If you are fed up with being fed by large corporations, look no further than the Seward and Northeast neighborhoods of Minneapolis. Both neighborhoods are rich with diverse markets and family-owned grocery stores. Here are a few of the standouts.
When Ramon Tan left the Philippines for Minnesota, he was not sure what the country had in store for him.
“My wife used to work for Northwest Airlines,” Tan said. “She said ‘Minnesota is a beautiful state’ [and] brought me here."
He has been making the most of his life in the United States ever since. In 1972, Tan opened the United Noodles marketplace. Today it is among the most diverse pan-Asian markets in the Twin Cities.
The store boasts a collection of foods, spices and beverages from different countries of the world including Korea, Singapore and Vietnam. And if you get hungry while you are shopping, stop at UniDeli, the in-store ramen shop with prices starting at $7 for a bowl of hot, fresh noodles.
Annie Dingle, co-owner of the market with her husband, Eric Fung, said Korean ramen is a best-seller and noted it is difficult to find elsewhere. Other popular goods at United include freshly cut meats and seasonal produce. The store is a well-loved fixture in the Seward community and a place where customers can get lost in the endless possibilities of Asian cuisine.
“We have people that come in even on a date night,” Dingle said.
Outside of the Twin Cities, the market has even gained national attention from the Food Network's “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
This family-owned grocery store opened its doors in 1923 in the Northeast neighborhood. It originally started as a Polish market, but today, Sentyrz Market has evolved to be a staple of Northeast and is a one-stop shop for produce, fresh meat and alcoholic beverages. It is one of five establishments in the Twin Cities that Walter Sentyrz Jr., the owner of the store, said is permitted to sell alcohol alongside other goods, as the business was grandfathered into having an alcohol permit.
“My grandfather … decided that people ought to do two things: they have to work, and they have to eat,” Sentyrz said. “So he bought a grocery store.”
The market features an impressive selection of regional beer and aisles of liquor and fine wines.
Little India International Market
Little India International Market is an easy drive from campus. Located on Central Avenue, the large store specializes in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi foods and ingredients. The market is operated by Faheem Khan and his family.
They offer quick and easy frozen meals alongside select American eats. Little India is a great place to stock up on beans, fresh vegetables and rice. You can even find bags of rice up to 20 pounds and bags of naan are sold for $7.
The market also has in-house butchers, who serve halal meats, and there is a counter in the back of the store that offers Eastern baked goods.