Friday, April 18, 2008

HOWS Market: The new Hughes Market

Metro Red Line – North Hollywood Station

If you lived in LA from the sixties to the nineties, you probably shopped at a Hughes.

Hughes was somewhere between Trader Joes, a Whole Foods, and Ralphs. Before Trader Joe’s sold fresh (not frozen or preserved) produce, and before Whole Foods and Farmer’s Markets were in every neighborhood, Hughes was where you went for variety and fresh vegetables (I hear their meat was pretty good too). All of that, and I think one of the things I remember best about Hughes was that, unlike most other stores, they had a large clock which you could see from almost anywhere in the store. It was very convenient.

The chain was sold in 1997, and disappeared not too long after that.

And now they’re back.

HOWS market in North Hollywood is across the street from the last stop on the Red Line (or Orange Line, if you're coming from the valley), comfortably surrounded by coffee, ice cream, and food.

The trick is knowing how to enter. After exiting the subway, walk Southeast on Lankershim (just go forward). Cross the street, walking toward the white window-wall, which looks like a mis-placed leftover from the Beetlejuice set, and take a left. You’ll pass a few stores, and head right into HOWS.

Once inside, it almost looks like any other supermarket. Except the ambiance is a little bit calmer. The lights don’t seem so harsh. You can sit and eat on the patio outside, or inside in a small deli/dining area. Or visit the wine bar, located inside the separate alcohol corner.

Prices are the same or cheaper than the nearby Ralphs, and if you’re traveling on the train, or just a bit farther than the average local, they’ll give you special bags to take home your frozen foods, or you can buy reusable hot/cold insulated bags.

I’m just happy to have my childhood Hughes market back.