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Valli Produce in Evanston

Valli Produce in Evanston
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  • Post #31 - August 1st, 2015, 8:27 pm
    Post #31 - August 1st, 2015, 8:27 pm Post #31 - August 1st, 2015, 8:27 pm
    Hi- When I was in there Tuesday, they had 9 checkout lanes open, when the most they needed was 5, and maybe even less. There were cashiers that had nothing to do. If they could move some of those people to other areas such as the deli. I had to go up to the gelato counter three times before I finally got waited on. The first time there was nobody behind the counter. The second time there was one person behind the counter, but she was waiting on this woman that was buying a ton of cookies, and was asking lots of questions. After waiting for at least five minutes for her to finish, I left. Finally I went back there right before I checked out, and there were two people behind the counter, and I got waited on right away. The only other things I bought on Tuesday were some cherries, a package of pita bread, and some hot dog buns that were on sale. The Western cherries I bought were sub par compared to what I have bought at even Jewel this summer, and they are overripe right now. I was going to buy some blueberries on Tuesday because there were still $.98, but they were all from Mexico, and so I passed. Whole Foods had blueberries on sale yesterday only for $1.50, and they were supposed to be from Michigan. I was going to get two pints, but I never made it there yesterday, and so I bought two pints at the farmer's market today for $7.

    They are one of the sponsors of the Evanston Lakeshore Art Festival this weekend. I am going to try to go there tomorrow. I hope I can make it there before it starts raining. Hopefully they will have a table set up there, and I can tell them that I cannot leave any comments on their website, and maybe voice some of my concerns about the store. I hope they do okay, but so far, I have not seen tons of customers for a store that just opened up. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #32 - August 2nd, 2015, 9:00 pm
    Post #32 - August 2nd, 2015, 9:00 pm Post #32 - August 2nd, 2015, 9:00 pm
    I went yesterday close to noon.

    It reminds me a lot of the one in Arlington Heights and Fresh Farms.

    I am worried. There was practically no one there.

    Great shop if you are in the community.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #33 - August 2nd, 2015, 11:15 pm
    Post #33 - August 2nd, 2015, 11:15 pm Post #33 - August 2nd, 2015, 11:15 pm
    Hi- I have been there twice since they opened up, and they weren't very busy considering they just opened up. I think the place is trying to copy Marketplace on Oakton, and there just are not a lot of Greek and Polish people that live in the neighborhood. I think those people prefer Skokie because the rent is cheaper there. I am concerned because they bought the whole shopping center, and so they have a lot of money invested in this. Obvious they did not do enough market research to see if this was a right fit for them. I just hope they did not get in over their head. If they just leased the space like Dominick's did then they could just close up shop if it did not work out. When I looked on yelp, I saw that somebody gve them a two star review. He had an incident where two employees were just stand in the store chatting, and were blocking the lane. This customer finally had to ask them to move because they were in his way. He said they were not too happy to be disturbed.

    Did anybody go to the Evanston Lakeshore Art Festival this weekend? Valli was supposed to be one of the sponsors. I am just curious if they set up a table there. I was going to go to the art festival yesterday, and I never made it over there. About 2:30 this afternoon, it started pouring rain. It only lasted for fifteen minutes. When I did make it to the art fair, all the artists that were still there were closing up shop. One of the artists said that when it looked like it was going to start storming, the city decided to close down the art fair. He said that at least half of the artists decided to pack up for good then. He said that stuff was flying everywhere, and somebody got hit by flying debris, and the paramedics had to transport him to the ER.
  • Post #34 - August 3rd, 2015, 4:07 pm
    Post #34 - August 3rd, 2015, 4:07 pm Post #34 - August 3rd, 2015, 4:07 pm
    Hi- I just left a three star review for Valli on yelp. I said that I wanted to love the place, but that there were going to have to be some changes made in the store if they wanted to attract more customers.
  • Post #35 - August 4th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    Post #35 - August 4th, 2015, 12:31 pm Post #35 - August 4th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    Hi I dont mean to pile on, as I am giving this place a chance and did my customary major shopping trip at Valli again Sunday.

    I got the worst rotisserie chicken ever at Valli. It was a joke. I should have looked at it more closely in the store but I just shoved it in my cart and in the fridge. Opened it last night. It was totally over cooked, like 30% more time than needed. Most of the meat was stuck to the skin and fused into a crispy mass. It was also teeny tiny, like a squab or fat quail. It would qualify as "one of the worst things I have eaten" if I had actually taken more than a couple bites before I threw it away.

    I will mention this to the manager next visit since the online comments dont work. Cant wait to try the "homemade in store bratwurst" tonight!
  • Post #36 - August 4th, 2015, 7:13 pm
    Post #36 - August 4th, 2015, 7:13 pm Post #36 - August 4th, 2015, 7:13 pm
    I dont mean to pile on


    I have no problem doing that. 8) I bought a bunch of cilantro late Saturday afternoon; it was a slimy yellow and black mess by Monday. Granted, they were 4/$1.00, but c'mon, man.

    I actually prefer Cermak on Ridge in the RP, and MUCH prefer Supermercado Morelia on Western, or (of course) Marketplace on Oakton. Dammit!
  • Post #37 - August 4th, 2015, 9:25 pm
    Post #37 - August 4th, 2015, 9:25 pm Post #37 - August 4th, 2015, 9:25 pm
    I read about a week ago that the USDA has blocked imports of cilantro from Puebla, Mexico, out of sanitation concerns. A day or two later, I saw nothing but sad-looking, overpriced cilantro at the store, don't know from where. Today I got some fresh and good-looking Californian cilantro at Mariano's. I wonder if stores nationwide faced a temporary cilantro supply shortage this past week and had to scramble for other sources.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #38 - August 4th, 2015, 11:31 pm
    Post #38 - August 4th, 2015, 11:31 pm Post #38 - August 4th, 2015, 11:31 pm
    Hi- I went to Valli again today, and it seemed like they were busier than they were a week ago. This time they only had 7 registers open, although it was still too many, and they could have gotten by with four. I bought a gallon of milk, and I usually buy 1%, but all the 1% milk was going to expire in four days, and so I got a gallon of skin along with some fresh ginger, three loafs of bread on sale 3/$5, and some cheese. When I got to checkout the cashier told me that the skim milk was not on sale and she showed me the sale ad, and I informed her that the ad says it is. I went to Jewel first, and their fresh ginger was $3.99 a pound, and Valli's was only $.99. Next Tuesday the Evanston Valli's store is going to have a 10% off day for Seniors. It is mentioned in their ad that starts tomorrow

    I looked at the rotisserie chicken, which they sell for $5.99, and most of the chickens did look way overcooked. The Jarlberg Lite Swiss cheese that I bought had been packaged on July 27th, which was eight days ago, and they all had the same date.
    BTW- When I was in WF on Sunday their cut watermelon was $.89 a pound, although I think they had whole watermelons for $4.99.
  • Post #39 - August 23rd, 2015, 1:55 pm
    Post #39 - August 23rd, 2015, 1:55 pm Post #39 - August 23rd, 2015, 1:55 pm
    Hi- I am sorry that I did not get this posted sooner. Valli's has their grand opening at their Evanston store this weekend. I was there for a short time yesterday, and they were giving out lots of free samples, including their Italian sausage and Vienna hot dogs. You got a free Vienna hot dog including the bun, and your choice of condiments. The guy in front of me asked for ketchup on his hot dog though, and of course they said they did not have ketchup. The guy who obviously did not grow up around here, said he forgot it is a Chicago thing about ketchup. They were the busiest that I have ever seen them. They weren't crazy busy, but they had all the checkout lanes open, and all the cashiers were actually busy for a change. I just had one customer in front of me while I was waiting in line. They also were giving out samples of some sort of frozen pizza near the frozen section too, but I was in a hurry, and I did not try that. I did try the gelato they were sampling, and it was not bad. I thought the Italian sausage was okay. It was not great but it was passable. They had some other free samples outside the store besides the sausage and hot dogs, but the lasagna they were out of plates, and all they had to put it on was napkins and no forks. I passed on that. The grand opening is going on until 4:00pm this afternoon. The only things I bought yesterday were a gallon of milk, four packages of Dutch Farms shredded cheese and some green bananas. The cheese was $.98 an eight ounce package and the bananas were $.29 a pound and the milk was $1.98 a gallon. They had some Michigan prune plums on sale, but they were too green for me. I saw people there spending a lot more money than I did though. I only spend $6.50. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #40 - September 5th, 2015, 1:25 am
    Post #40 - September 5th, 2015, 1:25 am Post #40 - September 5th, 2015, 1:25 am
    Hi- I was in Valli again tonight to pick up some milk, and while I was there I spotted some bagels for $.99 a package in the refrigerated case, and I ended up getting two packages of those. They have pomegranates on sale for a dime this week. I took a look at them, and they were by far the smallest pomegranates I have ever seen. They had three registers open when all they probably needed was one or two. None of the cashiers were busy. The line I went in, there were three different employees holding a conversation. One of them finally turned around and rung me up. It looks like they still have too many employees working at each shift. Other than the pomegranates, I did not even look at any of the produce. I went home to Michigan for a class reunion last weekend, and I still have lots of Chenango strawberry apples that my sister gave me, and some of her peaches. Chenango's are my favorite all time apple, but they are hard to come by. Nichols grow them, but they only have three trees. My Sister is by far the largest Chenango grower in the country, and so I only get them when I go home the end of August or the beginning of September. For anybody that is going to be in SW Michigan this weekend, my Sister should still have lots of Chenango's at her fruit stand at the Coloma exit, and she still has upick peaches. Last weekend she had three different varieties of peaches. All three varieties she bred herself. I might make a peach cobbler this weekend. I am going to make some salsa too. I picked tons of tomatoes in my garden tonight
  • Post #41 - September 19th, 2015, 10:32 pm
    Post #41 - September 19th, 2015, 10:32 pm Post #41 - September 19th, 2015, 10:32 pm
    Hi- I stopped in at Valli tonight because I realized that my bulghur had expired two years ago, and Whole Foods did not have medium grade bulghur to make tabbouleh salad. I also got a bunch of green onions, a jalapeno, and a bunch of parsley that was subpar, I forgot to get those at the farmer's market. The cashiier had to ask what the parsley was, and I told her it was a sorry bunch of parsley that I only got because I forgot to pick up a bunch at the farmer's market. She was surprised that the farmer's market was still open. They had three lanes open at 8:00 tonight, and they probably could have gotten away with one. BTW- I took a look at their walnuts in the bulk food section, and the walnut pieces are $9.99 a pound which is not a deal, but their whole walnuts are $4.99 a pound, which is a good deal. If I find a good deal on fresh basil, I am going to try to make some pesto.
  • Post #42 - October 3rd, 2015, 8:35 pm
    Post #42 - October 3rd, 2015, 8:35 pm Post #42 - October 3rd, 2015, 8:35 pm
    Hi- The jalapeno pepper that I bought at Valli's to make a batch of salsa was a big disappointment. I added tons of jalapeno to the salsa, and you could hardly taste it. It was from Mexico too, and I try to avoid Mexican produce. I ended up buying some jalapeno at the Evanston farmer's market the following week, and there was no comparison. That batch of salsa definitely had a lot more kick to it. I just bought some more jalapeno and tomatoes at the farmer's market today,and will make another batch of salsa in a day or two. I like homemade salsa a lot better than the jarred stuff. I only make it though when I can get decent homegrown tomatoes.
  • Post #43 - October 6th, 2015, 2:17 pm
    Post #43 - October 6th, 2015, 2:17 pm Post #43 - October 6th, 2015, 2:17 pm
    Hi- All the Valli stores have a one day meat and seafood sale this Friday 10/ 9. They also have some other stuff on sale on that day only such as Quaker oatmeal and milk. Has anybody purchased their meat or seafood? Is it any good? They have chicken drumsticks on sale for $.38 a pound, and there are quite a few good deals on beef. Hope this helps. Nancy
  • Post #44 - October 9th, 2015, 8:01 pm
    Post #44 - October 9th, 2015, 8:01 pm Post #44 - October 9th, 2015, 8:01 pm
    Hi- I was at the Valli one day sale, which is still going on until 10:00 tonight, and the store was the busiest I have seen since they opened in July. All 12 of the registers were open and in use. It was not crazy busy like it was for Dominick's going out of business sale, but it was definitely busy. They have some really good sales. They have a five pound bag of chicken drumsticks on sale for $1.90. They also have Goya canned beans on sale for $.68 a can. Cook's Illustrated highly recommends this brand of beans. The sale item that was the biggest draw was the 40 ounce container of Quaker oatmeal for $1.68. I got two containers of it because one of them had a $1 off 2 packages coupon. Shortly after I put them in my cart, they ran out of oatmeal, and there were no rainchecks issued. When I was getting ready to check out, I decided to look at the sale flyer one more time to see if I missed anything. I left my cart for five minutes, and when I came back my oatmeal was gone. I checked the shelves to see if they had restocked the shelves, and of course they had not. That was the thing I wanted the most. I did get five packages of shredded cheese which were $.98 each, and three packages of bagels which were $.68 each, and I got some milk and some pop that was on sale. I was tempted to get some cans of Healthy Choice soup, which were on sale for $.68, but I decided that I had enough food at home to eat. There are definitely deals to be had, but I am sure that they are probably out of a few other deals. It unfortunately does not surprise me about the oatmeal disappearing from my cart. When Dominick's had their going out of business sale, other customers were pulling crap like that and worse. I think there were a few arguments over who got the last of a particular deal. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #45 - October 12th, 2015, 9:59 am
    Post #45 - October 12th, 2015, 9:59 am Post #45 - October 12th, 2015, 9:59 am
    I'm giving up on this store. Ive given it a bunch of chances but it has disappointed me at every turn. It smells horrible, the staff is very amateurish and their most of their huge space is devoted to food that has no appeal for me like odd ethnic specialties and junk food. The final straw was when i was browsing the beef section of the packaged meats and I noticed quite a bit of beef labeled "utility grade". I cant believe that a store is offering this grade of beef for sale to the public. I have never seen this grade of beef in a grocery store. Utility is like for dog food. Disgusting. Im done with Valli Foods.
  • Post #46 - October 12th, 2015, 3:41 pm
    Post #46 - October 12th, 2015, 3:41 pm Post #46 - October 12th, 2015, 3:41 pm
    Hi- It seems like they don't have as much help sitting around and doing nothing. When they first opened the store they had 10 registers open, when all they really needed was maybe 4 at the most. They then knocked it down to 7 registers, and then when I was there a few weeks ago, they only had three registers open. It seems like they are doing a little more business than they did when they first opened too. On Friday when they had their one day sale, they had all 12 registers open, and the cashiers were busy the whole time they were at work. My cashier told me that he had never seen it anywhere near that busy before. When I told him about somebody helping themselves to the two boxes of oatmeal in my cart, he could not believe that somebody would do that. He then told me I could get a raincheck, and I told him that in the ad it said no rainchecks would be issued for anything on the one day sale. I saw lots of people purchasing meat and seafood there, and until they ran out everybody was buying the Quaker oatmeal. They also had Nestle drumsticks for I believe $1.69, and they were out of those when I got there. Concerning the ethnic items, while I was at the store Friday, I noticed that there were tons of ethnic people there including Middle Eastern and Asian. Those people can go to Argyle, and get a lot of that stuff cheaper though, and so I don't know how much of it they sell. I bought some tahini and fine grain bulghar there recently to make a batch of Tabouli salad for the picnic.

    I did not buy any meat or seafood there Friday, because I was concerned about how good it was, but I saw a lot of people buying it. The only meat I would have bought would have been the chicken drumsticks anyway, and you had to purchase five pounds of it. I will still go there, but I am really selective about what I buy there. I bought some shredded cheese that they had on sale for $.98 a package, and some bagels that they had for $.68 a bag and some milk.
  • Post #47 - October 14th, 2015, 11:34 am
    Post #47 - October 14th, 2015, 11:34 am Post #47 - October 14th, 2015, 11:34 am
    Again, I dont mean to pile on, but the sale of "utility" grade beef in a local grocery really infuriates me. I looked up the USDA grade hierarchy because I am only familiar with the top three grades.

    In order of quality it is Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Canner and Cutter. The modern farmer website below recommends that you not consume utility, canner or cutter graded beef. Valli was selling "steaks" that were utility. Lord knows what is in their ground beef, it isnt labeled.

    http://modernfarmer.com/2013/10/demysti ... at-grades/
  • Post #48 - August 3rd, 2017, 8:31 pm
    Post #48 - August 3rd, 2017, 8:31 pm Post #48 - August 3rd, 2017, 8:31 pm
    Hi- Nobody has posted on this store in ages. It seems like since Dollar Tree and Goodwill moved in the shopping center, Valli's has been busier. I don't go there a whole lot. Their produce is sub par. The last time I was in there a few weeks ago, they were having a one day sale, and they had chicken drumsticks on sale for $.29 a pound in five pound packages. I saw a lot of people buying these, but are they any good? They just sound too cheap to be any good. While I was in there they had Western cherries on sale for $.88 a pound, and so I bought some, and they weren't very good. The ones I bought at Whole Foods for $2.98 a pound were a lot better. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #49 - August 3rd, 2017, 11:34 pm
    Post #49 - August 3rd, 2017, 11:34 pm Post #49 - August 3rd, 2017, 11:34 pm
    Don't know specifically about this place, but I have learned my lesson about suspiciously low-priced chicken drumsticks. No fun for anyone trying to eat them when the bones are broken.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #50 - August 4th, 2017, 9:55 am
    Post #50 - August 4th, 2017, 9:55 am Post #50 - August 4th, 2017, 9:55 am
    I was one of the original posters and haters of this place right when it opened.

    Ive been going a little more often lately because I feel they have made several improvements of things that bugged me originally (and I hate Jewel). Im still in withdrawl, missing "my" Whole Foods on Greeneaf and Chicago Avenue!

    Valli's beer selection has been really upgraded and now includes Evanston breweries Sketchbook and Temperance and other local brands like half acre, revolution, three floyds and alot more regional and national good beers.

    Their meat selection is much better, still with the offal and weird cuts, but now featuring fresh turkey breasts, big meaty short ribs, pork shoulders, thick cut chops and some organic/free range beef options, as well as a crazy display of dry aged beef and tomahawk steaks (who buys these?). Valli has become my go to place for BBQ and slow cooker meats.

    They figured out how to cook rotisserie chicken and I havent had a badly burned one in a long time.

    They have alot more checkout staff and getting through the lines is really quick.

    On the negative side, the store can sometimes smell terrible, like rotting fish and food. Also the meat dept guys still pretty much dont speak English. They still have aisles and aisles of weird euro cookies and stuff that seems like a waste of space. The produce is also still hit or miss.
  • Post #51 - August 4th, 2017, 10:01 am
    Post #51 - August 4th, 2017, 10:01 am Post #51 - August 4th, 2017, 10:01 am
    One more thing forgot to mention: they dont seem to have any "utility" grade meats anymore and now actually have alot of prime and choice grade.
  • Post #52 - August 4th, 2017, 5:24 pm
    Post #52 - August 4th, 2017, 5:24 pm Post #52 - August 4th, 2017, 5:24 pm
    Champs you don't like to go to the WF in downtown Evanston? I know a lot of people including me hate their parking lot, but if you go there after 9:00pm or anytime on Sunday you can park in the parking lot next to the library, and it only takes me 15 minutes to walk there, and so that is what I usually do. I occasionally shop at the Green Bay store too, but only if I am driving right by it. WF has wonderful rotisserie chicken too. Their chicken is even better than Mariano's, and if you buy it on Tuesdays you can get it for $7. Right now they have a thai curry rotisserie chicken that I love.

    I noticed that Valli has free range chicken, but I can get it cheaper at WF. They just had b/s chicken breasts on sale for $4.99 a pound. A lot of the free range chicken that is sold at Jewel and other stores really isn't.

    I don't love Jewel, but I like it better than Valli, and when the farmer's market is open, I spend the great majority of my money there. Plus I have a garden across from the ecology center where I have lots of kale and green onions, and a few cherry tomatoes. In another week I should have lots of tomatoes. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #53 - August 30th, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Post #53 - August 30th, 2017, 12:30 pm Post #53 - August 30th, 2017, 12:30 pm
    We shop Valli for their produce, for which their quality and pricing have both vastly improved since they opened. Produce prices are consistently better than Whole Foods (even after the Amazon reductions) or the farmer's market. So is the $5.99 price of their rotisserie chicken, which was okay when we got one a couple weeks ago. We also get milk there, since it's almost always on sale for a good price.
    Last edited by nsxtasy on August 31st, 2017, 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #54 - August 30th, 2017, 1:36 pm
    Post #54 - August 30th, 2017, 1:36 pm Post #54 - August 30th, 2017, 1:36 pm
    Nancy, I have been going to the downtown Whole Foods a little more now that I can bike there. I also hate their parking lot!
  • Post #55 - September 4th, 2017, 12:49 pm
    Post #55 - September 4th, 2017, 12:49 pm Post #55 - September 4th, 2017, 12:49 pm
    I have a big beef with Valli because they don't carry very much local produce, although neither does WF. When I was in WF yesterday, they had corn from Florida. Other than apples and maybe blueberries, Valli does not carry very much local produce, because they can get produce from Mexico or even California a lot cheaper. When they opened up I asked them if they were going to carry more local produce, and I got a lukewarm answer. The peaches I get at the farmer's market are usually much better than what I can get at Valli, although the glowing star peaches I got from Jon First are not the best. Some of his peaches have been good in previous weeks though. I sampled some of Koeningshof's peaches Saturday though, and they were wonderful. They were $7 though, and First's were only $4 a quart.

    People are looking for deals at Valli, and they are not going to pay the going rate for Michigan peaches right now. My Sister is getting $1.29 a pound for upick peaches right now, and she has tons of customers at both her fruit stand and upick right now. She is getting $31 for a half bushel of peaches at her fruit stand, and $28 wholesale, but she is hardly wholesaling any she told me two weeks ago.

    There is produce I can't get at Valli either, like heirloom tomatoes, tropical melons, and green soybeans. I usually don't buy milk at Valli, because they usually only put 2% on sale, and I drink 1%. I used to get most of my milk at CVS, but they hardly put Dean's on sale anymore, and so I end up getting it at Aldi's if I am in the neighborhood, or Jewel where it is $2.69 all the time, and frequently $1.99.

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