Written by Mr. Wonka on 04 Feb, 2003
True, true, if you're just coming to Astoria for a day trip, there wouldn't seem to be much practical use for insight into the area's grocery stores. It's not like you need to stock up on frozen pizzas and Zatarain's Beans and Rice for…Read More
True, true, if you're just coming to Astoria for a day trip, there wouldn't seem to be much practical use for insight into the area's grocery stores. It's not like you need to stock up on frozen pizzas and Zatarain's Beans and Rice for a visit to somewhere like the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, the last of its' kind in NYC.
But let's just suppose for a minute that you're out picnicking at Astoria Park, and need to grab some black corn chips and bean dip on the way out there. Or that you heard it was cool to bring along a few cold ones when your circle descended upon Socrates Sculpture Park, and wanted to find a good deal on an 18-pack. That's when you can flip a wild card on your crew, proclaiming, "Friends! I read an Igougo journal entry by Mr.Wonka about grocery shopping in Astoria! I know where to go!"
There's two grocery stores within a block of the N or W train stop at 30th Avenue (Grand Avenue). First I give you Key Food, 32-21 Newtown, (718) 728-9403. "The Key" is located about a block north of the train stop, right off of 30th Avenue. Cleaner and more spacious than its' counterpart down the street, Key Food is my first choice for groceries. Their deli staff cuts up a mean slice of cheese, the frozen vegetarian Morningstar Farms products are kept in stock, and the alcohol is kept refrigerated. There's usually some good sales to be found each week as well.
I did some time at Key Food, working as "number two in charge" in the produce section for about eight months. That's right, number two baby. While the pay wasn't the greatest, and the job somewhat degrading, I met some very bizarre people that always kept me entertained. I swear I'm going to write a movie based on some of them one day.
There's a cashier who works up front, a very quiet guy with big glasses that lend him the appearance of a Middle Eastern Encyclopedia Brown. One day his drawer comes up short, a few dollars, a few quarters, it doesn't matter, and one of the managers broaches the topic with him. "We counted your drawer, and it came up short. Why?", he questioned."Not every quarterback throws a completion on every pass attempt", he solemnly replied. True story.
A half block south of the 30th Avenue stop, Trade Fair, 30-08 30th Avenue, (718) 728-9484, takes a visible step down from the "ritzier" Key Food two blocks up the street. The aisles are almost impassable if more than two people are shopping in the same one, the store sometimes smells like musty attic and, most notably, has lines longer than day of ticket sales for a Korn concert. Hence its' nickname, "The Wait Fair".
The wait fair does have a good assortment of ready-to-make ethnic foods, and stocks a nice selection of fresh bread loaves from rosemary to sun-dried tomato for a mere $0.99. Beer prices are pretty standard, especially considering that it isn't refrigerated. Other than six-packs of Hollandia for $3.99, there usually aren't too many good deals to be found.
In the battle of 30th Avenue grocery stores, Key Food definitely wins "the heart of Astoria". Wow, I'm so proud of myself for working in a cheesy tie-in quote to end this. I didn't even plan it.