Bayview Thriftway – 516 4th Ave. West, Olympia, WA 98501 Bayviewthriftway.com
Ralph’s Thriftway – 1908 4th Ave. East, Olympia, WA 98506 Ralphsthriftway.com
When I was in my early twenties and still finishing up college, I used to spend hours and hours at Bayview Thriftway. I could get a $0.65 cup of coffee and sit upstairs staring dreamily out the window at the view and write. I wrote papers, letters and stories, but today I’m am going to write about the store.
Bayview Thriftway and Ralph’s Thriftway are locally owned. Ok, so the owners are pretty conservative for Olympia. Who cares. They have done fantastic things to support the community they live in. After college I lived on a boat for a while and my trip to the grocery consisted of a stroll down the boardwalk. Now I live a block from Ralph’s Thriftway and I still spend my coffee time there, chatting about politics, real estate and art at Starbucks with a friend who sings opera.
Aside from food they have, wine tastings, a florist, catering and a lovely room with the best view of Budd Bay and the Olympic mountains in Oly. Ralphs and Bayview have been criticized as too expensive. And, truthfully, they are more expensive than, say, Walmart or Safeway. But you get what you pay for. It’s worth the two minutes it takes to fill out the application for a ThrifteCard which gives you cash back on your card and other rewards. So, if you are a wino like me, it can really start to add up. When you sign up they send the coupons right to your email and they have an on-line shopping service so you can call in your list and pick it up on the way home. Bayview also has a cooking school that has drawn world class chefs there too teach. Their classes are pretty reasonable. They even have classes for kids.
The Deli at Bayview is wonderful. They make sandwiches, burritos, entrees and have everything from coleslaw to samosa’s in their cool case. There is a wonderful olive and tapenade bar, salad bar and Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Shop. Meats, cheeses and a very large variety of vegetarian fare also grace their deli. And then their is my favorite – Olympic Mountain Ice Cream.
This is a true local grocery. I drop my post there, I pick up my prescriptions there and sometimes I get my lunch there. The people who work there are always kind and helpful, but beyond that, they have watched my child grow and they live down the street from me. Not only do I talk over coffee with friends there, I have friends there. That is something you can’t get with a Safeway coupon.
Here is a recipe inspired by their Produce Happy Hour:
Cucumber, Pear and Lavender Salad
1 Bartlett pear
1 cup shredded Jicama
1/4 of a jalapeno, seeded
2-3 lavender flower stems
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the cucumber and cut slices into quarters. Cut pears into small pieces. Dice Jalapenos. Slice, cut, dice and combine it all in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pull off the little individual Lavender flowers and sprinkle on top of the salad. Caution! Lavender can be very strong. Start light and add till it tastes right.