El Super, a Tucson grocery storeby Karyn Zoldan on Jul. 04, 2009, under Global / Ethnic Markets, Grocery Stores
El Super is Tucson’s newest grocery store. It reminds me of a cross between Costco and the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. I say Costco, because items were piled high to the ceiling and there definitely was a warehouse feel. As for Grand Central Market, the west side of El Super had an open air feel, even though it was enclosed.
El Super is owned by Bodega Latina, Corp. Tucson hosts the second El Super location in Arizona; the first is in Phoenix at 5127 W. Indian School Road. Fifteen El Supers dot across Los Angeles and Orange County, Calif.
El Super has the largest fresh meat display that I recall seeing in Tucson. At least five employees were behind the counter scurrying to keep up with the demand. The fresh fish display boasted several different sizes of shrimp and scallops as well as gleaming whole fish packed in ice. Toward the end of the meat counter sat a big clear display of pork chicharrones or pork rind. I’ve only seen pork rind small and crinkled like potato chips but these were abstractly-shaped, almost gnarled, and as big as my hand.
Near the meat counter was a vendor area giving out free nibbles of fresh Mexican cheese. Colorful displays of pickled peppers, guacamole, fruit salad, maraschino cherries, shrimp salads and bulk salsas of red and green caught my eye. Slabs of cotija cheese, Oaxaca cheese, and membrillo quince shared display space with many different configurations of longaniza (sausage). And for the pupusa lovers – all accoutrements from ready-made to stuff-your-own can be found here. (I see a small dinner party brewing in my head.)
The rest of the store’s aisles were what you might find in most other grocery stores except for maybe a gallon of Pepto-Bismol pink strawberry horchata and Jumex brand fruit nectars in tamarind and guanabanana flavors. In the frozen foods section between the Hot Pockets and Tropicana Orange Juice, I found a package of frozen guayaba (guava).
Walking through the store, I couldn’t help but notice the lively atmosphere punctuated by lyric-less Mexican music.
Displays of pan dulce (sweet bread) called my name as I have not seen so many choices lately. In the bakery, it was fun to watch the skillful decorators at work transforming a simple layer cake into an almost tie-dyed masterpiece of colors and flowers.
In the produce (fruitus y verduras) department, an army of piñatas were lined up on a shelf over the produce looking as though Batman, Elvis, the Lion King, and a sea of pirates and princesses were guarding the oranges, yucca root, and fat Mexican green onions.
What a super experience at 3372 S. 6th Avenue at Tucson’s Southgate Shopping Center, 300-7610. El Super is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
I’ll be back.
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