Fred Dingledy, Reference Librarian
When you're moving to a new home, one of the first things that you'll probably think about is where to buy groceries; Williamsburg has a number of stores that can serve your needs, most of them part of regional or national chains. Of course, any opinions are mine, and not those of any part of William & Mary.
Trader Joe's, located at 5224 Monticello Ave. Friendly staff and good prices on organic food, "natural food"-type items, and the usual staples - much of it private label. Good wine and non-major-US beer selection. The only major drawback is that they probably will not have everything you need - you'll likely need to shop elsewhere for some items.
Here are other grocery shopping options in Williamsburg:
These are the standard grocery store chains in the area. You might develop a preference, but out of these three, I usually choose whichever one happens to be nearby.
Farm Fresh is generally a bit nicer than the other two chains in this category, but often a bit more expensive - although its well-stocked salad bar is reasonably priced. Good beer and wine selection. Offers fuel discounts on their gas station (Merrimac Trail and Norge Lane locations) with purchases of certain items.
- 1234 Richmond Road
- 5251 John Tyler Highway
- 701-A Merrimac Trail
- 5601 Richmond Road
- Highway US-60 and Croaker Road
Most locations in the area, which is their main attraction - odds are that there's a Food Lion not too far from where you are in Williamsburg. OK, but not worth going out of your way for. Free MVP Club discount card is worth getting.
Formerly a Richmond-based chain called Ukrop's, this was bought out by the corporation that runs the Giant and Stop and Shop supermarket chains, which absorbed Ukrop's into its Martin's brand. The Ukrop's name remains on the bakery area, which has some pretty good stuff (try the king cake available around Mardi Gras), and ready-to-eat items. Offers a free discount club card, and a "fuelperks" program that can give shoppers discounts on gasoline at their gas station with purchases.
We sell groceries, too--cheap
The major discount chains are in Williamsburg, and they sell groceries, too; they may often be the cheapest in town.
Target has recently expanded the grocery offerings in their stores. Not a big selection - fresh produce is usually limited to a table or two, and most meat is going to be in the freezer section - but there's a good price on what they do have.
Walmart has two locations in the Williamsburg area: a small Neighborhood Market in the Settlers Market shopping center near New Town, and a large Supercenter off of Route 199 on Rochambeau Drive.
Of the two, I prefer the Neighborhood Market because of its smaller, more manageable size and usually-quick checkout. It works fine for everyday grocery needs, although every now and then they won't have an item or brand you'd expect to find there. Decent wine and beer selection - possibly better than the Supercenter's.
The Supercenter has a slightly larger grocery selection, and you can of course find other items there. It is, however, quite a bit larger - great for choices and for exercise, but not if you're looking to make a quick grocery stop. Checking out also tends to take quite a bit longer at the Supercenter. Bonus: Open 24 hours.
Fancier, but pricier
These stores also offer the full range of items you'd normally expect from a grocery store, but their offerings tend to be a bit higher-end, with corresponding prices.
Cost Plus World Market just opened a Williamsburg location in the summer of 2014. It won't have the full range of groceries, but if there's a foreign food or drink you've been looking for - English or Japanese candy, soda from the rest of the Americas, etc. - give them a shot. Decent wine selection, and has some foreign beers that the other local stores don't. If you join their free World Market Explorer club, you can get coupons that will take some of the sting out of the prices.
Very nice stuff, great butcher, bakery (try their king cakes around Mardi Gras too), and seafood area. Good wine and beer selection. Expensive, no discount cards - go here for stuff like meat, baked goods (they also have a very good king cake before Mardi Gras), and produce, and go elsewhere for packaged goods that will be the same no matter where you get them.
Good meat, seafood, produce, and ready-to-eat items, as well as a decent international section. Decent wine and beer selection. Prices are high, but you can get good discounts with their free VIC Card - note, however, that HT requires you to give them your drivers license number to get one, which the other stores don't. Bonus: one of the two stores on this list open 24 hours.
"The Pottery" is a collection of several different types of stores. The food store here is probably your best bet in the Williamsburg area for any type of exotic item you can't find elsewhere. Also expensive.
Williamsburg does not have many ethnic groceries, but there are some:
Latin American market.
- 113 Palace Lane, Suite P (Palace Lane is located off of Bypass Road; look for a sign pointing you to the Ascension of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, and that will be Palace Lane)
Focuses on Polish food, but also offers items from other parts of eastern Europe.
Offers Spanish products of all sorts.
Tu Tienda & Gifts
- 122 Waller Mill Road # I (located in the same shopping center as K-Mart and Peking Buffet)
Latin American market.
Going a bit further out--Richmond and Newport News
For some shopping options, you may have to travel a bit outside the immediate area.
E-Mart (a.k.a. Evergreen Mart)
Has some delicious items from the Korean bakery located next door.
South Asian Groceries
Bhavani Cash and Carry
- 12407 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News
- 4571 S. Laburnum Avenue, Richmond
- 9440 W. Broad Street, Richmond
Photo credit: rick, under CC BY 2.0 license