When the cupboard is bare, where does a student go to fill it? Go Grocer, in the middle of the line of stores under Fordham Hall on Sheridan Road, offers organic food, beer, wine and liquor — but at a steep cost.
Giant stickers on the windows promise “Organic, Local, Fresh, Natural.” Walk inside, and you’re greeted by rows of Go Grocer-labeled bottled water, which daytime manager Cody McCarty says are very popular among Loyola students and staff.
If you’re looking for lunch, the pre-made food offerings are the next thing you’ll encounter. Options include a ham and Gouda slider for $3.59.
You can wash it down with a bottle of lime ginger lemon agave drink for $7.99, or something called Culture Cola for $2.99.
If you are just coming to buy the staples, such as milk and eggs, Go Grocer offers a $7.69 gallon of organic milk and a $3.79 regular gallon. A carton of organic eggs is $6.49, while non-organic eggs are $2.99.
The produce shelves offer a variety of vegetables such as kale, chard and spinach for $4 per plastic box. Much of it is grown in urban farms in Illinois and many items are certified United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic.
Even a classic budget item such as ramen ($1.19 per individual packet) is more expensive at Go Grocer .
On the other hand, Go Grocer offers 19 different kinds of mustard, twenty-something different types of hot sauce, and yogurt-covered goji berries.
But not every calorie of a college-budget diet comes from food. Go Grocer’s extensive alcohol selection includes shelves of craft, domestic and imported beer, bottles of liquor and a variety of wines.
Here, the prices are more agreeable. Tisdale wine sells for $2.99 per bottle and a 30-pack of PBR costs $16.99.
The selection of craft beers is diverse, including the popular Oberon ($12.99/six pack) and Brooklyn Summer Ale ($10.99/six pack). Bruno’s, however, sells Oberon for $2 less than Go Grocer.
It bears mentioning that the floors are spotless and the staff is very friendly, as well as fairly knowledgeable about beer and wine choices.
McCarty says that for its opening week, the store is doing very well with both students and non-Loyola locals.
“The spicy Gouda cheese is flying off the shelves … people are buying a lot of champagne, maybe for early celebrations with graduation coming up,” said Cody.
The final item ones sees as one walks to the register is an individual, “barrel-aged” bottle of beer for $10.99.
“Sometimes it makes sense to spend a little more money to get the quality you’re looking to get out of it,” said store owner and Loyola alum Gregory Stellatos, 32.
He and his brother, Paul, another Loyola alum, have opened four locations in Wicker Park, Lakeview, South Loop and Logan Square.
“We’re a neighborhood grocery. I’m sure everyone who attends Loyola University understands the numbers game. We have four stores, and these big box stores can charge less. It’s a volume game,” said Stellatos.