The 5 Best Grocery Stores in Loudoun

One of my favorite things about living in Loudoun is the proximity to the best grocery stores in the country! We’re literally a stone’s throw from 5 amazing grocers, and they each offer uniquely special characteristics that are hard to find elsewhere. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the top 5 grocery stores in Loudoun.

Trader Joe’s

I think the whole of Loudoun County rejoiced when Trader Joe’s announced its new One Loudoun location in the fall of 2018. With their unbelievably unique selection of specialty items combined with surprisingly reasonable prices, does anyone really need convincing to shop at Trader Joe’s? The store offers an amazing array of seasonal items year-round, particularly in the fall and Christmas season.

Most regular shoppers have their favorite TJ’s cult items. Mine include: Everything Bagel Seasoning, frozen cauliflower mash, mini chocolate chip cookies, Mediterranean hummus, and Hot Cocoa O’s (for my girls). My TJ’s must-buy list is ever evolving, mostly because the store is always introducing legendary new and seasonal items, which I love. Welcome to Loudoun County, Joe!

Aldi

When this German grocery chain first popped up in Loudoun, I was cautious. Previous history years ago at Aldi led me to think it would be a very basic grocery store, with only generic store-brand offerings that fared mediocre at best when it came to taste. As it turns out, Aldi has made a lot of improvements since 1990, including taste and selection!

While the store mostly limits its offerings to grocery basics of their own brands, the quality of food and inclusion of organic, gluten free, and baby items has driven Aldi up the list of popular grocery stores in the area to save money. You can hardly find a store with cheaper prices on groceries than Aldi- a dozen eggs for $.79, a loaf of bread or box of crackers for less than $1, a block of cheese or half gallon of ice cream for $2. Most items at Aldi save you between 25-50% off regular supermarket prices, sometimes even more!

The store now even sells an increased assortment of more niche specialty items such as sprouted whole grain bread, edamame spaghetti, grass-fed butter, a whole line of gluten-free goods, and baby food and supplies—all at a fraction of the price of regular grocery stores. Aldi also offers a wide variety of seasonal items during the year.

Keep an eye out for their “ALDIfinds,” which can sometimes be brand name items, kitchen tools, home décor, or clothing. One important caveat to note about Aldi is that in order to focus on the most popular grocery items and offer rock bottom prices, Aldi doesn’t offer everything you’d usually need or want to buy in a grocery run to a well-stocked store. If you’re looking for very specific things like kosher salt, extra-lean ground turkey, or smoked paprika, for instance, you’ll be disappointed.

And once again, to keep staff to a minimum and prices as low as possible, make sure to have a quarter handy to get a shopping cart (you get the quarter back when you return the cart) and prepare to bag your own groceries in your own grocery bags, unless you want to purchase bags in the store. Shopping at Aldi takes a little getting used to, but if you can release expectations of a traditional grocery store and shopping experience, Aldi can save you hundreds of dollars in grocery bills.

Lidl


Lidl, like Aldi, comes to us from the German geniuses who crafted ways to grocery shop and save loads of money at the same time. The uniquely modern design of Lidl in Ashburn attracts many a passerby. In many ways, the store is very similar to Aldi—bring your own bags and bag your own groceries, store brand labels at rock bottom prices, and rotating special buy items that only come in limited quantities while supplies last.

Lidl, however, more closely resembles a traditional grocery store as far as brands available and selection of items. The produce section is much larger, including a greater offering of herbs and organic items. The bakery churns out freshly baked breads, donuts, and sweets each morning, making the store smell like, well, a German bakery.

Lidl also has a slightly larger wine/beer selection than Aldi. Overall, the store can also save you a lot of money on groceries if you’re willing to shift your expectations of a supermarket and visit multiple stores to find special niche items.

Whole Foods

Every Whole Foods Market is not created equal. They might all sell the same beautiful, fresh, organic items, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The  Whole Foods in Ashburn is more than a grocery store, it’s an experience, and for my family, it has become a fun “Sunday event.” The bright, clean, spacious environment with ample parking makes the Ashburn Whole foods a really superior store to other locations.

The best coffee money can buy (Allegro Coffee’s organic French roast) can only be purchased online or at Whole Foods. Bonus: the store usually has it brewed for purchase in the coffee/bar café portion of the store. Speaking of which… what a treat it is to enjoy a hot coffee and freshly baked pastry in the bright, open upstairs lounge area of Whole Foods.

They even have games for kids (or adults) to pass the time. With ample seating of oversized leather chairs, or standard table and chair to do some work at if you please, the café at Whole Foods in Ashburn definitely lands this store on my top grocery stores in Loudoun.

 

Wegmans

In college I had a roommate from upstate New York who raved and raved about Wegmans, and I couldn’t understand such hype about a grocery store. I mean…it’s a grocery store, right? Wrong. Wegmans is in a class of its own when it comes to supermarkets. Here’s why.

Produce.  the produce selection simply cannot be matched. If you want it, Wegman’s has it. Uber fresh? ✔  Locally grown? ✔  Organic? ✔  Strange and odd item for your new recipe? ✔  They’ve even stepped up the “pre-cut” veggie trend and offer items like spiralized butternut squash noodles, crinkle cut beets, and skewered vegetables to simply toss with some basting oil (see #3) and throw in the oven or on the grill. It all looks beautiful and tastes just as good.  Bonus: when you use your Wegmans club card upon your purchase, if an item you bought happens to be recalled for any reason, they alert you. How’s that for customer service!

Prepared food paradise. Most grocery stores have ready-made food like sandwiches, and an anemic looking salad bar at best. Wegmans prepared foods section rivals a great restaurant. Really. Whether you want a cup of hot tomato basil soup, roasted butternut squash and spinach salad, or freshly rolled sushi prepared by the on-site sushi chefs, look no further than your local Wegmans. Why even attempt (for the zillionth time) to make great homemade mashed potatoes when the Wegmans chefs prepare the best you’ve ever tasted (not kidding). You’ll pay up for these premium selections, but they’re worth every penny.

Specialty House Items. Every store boasts their store-brand label counterparts to brand labels, but not every store takes it to the level Wegmans does. I have 2 personal favorites: basting oil, and truffle finishing butter. I literally swear by both items in my cooking and have converted many a friend to a simple drizzle of the basting oil to replace any and all salad dressing. I’ve even given it as a gift before! The truffle finishing butter is a fraction of the cost of fancy brands, and trust me when I say, butternut squash noodles sautéed in a bit of minced garlic and Wegman’s truffle finishing butter makes for an amazing side dish that even non-squash-eating-husbands swoon over. A close third favorite Wegman’s house brand item is the Organic Himalayan sea salt popcorn. Wow. The list could go on and on, but let’s just say that you can’t go wrong with “store brand” items from Wegmans.

Club Packs. I love Costco as much as the next person, but on occasion when I can’t or don’t want to go to multiple stores in a day, I love that Wegman’s family pack sized items rival the bulk discount at wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. From applesauce, to yogurt, to chicken breast, I’ve found that for certain items, Wegman’s can almost double as a wholesale club store.

Wine & Cheese Selection. It’s no secret that the Ramsays are winos and foodies. We like great wine, and we like pairing delicious food with it. We buy most of our wine online for the most competitive price and best selection. However, it’s not unusual for us to find the best price for a favorite bottle Wegmans. In fact, most of the wine at Wegmans is competitively priced and the selection is vast! If you’re looking for a great bottle of wine to take to a friend’s house for dinner, Wegman’s probably has exactly what you want for the best price in town. Speaking of offering exactly what you want, we recently vacationed to Chicago and had some of the best cheese we’d ever tasted. Of course, it was purchased at a specialty cheese monger, so I figured we would never be able to get our hands on any when we returned home. Wrong. One quick look around the bountiful cheese shop, and guess what I found? Yes, you’re right, the epic cheese from Chicago. Yahtzee!

Oh Wegmans, how can we thank you enough for carrying every. single. thing. we ever want, and then some. Wegmans is a very well stocked grocery store, so chances are, if you’re looking for something…anything…they carry it.

So there you have it. 5 amazing grocery stores, 5 unique styles, all right here in our very own Loudoun county. I’d love to hear which ones you prefer and what you like at each, too!