I recently interviewed Bob Mariano, owner of Mariano’s Fresh Market, for my article in Today’s Chicago Woman. I’m still not entirely sure how Mariano’s is able to offer high quality produce, food and drink, all with extraordinary customer service and such affordable prices, while still making some type of profit. I swear, every time I go to Whole Foods I spend at least $100, and every time I leave Mariano’s I’ve managed to ring up a tab around $30.
The new Mariano’s in Greek Town is truly like paradise to me, and I feel lucky to live nearby. It’s arguable the “best” Mariano’s, as Bob explained that they don’t follow a cookie cutter model, but try to make each new store better than the last. Sounds great, right?
I have a tendency to repeat myself when I get excited about something, and I’ve been asked a lot, “why do you love Mariano’s so much”? Here is my official answer:
Oyster bar: Pick your poison – oysters, crab legs, shrimp cocktail, all with house-made cocktail sauce.
Sushi bar: Sit at the bar or take it to go, at $7.50 per roll, it’s one of the best deals in town.
Cheese: Think twice as large as the cheese counter at the Whole Foods in Lincoln Park – and, they are always sampling.
Booze: A phenomenal wine and liquor selection, and the pretty glass display that stares at me on my way out is brilliant.
Fresh flowers: My sister swears that they stay fresh for a solid week.
Pre-made dishes: From their salad bar, pizza station or fried chicken (featured in Time Out Chicago’s Top 100 things we ate and drank this year), to their salad and soup bar (they make all of their soups from scratch), I’m a happy camper.
Coffee bar: Their café downstairs features Vero coffee and I couldn’t believe when I was rung up for a latte, hot chocolate and hot tea for whopping $7 total.
Juice: Freshly squeezed orange, grapefruit, carrot, beet and more, in sizes large and small. Perfect for a pick-me-up.
One stop shop: I don’t have to make a special trip somewhere else to get things like deodorant and Kleenex. Living in the city, this is key.