Trader Joe's in Winter Park
Ah, Trader Joe's. Welcome. Orlando has been waiting for you.
Like the rest of Central Florida, I was eagerly awaiting the opening of the New Trader Joe's in Winter Park. For the last few months, as construction progressed, I was giddy with excitement every time I drove by, knowing that Trader Joe's was coming. Because, unlike many Trader Joe's devotees, I am not willing to drive out to Gainesville for a grocery store, so the opening announced the first official Trader Joe's that I'd have regular access to during daily life.
I knew it would be mobbed opening weekend. I hear that 3 buck chuck was cleared and had to be restocked a mere 20 minutes after opening on Friday.
So I waited. Each time I was near, driving by to check if the crowds were still out in droves. They were. they always were.
And I got tired of waiting.
So I got in the car, braved the crowds, and went shopping at the new Trader Joe's.
I'm not gonna lie, it was crowded and shopping was both frustrating and stressful, but I was so glad I went.
Trader Joe's are known to be small, but I have to say, I was quite pleased with the size. While the footprint was nowhere near the size of Publix or Whole Foods, it was larger than other Trader Joe's locations I've been to. The produce looked good (and that's usually the weakest part of Trader Joe's shopping experience) and I saw all the classic Trader Joe's brands that people rave over, from cookies and pastries, to olive oil and wine, not only was Trader Joe's well stocked, but the staff was working furiously at keeping up with the demand of the crowds, all with a cheery attitude and light-hearted demeanor that almost made up for the nightmare of the parking lot. The poor team member who was stocking wine was in a non-stop cycle of bringing cases from the back, opening them, then starting again as people grabbed 1 bottle, or 2, or an entire case, or multiple cases. Seriously. Call it peer pressure, but I even bought a handful of bottles to take home and taste test just to see what all the fuss is about.
I grabbed a handful of groceries, some corn, some pasta, the aforementioned wine. But what was my Trader Joe's weakness? What signature product am I a devotee? The greek yogurt guacamole.
The instant I got home, battle weary and worn out from the crowds, I rewarded myself by dipping into the Trader Joe's product that hooked me in the first place. It's unbelievably light for guacamole, but intensely flavored with chunks of avocado, great lime punch and not-too-spicy jalapeño kick. The stuff is great, and by itself makes the shopping trip today worth it.
Good thing I got my fix too, because I'm assuming it will be a few weeks before the hubbub dies down enough to be able to pop in and do regular shopping. But Trader Joe's is a welcome addition to the Orlando grocery scene. I'll be a regular customer, and am looking forward to trying more of their products. So if you've got products you love and want to recommend, please let me know. There are so many to choose from, I need help making priorities. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to stuff my face with guacamole.
131 N. Orlando Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: Trader Joe's is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm.