retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

As I've often said here, I have a good life. I get to travel, meet really interesting people, and eat good food and drink terrific beer and wine.

Some of it is planned. Like when I visit cities with Major League Baseball teams.

Some of it is lucky. Like the day earlier this week when I went into a Schnucks store in Des Peres, Missouri.

Now, Schnucks operates some stores that are as good as any of those in the US food retail business. And this one was best in class - I especially loved the beautifully merchandised and extensive wine selection.

But what really grabbed my attention was, just inside the front door, a circular grill that was packed with people ordering dinner, drinking beer and wine, and turning the department into a kind of community center. It was clear from listening to the conversation that congregating at Schnucks is a frequent occurrence ... which is the best kind of news for a retailer.

Here's the great thing. The food was outstanding.

Brandon was the cook working the counter, and he made a Creole BBQ Shrimp Pasta that was so good and spicy that it brought tears to my eyes. Literally. And I topped it off with a glass of 2013 Martin Codax Albarino, which is one of my go-to wines, and perfect with this dish.

And the Eye-Opening thing to me was that this was not the lowest-common denominator food that often is served in US supermarkets. It was delicious ... and if I lived in the St. Louis market, I'd definitely go back for more. That's the best a supermarket can do.

Kudos to Schnucks. Kudos to Brandon. And next time you're in the area, go check out the Des Peres Schnucks. Ask for Brandon. Order the Creole BBQ Shrimp Pasta. Thank me later.

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