If you re in the inner SE Industrial area, visiting Rejuvenation or the various home decoration businesses, and you need to pick up some groceries for a picnic or provisions for a night in, head over to Sheridan Fruit Company. While the bulk of their business is in the wholesale produce business, the grocery store out front is still what "old" Portland is all about, at least to someone who has lived here for 40 years.
It seems like Sheridan's has really upped their game in the last few years and now manages to stock just the right mix of delicious necessities. The building is nothing special, just an old-school design of low ceilings and compact aisles housed in a footprint that doesn't require a mini-mall expanse or sturdy walking shoes to experience. Sheridan's makes do with less.
Right off the bat I'm going to tell you that this is where we now buy most of our groceries (and we seem to buy a lot of groceries). Even with a new New Seasons near us, we still cruise down to SE Grand Avenue to shop at this one-of--kind place. It is funky and it is fantastic.
Fantastic first. During the day, before you even get to the doors, the smell of the outdoor grill tickles the tastebuds...the grill is the neighborhood go-to spot for late breakfast and lunch, and there are a lot of hungry workers in the area. But inside, hang a right and there's the deli case: the offerings are all freshly made in-house and you can get a a breakfast sandwich or gourmet selection heated up right then and there for a quick nosh. Behind you is the wine section, with some real bargains on both sides for excellent quaffing at budget prices, especially the French rose.
But it's the extreme sausage program at the butchery in the back that really signifies the kind on collaborative spirit that helps keep Portland weird. Because at Sheridan's meat counter, while Leland and his team of ace butchers do indeed offer the best fresh cuts from a variety of artisanal farms and wild fisheries, it is the sheer expanse of their housemade sausage empire that simply boggles the appetite. For there are no less than 40 different varieties on display, almost all non-traditional and a few downright strange, but all made 100% with a kind of delightful
invention that is sure to disgust the salumi purists. Sheridan's obviously prides itself on its fruit and vegetable offerings, but yjhere is awhole back aisle filled with barrels of bulk grains and legumes, and shelves loaded with pantry items.
The funky? Well, how about when Portland gets a good soak and the rain drips into multiple buckets, or the strangely sloping floors that can move your cart 10 feet without you noticing. And if there is a weakness in Sheridan's program, it is the rather smallish selection of expensive cheeses.
But if you want a nice and tasty selection of reasonably-priced Oregon products, Sheridan's will please you. Chop and Olympic Provisions are represented there, and Grand Central breads, and for souvenir shopping there are local wines, elixirs, salts, chocolates, jams and all those sausages.
And Office Depot is right next door if you need to kill two errands with one trip.
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