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88 Marketplace – Huge New (Aug 2020) Chinatown Grocery Store

88 Marketplace – Huge New (Aug 2020) Chinatown Grocery Store
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  • 88 Marketplace – Huge New (Aug 2020) Chinatown Grocery Store

    Post #1 - November 17th, 2020, 6:05 pm
    Post #1 - November 17th, 2020, 6:05 pm Post #1 - November 17th, 2020, 6:05 pm
    On August 29 in another thread marothisu wrote:88 Marketplace had its grand opening yesterday - a 80,000 sq ft Chinese market that is the largest in the Midwest and might be one of the largest in the US. They have a food court there too with Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, etc food although it's unclear if that opened yet. I believe they have food from not just China here too as well as a lot of other products from all over Asia including alcohol. This is part of the new, huge 300,000 square foot Jefferson Square (aka Tianyi Square) development. Keep in mind that the average supermarket in America is around 40,000 sq ft - this is much larger.

    I wrote Chinatown in the title, but it's actually in East Pilsen, just across the river from Chinatown (heading west on Cermak, make a 90° right turn on the first street past the river and you're there). A recent visit, nearly three months after the grand opening, found the huge store not in final form, but very much worth a trip. It occupies the second floor so its vastness is not apparent from the street. This photo shows only the south end of the complex.

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    At the top of the escalator a gentleman scans your wrist temperature and welcomes you to the store. Safety precautions and customer service seem to be high priorities, unfortunately not the case with too many Chinatown markets.

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    It's difficult to convey the scale of the place. This photo was taken well into the store, past the checkout lines, past the large snack food section, past the produce. You can see a tiny bit of the large frozen food department (so many dumplings…) on the right. At the very far end, under the Chinese characters for 'meat,' you can barely make out the aquaria of the fish department.

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    Here's a closer shot of the tanks. I won't discuss the breadth of their offerings (plenty of photos on their Facebook page), but this should hint at the store's ambitions. At least a dozen live species were available, including shrimp, Dungeness crab, and some flatfish.

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    An hour was barely enough time to scratch the surface. I probably spent a full ten minutes in the vinegar section (no other Asian store in Chicago comes close). I should mention 88's focus is solidly Chinese, though some products of other countries can be found. The food court is not open and certain areas aren't yet fully stocked (for example, I didn't see any alcohol, aside from some cooking wine). But it's already a truly great store and will surely get even better.

    88 Marketplace
    2105 S Jefferson St
    Chicago IL
    312-846-6962
    https://www.facebook.com/88MarketplaceChicago/
  • Post #2 - November 17th, 2020, 8:28 pm
    Post #2 - November 17th, 2020, 8:28 pm Post #2 - November 17th, 2020, 8:28 pm
    The most important question - what about parking?
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #3 - November 17th, 2020, 8:52 pm
    Post #3 - November 17th, 2020, 8:52 pm Post #3 - November 17th, 2020, 8:52 pm
    teatpuller wrote:The most important question - what about parking?

    There's a large free lot directly across the street. When you're finished shopping, the greeter/temperature taker hooks your cart to the escalator for the trip to ground level. Once you've transferred your bags to your car, a parking lot attendant runs over to take the cart.
  • Post #4 - November 18th, 2020, 6:43 am
    Post #4 - November 18th, 2020, 6:43 am Post #4 - November 18th, 2020, 6:43 am
    Alas, a visit is not in the cards for the foreseeable future!
    -Richard

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