grocery-storecropAs a new college student, you might find the task of shopping for groceries on your own a bit daunting. If you’re living away from the supervision of your parents, you now have the freedom to buy want you really want to eat instead of discreetly hiding your not-so-healthy purchases in the back of the pantry away from disapproving eyes. Where you go to buy those items goes hand in hand with figuring out how to budget your spending. Luckily for you, the City of Fairfax has a wide selection of supermarkets from the ordinary to the upscale within 13 miles of campus.

The nearest supermarket to campus is Giant in University Mall. There you can find most of your basic meal ingredients. You won’t find Wal-Mart-priced items here, but you’ll save a couple bucks on gas if you drive or shave off a few hours commute since it’s in walking distance. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Three miles away down Braddock Road in Courthouse Plaza is Safeway. It’s a little less pricier than Giant and a farther walk (carpool anyone?), but you get quality items that won’t drain your bank account and it’s open from 5 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore the City of Fairfax, catch the Green 2 CUE bus and head down to Trader Joe’s, your “neighborhood grocery store,” located in Pickett Shopping Center on Route 236. In addition to the usual grocery suspects, shopping patrons can find organic produce and products like Organic Super Crunch Cereal and Tea Tree oil every day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you’re looking for a more conventional store, try Shoppers Food Warehouse in Fair City Mall. It’s just across the street from Trader Joe’s and offers an impressive international food aisle, as well as kosher items and colossal-sized doughnuts. Shoppers is open Monday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to midnight. If traveling by CUE, be sure to find out what time the last bus runs back to campus before leaving to avoid getting stranded.


Amity Halal Meat & Grocery
10372 Lee Hwy
Sun.-Thurs.: 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
CUE Green 2 Rt. 65
1181-A Lee Hwy
6 a.m. to 12 a.m.
10653 Braddock Rd.
6 a.m. – 12 a.m.
CUE Green 1 Rt. 106
9622 Main St
6 a.m.–12 a.m.
CUE Green 1 Rt. 108
Super H-Mart
10780 Fairfax Blvd.
703- 273-0570
8:30 a.m.–11 p.m.
Gold 2 Rt. 68-A
Trader Joe’s
9464 Main St
9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Green 1 Rt. 106
11620 Monument Dr.
6 a.m.–12 a.m.
Whole Foods*
501 Market Commons Dr.
8 a.m.-9 p.m.
10350 Willard Way
5 a.m.–12 a.m.
Sun.: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.
CUE Gold 1 Rt. 152
*Locations not accessible by CUE bus.


Bloom, a refreshing new supermarket based out of North Carolina, and specialized markets such as Amity Halal Meat & Grocery and Super H-Mart are other great options for all your grocery needs. Each store is accessible by CUE on Gold 1 and can be found down the Lee Highway/Fairfax Boulevard corridor. While Bloom is not exactly ethnic, this division of Food Lion has a lot to offer. The store was created with your shopping needs, expectations and behaviors in mind in order to give you a unique shopping experience while providing you with superior service and great prices. Bloom is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Amity Halal Meat & Grocery is a local Halal meat dealer. At Amity, the meat is prepared using Zabihah, the method of ritual slaughter according to Islamic law that says a prayer must be said before the animal is ritually slaughtered.  The store also offers Middle Eastern dish favorites from ful medames (fava beans) to za’atar (thyme & sesame spice mix). Amity Halal Meat & Grocery’s hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, they’re open between 9 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

At Super H Mart, a popular local Asian grocery, exploring and trying new things is half the fun. Vivid advertisements mingled with the addictive sounds of Asian pop music blaring from the speakers make you want to dance through the aisles while you shop between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday. While passing through the produce section, you lose count of how many new fruits and vegetables you’ve just encountered. You can have your choice of seafood ranging in freshness from dried to still kicking and if its kimchi you’re after, H-Mart has a whole kimchi bar offering samples to shoppers.

You’ll need a car to get to the next two places, but the journey will definitely be worth it. Located in its own citadel and purveying the maze of townhomes around it is Wegmans, the mammoth mother of all supermarkets. A word to the wise: it’s best to avoid shopping on an empty stomach at Wegmans. Your taste buds won’t be able to handle it. Once you’re inside, you’ll be compelled to buy every little thing you see because it all just looks so good. Wegmans has a kosher deli, sushi bar, sub shop, several self-serve carryout stations, and a patisserie where you can find every baked good imaginable, prepared fresh daily.

In addition to being able to find almost everything offered at all the other shops in the area, you can also have custom meals prepared for you at the Market Café located inside. You’ll leave the store with a feeling of satisfaction, a trunk full of groceries, and probably a lighter wallet. Like Bloom, Wegmans is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.
The last stop on your grocery adventure is Whole Foods Market, Wegmans’ closest competitor. Tucked away off of Fair Lakes Parkway in the East Market Shopping Center, Whole Foods provides an almost overwhelming amount of food options. Upon entering the store, you’re struck with quite possibly the largest produce section to ever inhabit a supermarket, featuring both locally and organic grown produce. The further in you walk, the more you find. Whole Foods has four restaurant venues, an Italian café, a wine tasting room, two salad bars, a sushi bar, an extensive baked good section featuring European breads baked fresh daily and a variety of meat and seafood options that are prepared in-house. Stop in anytime between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Try the gelato; it’s fantastic.

The next time you find your fridge to be lacking, just grab you wallet or purse and visit any of these supermarkets.  You might be surprised by what you’ll find.