Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Trader Joe’s – 4/5 Stars

Trader Joe’s
$$ Grocery
1600 N Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Trader Joe’s used to be my favorite grocery store until about 2013 when TJ refused to open up a location in Downtown LA. They had such a major chance to be THE grocery store in those parts. And after that moment in time – something struck a very painful chord that I couldn’t ever rely on Trader Joe’s being there for me again. It’s like seeing my old favorite market slowly disintegrating with the tides of time. It is probably too inexpensive and a bit too mediocre for the next gilded wave of gentrification in Los Angeles, and will soon be systematically replaced by Whole Foods or Sprouts or – barf – Lassen’s. It is also like seeing something you loved but took advantage of over the last decade wither away that there is anxiety now attached with it. This grocery chain is languishing, not expanding, and has closed its next closest store in West Hollywood.

Their prepackaged foods, desserts, and other goodies that I have come to love about this place probably don’t match up with Equinox opening up across the street here. But even if their yummy and inexpensive vegan trail mix cookies, falafel wraps, chia strawberry smoothies are a throwback to the good ol’ 2000s, they are still three of my favorite things.

The people are so friendly too – that it reminds me of how anti-social I am. Whenever I come to Trader Joe’s, I always wear a jacket or a very plain shirt because cashiers at Trader Joe’s always start conversations about my shirts. I don’t want to know about your sister attending OTIS next spring. Or on the flip side, that OTIS – as in the elevator company – is props-worthy. I don’t care that you know of someone who’s been to Puerto Rico or ‘scored’ a Jimmy Kimmel t-shirt too. (I found mine at Goodwill.) It reminds me of how having a lot of tattoos helps with hooking up with people. Whenever I hook up with someone, they usually start with a tattoo, stroke the skin, and start a conversation about my bird, or guillotine, or whale. But it’s at the checkout stand and I don’t want to come, I want to go!

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