A Piece of CAKE Guide to Asheville Grocery Stores Part 1: National Chains

Sometimes it seems like Asheville is having a bit of an identity crisis. We’ve been dubbed Beer City USA, Bee City USA, and even saw a half-hearted push for Brunch City USA. But in the past year or so, our little town has felt like Grocery Store City USA.

National chains including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Publix, and Harris Teeter all recently opened their doors in Asheville, joining the existing 15 area Ingles, 3 Hopey & Company, French Broad Co-op, West Village Market, CSA’s, farmer’s markets, local butchers, and the gas station I buy my Twix at. To say we have a plethora of choices for buying our weekly groceries is an understatement.

To make things a little easier to decide, the CAKE staff rounded up their favorite grocery stores and offered up some tips on what to buy where. Keep reading to see our choices for best large chain grocery stores.

Ingles Markets

With four votes from the team, Ingles is the favored standby all-purpose grocery store. Everyone loved the convenience and wide selection of the store, including the fresh salad bar, variety of deli meats, ethnic selections, and variety of both local and international beer.

“I like Ingles because the aisles are short, wide, clean, and brightly lit, and the clerks are friendly & helpful. I’ve read that if you shop along the outer walls of a grocery you will buy healthier food. It must be true at Ingles because that’s where you will find the wine & cheese!”—Gwen Herndon

Hidden Gems at Ingles

Keep an eye out from some of our team’s Ingles favorites. Aimee and her husband chimed in saying, “They have quite a range of both local and international beers, including some of Chuck’s Belgian faves, Hoegarden and Leffe Blond. Their international food section also includes authentic gems such as sambal oelek.”

Anne adds, “The deli counter makes yummy subs with high quality Boar’s Head meats and cheeses on great multi-grain bread. A perfect grab-and-go lunch you don’t have to feel terrible about!”

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter recently enjoyed an invigorating re-opening at its new home on Merrimon Avenue. It’s a favorite for their seafood selection, coupon matching, and variety of samples. James notes, “They have the best selection of standard groceries with decent prices.”

Hidden Gems at Harris Teeter

Don’t worry about going to Harris Teeter hungry! According to James, “The samples in the fruit and bread sections are an excellent way to tide you over if you’re shopping while hungry.” Neeley added, “Harris Teeter can even double as a lunch spot with the huge amount of samples they offer. Also, they have awesome avocados.”

Whole Foods

Whole Foods is the newest in town, but crowds have been flocking through the doors since the grand opening. The CAKE staff loves the variety, freshness, and health-conscious options available. Joy says, “My seven-year-old likes the free samples and I love the date bars with coconut.”

Hidden Gems at Whole Foods

Kid’s cereal without guilt for a side dish? Sign us up! “They have a healthy Lucky Charms rip-off cereal that’s really good with only a little bit of the guilt while eating it,” according to Chad.


Though minimalist, Aldi packs a big punch for some who love their fair prices, small layout, and in-house brands. Jessica says, “I love that their prices are incredibly low, but their products are not poor quality and the variety of their inventory is improving. The Aldi brand products often have less crazy, unpronounceable ingredients & preservatives in them than the name brand version of the same product.”

A Hidden Gem at Aldi

Be sure to check out the cheese cooler. Jessica enjoys their cheap specialty cheeses, saying, “I love that I can get fresh mozzarella, some tasty havarti, or even the occasional cheese curd (I’m a Midwesterner, after all) for an incredibly fair price.”

What are your favorite Asheville grocery stores? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for our list of local grocery stores!

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