Best and worst grocery stores for Point Park students

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor Elect

It’s no secret that finding groceries Downtown can be difficult, especially for Point Park students who don’t have access to easy transportation. There’s also some places that can seem like a much better idea than they are, so today I’m going to go over the best and the worst spots for groceries.

Best: Market District in Shadyside
Few things are so inherently intertwined with the area of Western Pennsylvania as Giant Eagle, and Market District is just a Giant Eagle but with better options. Price wise, it’s relatively affordable, especially compared to locations Downtown. The biggest issue is getting there, but taking bus 71A or 71C from Fifth Avenue and Ross Street will get you there in a little over a half an hour. A big bonus to grocery shopping at the Market District in Shadyside: it’s right next to a Panera.

Worst: Dollar General X
Dollar General is a company that has been involved in some controversy in recent years. They’ve been accused of manipulating small towns by lowering their prices enough to put grocery stores out of business and then raising their prices back up once competition goes out of business. The difference is Dollar General doesn’t offer many things a grocery store offers, for example a deli. DGX is Dollar General’s urban variant, a small grocery store right smack in Downtown. Unfortunately, they have little more to offer than a drugstore like Rite Aid or CVS, so while they may seem like an easily accessible location for groceries, they really aren’t. If you’re in a pinch, this might be worth stopping by, but otherwise, avoid it.

Best: East Liberty Trader Joe’s
As far as grocery stores for college students, this is one of the best ones in the area. Trader Joe’s is affordable, has easy-to-make but great pre-packaged meals, and offers a variety. The only potential downside is that they offer almost entirely self-branded items, so if you’ve got a craving for a big brand snack like Oreos, you’ll have to go somewhere else. Getting there is relatively similar to the Market District in Shadyside, take either bus 71C or 77 or use one of the Point Park shuttles.

Worst: Market Square CVS
This isn’t even a grocery store, but that Market Square CVS is undoubtedly a monolith of Point Park University’s culture. Who among us hasn’t gone there for… literally everything? It’s easily accessible, which is a pro, but the pros stop there. It’s overpriced and offers very little variety, and while they have plenty of snacks, they don’t really have many options for meals aside from pasta (and for some reason they always seem to be sold out of pasta sauce).

Best: East Liberty Whole Foods
Remember when I said that if you wanted a branded snack like Oreos and you went to Trader Joe’s you’d have to go someplace else? Fortunately, this Whole Foods is the someplace else, as it is located just a short walk from said Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods offers higher quality products than other places, and has standards for what they’ll stock, with a focus on offering organic products. The biggest downside is that they tend to be on the more expensive side, especially compared to other grocery stores in the area.

Worst: Point Cafe
Does this even count? Probably not. But they do sell snacks and stuff. So it’s on this list.