in to the neighborhood I would only drive to the Dominick's to shop as they were more "trustworthy," specifically for meat and produce. I figured - large chain, higher quality control processes, etc. But then I decided to visit Devon Market one day and realized how much extra I was spending for the exact same items I was buying at the chains. Then I went in to Morse Market and found the experience even better, with a better selection of the types of foods I need for my cooking, very high quality organic meats and produce, etc. I've never looked back and rarely set foot anyplace else, except for the weekly pilgrimage to a Whole Foods salad bar.

  • Inactive user

    @ Suzanne D. 1. City-data is not the most authoritative source 2. The link you proivided does not cover RP. If you insist on city-dataThe link to RP is here:

    The link you provided cover West Ridge and Parts of Evanston....a different demographic. anyhow here is the info from city-data (again cd not the best)

    Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago statistics: (Find on map)

    Area: 2.478 square miles

    Population: 63,810

    Population density:
    Rogers Park: 25,750 people per square mile
    Chicago: 12,750 people per square mile

    Median household income 2009:
    Rogers Park: $37,630
    Chicago: $45,734

    Median rent in 2009:
    Rogers Park: $810
    Chicago: $768

    Male vs Females
    Males: 32,529
    Females: 31,280

    Median age
    Males: 29.7 years
    Females: 30.9 years

    Housing prices:
    Average estimated value of detached houses in 2009 (3.9% of all units):
    Rogers Park: $458,119
    Chicago: $290,495

    Average estimated value of townhouses or other attached units in 2009 (2.6% of all units):
    This neighborhood: $152,219
    city: $244,462

    Average estimated value of housing units in 2-unit structures in 2009 (4.6% of all units):
    This neighborhood: $223,850
    Chicago: $184,702

    Average estimated '09 value of housing units in 3-to-4-unit structures (8.1% of all units):
    Rogers Park: $377,367
    city: $427,981

    Average estimated '09 value of housing units in 5-or-more-unit structures (80.8% of all units):
    Rogers Park: $214,575
    Chicago: $352,133


  • Jason 3 Year Rogers Park Resident

    Sorry, but Trader Joe's isn't expensive. I bought a box of Organic Green Tea for under $3 there, rather than a store here sold for $4. If TJ came, I'd still happily shop at Morse Market. All in all, if you think Trader Joe's is expensive, your head will explode if you go to New Leaf or Whole Foods.

  • Thanks for the demographic update Lawfin -- I didn't look at the map, just googled the question. It was West Ridge!

    Adam -- Its "curb appeal" is lacking. Doesn't seem very clean to me and I can't get past that. It looks like a store that markets itself as the grocery option for those who don't have transportation options. Not a place you would choose to go in. Plus, don't like having to deal with the hang-out/give me money crew along Morse. It seems like you need to be prepared to run a gauntlet getting in and out.

    Sadly, that whole curb appeal thing is actually an issue for many RP retail places. There is almost never anything that is visually enticing that would prompt you to want to enter. Dirty windows buried with junk -- overall RP has a commercial look that attracts no one.

  • tom 2422 Rogers Parker since 1972

    Morse Market fans: I am the sorry soul who suggested that a Trader Joes would be desirable for RP. I never suggested that this be on Morse. I suspect folks north of Touhy seldom shop on Morse. My suggestion is for a Trader Joes on Howard Street or somewhere in the northern section of Rogers Park. The demographics may not support one to the corporate decision makers, although I think you would be surprised by the number of households north of Touhy and East of Ridge that are well over $60,000.

    The argument that lower income folks would never shop in this sort of store is suspect to me as well. Right now a lot of low income shoppers shop at the smaller convenience markets that dot the landscape (I can think of five on Howard Street and Rogers east of the el). I find it hard to believe that these shops would be less expensive than a TJ's. A TJ would attract folks from miles around and bring outside dollars (and jobs) into the hood. The conveniece stores certainly do not do attract outside dollars. I also suspect that lower income folks value having a choice and "nicer" stores as much as anyone else. FYI, my low income tenants (they are artists) drive to and do shop at Trader Joes. Frankly, I am tired of the attitude that RP doesn't qualify to be served by more trendy stores. This is rather self-perpetuating.

    Suzanne, I have shopped occasionally at the Morse Market and it is an awesome little store. It even has parking. It is one of many hidden jewels in RP. I like your West Ridge stats. I bet they would come to East Rogers Park to shop if there was a Trader Joes.

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    Yeah, I gotta call you out on that on, Suzanne. I know trendy, and I've lived in some tony places in my life, but there's nothing wrong with the curb appeal of Morse Market. And it's just as clean inside as any grocery store.

    Actually I found your comment hilarious. You represent the Rogers Park hoity toity! The Violet Crawley of Rogers Park.... I actually don't mind that at all. It takes all kinds.

    Morse Fresh has been really intelligent in positioning itself between the large supermarket chains and the small independent stores, with good pricing and wide offerings. Although I think it can still be improved in a few areas, I don't think any chain store--TJs, WF, etc.--would ever pose a threat to it.

  • Inactive user

    Suzanne - give The Morse Fresh Market a try- you'll find it a rather
    positive experience - oh by the way it is CLEAN - It doesn't sound as if you like RP very much at all - so I am curious why you choose to stay hear.

  • Luci in Rogers Park Dog Lover, living in Rogers Park for 26 years

    The thing I don't like about Morse Fresh Market is the smell of bug killer on their grocery bags. The minute my boyfriend puts the bags into the car-----there is THAT SMELL. We always throw those bags out. I don't care for their produce, I find it a hit or miss.

  • Inactive user

    Convenience stores are a rip off and not well stocked with fresh's buyer beware. The Morse Market, Devon Market, Edgewater Produce, etc aare NOT convenience stores.

  • Inactive user

    As opposed to the expensive and lousy produce at the chains? Every grocery has some type of insect, so do most restaurants, vegi markets etc. Would you prefer bugs in the car?

  • KMQ New to the Uptown Sound

    @Tom2422, I only proposed that it would go on Morse because that seems to be the "heart" of Rogers Park to me. Its a place that needs a revival, and it would fit in well with the Reside, the Act One/Mayne Stage, Common Cup...would be a great addition if it went there. However, I want to support the Morse Fresh market as much as possible. What I would REALLY love to see if more entertainment options here...possibly a bowling alley...but thats just me.

  • Inactive user

    Morse is already reviving. It's Howard that's in trouble IMO.

  • Adam Rogers park resident, small business owner

    Suzanne, thank you for your honest reply about why you don't shop there. I can't say I've never done the same thing with grocery stores, restaurants, etc., especially when traveling. But as others have said I would encourage you to try it again, even if for something simple like canned or frozen goods. I suspect you would find it a more pleasant experience than what is represented from the outside.

    The business reality for a place like Morse Market is the money that doesn't get spent on beautiful signage and exterior improvements goes in to the savings they pass along to its shoppers. Part of what you are paying for at the large retailers is their marketing budgets.

    As for the quality of the produce, I'm in Whole Foods at least once a week, either for a trip to the salad bar or for ingredients I can't find anywhere else. While Whole Foods' produce is the best you will find, they also are extremely choosy about what makes it on to the shelves, not from a quality perspective, but from an "eye test" perspective. That's why every single WF's have salad bars, because the tomato that has a scratch on the outside should absolutely not be thrown out, but used in some way. Their customer-base demands perfection in what they're spending a premium on, and WF has figured out a way to monetize everything that comes in to the store. It's why I own a few shares of stock in their company :)

    Morse Market's produce may have a scrape on the outside, a wilted leaf on a head of lettuce, etc. but that doesn't mean the quality is significantly less, it just means they're not picking through everything for external blemishes when the quality is still there.

  • Carl and Ed -- Sorry if I don't find Morse Market an attractive place to shop. I'm not hoity toity -- just speaking the truth. You know why Home Depot lost significant market share to Lowe's? Because Lowe's decided to market to women and make the overall shopping experience more attractive.

    As men, you may not realize how often women make decisions based on the look of things. Rogers Park has a bit of a crime and gang problem (as we know from being EB folks.) When I am doing business in RP, I want to be able to look into a store and see whether there is any situation that needs to be of concern to me BEFORE I enter. Having spent my entire adult life living in Chicago, DC, or NYC, it's a matter of street smarts. Morse Market gives me no comfort on that front. You may not consider it anything more than a hassle to deal with folks asking you for money when shopping on Morse. A woman walking in with her daughter to shop (as I often am) can find it somewhat threatening.

    Ed --I don't choose to stay "hear" -- I stay "here" because there are many great facets to Rogers Park. From beautiful old housing stock, proximity to the lake and downtown, the ability to be within a few minutes of everything that a large city has to offer, not being a homogenous neighborhood. BUT, it has real problems that need to be acknowledged and addressed. A lack of diversity in retail is one of them. Since women make most purchasing decisions, local retailers should respond to that reality if they wish to thrive.

    Finally, as a general and sexist aside, many women would concur that the average male seems incapable of recognizing "dirty" when it's staring them in the face! How's that for throwing out red meat?

  • Inactive user

    I find Morse Market pretty clean, and pretty safe, and I'm a petite female. I don't pay attention to marketing or "shopping experience", I just go wherever's closest and most convenient. Which is why I don't go to Morse Market regularly--there's closer places to me (I basically only go there on my way home from the Sunday Market). If it were close, I'd go more often for sure.

  • Inactive user

    Suzanne, funny I see as many men in both Devon and Morse Markets as women. You say RP has problems and that they need to be addressed. Your are correct, but the same can be said for Lincoln Park, Edgebrook, Wrigleyville, etc. Point is this, if your interested in making a difference taking your shopping dollars to other more "tawny" surgically clean areas weaken our community. It is a fact.
    About your unintelligent remark about men and cleanliness....well...I can't speak for the men in your life, but that was flat out ignorant. If you are not part of the solution you ARE part of the problem.

  • Not to add more fuel to the fire, but I do just want to say that the comment Suzanne made doesn't represent the feelings of all women. I'm a woman and I am detail/aesthetically oriented and I find Morse to be lovely. It is very clean, and if you haven't been inside it's really not fair to say it's not. I'm also responsible for my household's grocery purchases and think Morse is the best option for affordable, high quality produce and a great selection of unique things to try.

    I never feel threatened by the people who ask for money, if you try getting to know them as members of your community you'll find that they're not violent and they're not interested in hurting you, they just want some help. Also, yes, the gang violence in this neighborhood is tragic, but if you're not in a gang the odds of you becoming a victim of it are very low.

    Anywho! All that said, this discussion has been exhaustive and I think if folks want to take it further they should take some action and then we can deal with this issue if it comes up in community meetings and such.

  • Inactive user

    RIght On Megan!

  • Ed -- Why would keeping my shopping dollars at places where I don't want to shop change anything? In fact, wouldn't it make the markets I think need to improve to attract my business believe they don't need to improve!?

    As Tom 2422 pointed out, there is value to our community in having stores in RP that people from outside our community would actually make a point of coming to! You seem to have some chip on your shoulder at the very idea that this is not some Soviet-style penal camp that can mandate where RP residents shop. Lighten up and get over it!

    And, yes -- he went for the red meat!!

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    Suzanne, this is just getting better and better! You have me doubled over laughing now. I'm picturing you attempting to enter Morse Market: evading all the dangerous people at the entrance, your daughter cowered in terror behind you, stepping clear of the piles of slop, almost falling into the rotten produce, doing your best not to bump into any of the unsanitary, aesthetically-challenged men like me...

  • Krisann architectural educator

    Morse Market is the most perfectly "faced" grocery store I've ever been in, meaning the fronts of the shelves are always perfectly lined up and stacked with products. It takes a lot of work to maintain that level of attention and there are always employees eager to replace something when there is a hole in the display.

    If you look down the aisles, they are lovely.

    I LOVE going with my daughter. The women at the deli always fawn over her and all the employees always ask how she is. That store is a gem.

  • Carl -- Like we laugh over your inability to figure out how to park and drive legally in the "Big City?" You seem to be challenged in many ways!

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    oh yes I am challenged, Suzanne. In so many ways...

  • Carl -- I am sorry you are having a tough time. I apologize for being sarcastic in my previous post, and hope things brighten up for you shortly.

  • Inactive user

    Suzie - Clearly you are a proponent of judging a book by its cover -
    what do you look like, just so I can decide whether....oh never mind.

  • Carl G. Rogers Park resident

    Oh, I was just trying to be ironic there, Suzanne; I'm not facing any particular difficulties. It's true that I've had my share of parking tickets, but since they were all so flagrantly unreasonable, my sense of personal virtue has not been damaged. :)

    You seem like a decent, spirited person, and I'd probably like you if I met you. It just seemed really peculiar and comical to me that a resident of RP would feel apprehensive about walking into Morse Fresh, which feels like the very heart of what the neighborhood is all about. But hey, if everyone shared the same opinions and tastes on here, it wouldn't be very interesting, would it.

  • KMQ New to the Uptown Sound

    Please keep your personal sniping away from the Community Forums, as they do not follow EveryBlock policy, and really show poor taste.

  • DaveP been around

    I'm personally more offended by the sexiest comments originally posted by suzanne than anything post afterwards.

    But, hey, since it's a woman talking bad about men, it's ok!

  • Inactive user

    Agreed...some get it.

  • I remeber when TRADER JOES Wanted to move into the Dollar Store space on Morse. It was way back in the early-mid 90s. I think. Jewel Osco was allowed to put an easement (or something similar) on that piece of land forbidding any competing type store be put there for something like 25 years. That is why the Dollar Store is in the strip mall on Morse Ave!! I hear that type of restriction is not used as often today. It is used in areas that are very desperate for any kind of development. And at the time Morse was in that situation.

    Morse Meat Market has improved over the years. The foul odor of rotting meat or something- - has been fixed about 5-yrs ago. Half rotted fruits and vegtables seem to be not as often. They do have good pricing on chicken. The deli is pretty budget oriented. Alot of processed lunch meat etc. I think they are balancing their products according to how the area changes. I am hoping higher quality goods to be available. We now do most of our shopping at the farmers market, Dominicks, Whole Foods. Tired of like I said half rotted fruits. But we still shop at Morse Meat Market in a pinch for milk, and other staples to bind us over.

  • Matt M. Rogers Park Resident

    Trader Joe's would be decent, but Morse Foods is just incredible. Absolutely love that place- extremely wide selection, great bread, cheap deli with good selection. And they even have those hot rotisserie chickens for lazy nights!

  • I've still never checked out that fruit market on Clark. Good produce?

  • Jessica G. Kansan, Politics Junkie, and Aspiring Hippie.

    If you're talking about the Rogers Park Fruit Market, then yes they have great produce, and a large selection. At least that's true of the times I've been there.

  • Sandy in EdgeGlen EdgeGlen since 1987

    I'm still smarting that the anchor store of the Granville/B'way condo bldg. isn't a TJ's or even a WF, but rather a depressing Aldi. Sure, they do carry a lot of Euro imports the other chains don't, but there are some brands I trust and my family likes and don't want to sub with house labels that may be inferior. (This is especially true with cleaning and pet supplies at HF, which simply don't do the job as well--or taste as good to my cats--as the brand-name stuff at Dominicks, Target or Jewel). And since I cannot walk several blocks with a schlep-cart (or even to the far end of a parking lot or garage), it rankles me to have to leave my cart in front of the entrance while I retrieve my car to load it--back when the supermarkets wouldn't let you take a cart to your car, I got my groceries ripped off a couple of times. It's not even the 25-cent cart deposit, it's Aldi's nickel-and-dime attitude.

    Where and what's Morse Market, and how's the parking?

  • Inactive user

    MOrse Market is just west of the tracks on Morse on the north side. Decent Parking next to it. It can get tight with the spots but usually its okay. Definitely a decent grocery shop, the guy cares, it shows.

  • Sandy in EdgeGlen EdgeGlen since 1987

    Thanks, Jeff--I'll try it!

  • Inactive user

    You won't be sorry...their home made Aalsa & Gucamole are to die for, really!

  • Connie Abels THE Rogers Park Real Estate Broker

    I shop Morse market always for veggies as their produce is excellent and I feel that is is well organized. They do pack in a lot of product in a small space and the staff is very friendly and accommodating.I do buy meat there, but I prefer Devon Market for their meat. Excellent quality and prices. Their bananas are always the best price, and ...they have homemade bread. They also have liquor; a decent selection of wines and beer and fair pricing. I haven't been to Dominicks in years.

  • Jackie L Tajiri EdgeRoge Celtic Music Lover

    A lease was just signed for a Trader Joe's at 1211 Chicago Ave. in Evanston. <green with envy>

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