Fresh meat

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Two new The Fresh Market grocery stores opened in the Sacramento area in September (at 2339 Fair Oaks Boulevard and 7707 Laguna Boulevard, Suite 140 in Elk Grove), joining a Roseville location that opened in October 2012 (2030 Douglas Boulevard). And they're pretty nice. It's unclear to me what makes for a particularly great grocery store (I'm always picky no matter what), but there's certainly a variety of produce, beer, wine, meat, seafood, dried goods and frozen stuff here—basically everything a human needs to survive. But with its inclusion of a salad bar, olive bar, local goods, small-brand juice drinks and local beer, it kind of reminded me of a cross between Whole Foods Market, Nugget Market and Trader Joe's—with prices to match its upscale competitors. Plus, here are some of the stores' impressive stats, from a recent press release: The new stores are between 21,000 and 24,000 square feet each, produce 14 varieties of pie per day, and carry more than 200 types of cheeses. Not a bad first impression.