Big-name supermarkets usually have plenty of variety when it comes to cereal, chips, bread and ice cream. But they sometimes lack that personal touch you’d find at smaller stores, and they often lack specialty items like vegan and vegetarian options, international ingredients, and hard-to-find cuts of meat and seafood. The good news is that when it comes to Houston grocery stores, you’re not limited to the large supermarkets. You’ll find mom-and-pop markets, upscale regional chains, and specialty shops all within a quick drive of each other. Here are three markets to try if you want to expand past the big chain supermarket experience.
Central Market is an upscale, Texas-based chain that offers anything and everything: produce, meat, cheese, seafood, wine, beer, even flowers and prepared food. As its website says, “Central Market is a wonderland for people who are really into food.” Down every aisle, you’re likely to be pleased (and maybe even surprised) by the high-quality products that are sourced from around the globe. Of particular note is Central Market’s cheese department, which features many imported varieties that you might have never even heard of before. Staffers at each Central Market also make their own mozzarella daily, which is something you won’t find at most other markets.
Herbert’s Specialty Meats
At Herbert’s Specialty Meats, expect authentic, straight-up Cajun cuisine. As one Yelper said, this isn’t a Cajun-style place, it’s the real deal, with credentials to back it up — Herbert’s was opened in Southern Louisiana in 1984 and has been expanding ever since. While you can find the usual cuts like filet and ribeye, the order-ahead meals like deboned chicken and deboned turkey are what shine here. You can even get turducken at Herbert’s. Other options include
andouille, etoufee and crawfish pie as well as seasonings, marinades and stuffings. Herbert’s Specialty Meats has a prepared foods section, too, so keep it in mind on the nights when you don’t feel like cooking. If you have someone in your life who can’t get good Cajun food, you’re in luck, because Herbert’s ships anywhere in the U.S.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Nothing Bundt Cakes launched in Las Vegas in the late ‘90s and now has locations nationwide, including Houston. This specialty bakery specializes in Bundt cakes of all sizes, ranging from bite-sized to tiered. Each Nothing Bundt Cakes location uses only pure ingredients, like fresh eggs, real butter and real cream cheese, and the quality comes through in the taste. You can choose a larger cake that serves from eight to 30 people, or opt for an adorable smaller variety. Bundtlets are single-serving cakes sold by the dozen, and Bundtinis are bite-sized cakes also sold by the dozen. There are nine flavors to choose from: red velvet, chocolate chocolate chip, lemon, marble cake, pecan praline, carrot, white chocolate chocolate, cinnamon swirl and white chocolate raspberry. Keep Nothing Bundt Cakes in mind if you ever need a special occasion cake, too — you’ll be delighted by the variety, which include the Cute as a Bundt-on baby shower cake and the Cele-Bundting With You birthday cake.