Again Groupon led us down paths previously untraveled, this time having spent $20 for a $50 Groupon to use at Chevy Chase Supermarket (8531 Connecticut). We were expecting fabulous variety and quality at typically jacked up West County prices, and planned to carefully case the store to make our $30 in “freebies” stretch as far as possible. I also wanted to like the place because they have been family owned and operated for more than fifty years — I think that was co-owner Kevin Kirsch waving goodbye to us as we left — and they remain thoroughly invested in their community, which I love.
The prices weren’t as bad as feared, but the quality also wasn’t as good as hoped. Someone had told us the cheese selection was amazing, but it wasn’t any different from Giant, not even close to a Whole Foods/Wegman’s style cheese-o-rama. The small deli looked decent — we bought a loaf of challah bread that resulted in outstanding French toast — and the meats looked good, we were happy with the delmonico steaks we bought and grilled, but they weren’t cheap. Produce was uneven: cucumbers, for example, were big and fresh and reasonably priced, but limes (I bet you thought I’d never get there) were brown and sad-looking and yet two for $1.
Mrs. Me toured the wine section and found no bargains. CCS also has a strange layout, with household goods piled high in your face when you walk in and aisles spreading across the store instead of front-to-back; you have to maneuver past the diapers and paper towels to get to the food, and produce is segregated in a back corner while frozen foods are in the middle of the store. The store design dates to 1964 and an interesting note on their website explains some of it; of course it doesn’t really matter, so who can blame them for not updating, but it certainly seems less…fresh, or something, than modern supermarkets.
Anyway, even if CCS were fabulous, it is much less convenient for us than H Mart or Giant (or, maybe someday, a new Wheaton Safeway, perish the thought), so it wouldn’t likely enter our regular rotation. I wish them well, what with the local family ownership and whatnot. They’ve survived this long so they must be doing some things right. But I wonder if it would be worth their while to find a way, without totally remodeling, to give the store a bit more sparkle. Disco balls? Live octopus? Making sure brown wizened limes aren’t left in the bins would be an easy start.