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I freaking love Banana Joe’s. I discovered it when Our Man Cub was but a wee thing, and I’ve been visiting it ever since. Why? Primarily because it’s good thrift – you can get veggies on the cheap pretty much all the time. This week, for example, all the apples and pears were $1.29/lb – including the asian pears (om nom nom).

The neat thing about Banana Joe’s is the changing nature of the place. There’s a back room that was once a potato room, then for a while was the tomato room, and now is the pasta and dried fruit room. Also, in addition to the deli counter, now there’s a bakery counter with some lovely treats and whoopie pies. But it’s not just the updating I’m talking about, it’s that there’s always some changing going on there. Of course the produce changes as different things come into season (a couple years ago there were bins of lychees!), but also there’s a side parking lot that fills and empties as the seasons change – I remember seeing plants out there one spring, and I know that in autumn it will be filled with pumpkins and potted mums.

There isn’t anything terribly fancy about Banana Joe’s, but that’s really a good chunk of the charm right there. The veggies can be picked up super cheap (spring salad mix $1.99 for a box the same size as the Dole baggie in the supermarket, and it doesn’t stink of chemicals, either), and you can get cold cuts or sandwiches at the same time.* They also have a pretty good meat counter, with prepared kabobs n’ whatnot. Here and there, there are some fun treats – papaya** or the odd crate of lychees – but my favorite thing about Banana Joe’s is that I can depend on getting the staples for cheaps every week: potatoes, greens, lunchbox fruits, celery, bell peppers, the stuff we just need to make meals. Generally, nothing too fancy, good basic stuff. The stuff that a household runs on, right?

715 W Boylston St, next to the Burger King lot. They’re open seven days a week now, too –   Mon-Fri 9 am – 7 pm, Sat-Sun 9 am – 6 pm.

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March 2012