Pop Up Grocer is a temporary grocery store in Austin and I visited to see what it’s all about. Read on for all the details.
I don’t love grocery shopping but I do like grocery browsing. There are innumerable products out there. If you want to learn about a new city or country, visit a grocery store when you travel. What do people like to eat? What flavors are traditional? If you want to try something new and add a little adventure into your day, visit a grocery store you’ve never been to before. You’re bound to discover something new.
I’ve been planning this blog series about grocery store snacks for a while because there is a wealth of places in Austin to explore. This series will take me to grocery stores around Austin, some I’ve never been to, and introduce me to new-to-me snacks and things I’ll find there.
I am excited to start the series with something unique and a little unexpected. Pop Up Grocer is here for a short time, but what they offer clearly illustrates why I was excited about this series!
What is Pop Up Grocer?
Pop Up Grocer, a traveling pop-up grocery store, set up shop in Austin for the month of June. It’s known for presenting more than 100 innovative brands. The store, which has popped up in New York City and Los Angeles, is divided into sections by the product category, such as chips, beverages, and pantry.
What I love about Pop Up Grocer is founder Emily Schildt‘s same enthusiasm for grocery browsing. First, the store is thoughtfully designed and minimalistic. From its confetti-covered exterior to its shopping baskets, the store follows the same color scheme. The cohesive branding and orderly display help the products pop.
But, you’re not primarily here to admire the visual merchandising. The products speak for themselves. Looking at the shelves in the store, you can’t help but be enticed by the beautifully-designed packages. It’s a curated experience with shelves of brands that make you stop and consider them. It’s one of the reasons why shopping here was difficult! Should I get one of everything? Also, many of the brands feature alternative ingredients or a more transparent product that tries to be healthier.
The cherry on top is that five percent of Pop Up Grocer in-store profits go to charity and Austin’s profits will be donated to All Together ATX.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff!
What I Bought at Pop Up Grocer
I tried not to touch packages more than I needed to, so I picked most of the things by the package design and reading the front of the package. It was incredibly hard not to get one of everything and I could have spent a long time looking at each brand! But for the sake of my time and budget, I limited myself. Here’s what I bought and what I thought about them.
This non-alcoholic beer kind of blew my mind. Imagine all the delicious tastes of beer but none of the effects. It contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. Sometimes you want the refreshing taste of beer but you’ve got things to do. The creators wanted to make a beer for people who also wanted a healthier, active lifestyle. Brilliant! The Run Wild IPA flavor was spot on! One day I want to try their Free Way Double Hop IPA.
You’ll love the creative flavors of this herbal sparkling water brand. Their lineup includes Lavender Cucumber, Cactus Rose, Peppermint Watermelon, Basil Berry, and Lemongrass Coconut. I picked Cactus Rose and it was full of flavor. Plus their cans are so cute and colorful!
Some say the culinary future is in fermented foods. Well, Cleveland Kitchen has you covered. They carry sauerkrauts and dressings. I picked up the Beet Red Kraut, which has red cabbage, beets, and carrots. We added it to salads and they’ve got this hummus recipe I want to try on their website.
These chickpea chips are packed with flavor! I got the Mediterranean Herbs flavor and it was an explosion of flavor in every bite. They also have Himalayan Salt and Pico de Gallo flavors.
As it describes in the name, this jerky is made of mushrooms! I love mushrooms, so I was excited to try this. For those who are wary, I had two people try this without telling them the ingredient and they couldn’t say it was mushroom. The flavor and texture are exactly what I expect from jerky and the salt and pepper flavor I got was delicious!
Poppi is a prebiotic soda. For anyone who is trying to drink less popular soda, this is a good alternative for you. The soda is marketed as helping gut health and the sodas have better-for-you ingredients like fruit juice. They also have four to five grams of sugar each. The key ingredient in these sodas is apple cider vinegar. I tried the Lime Ginger flavor and it tasted exactly like Sprite.
The main reason I wanted to visit Pop Up Grocer was for some Raaka Chocolate. I’ve been passionately curious about bean-to-bar chocolate for a few years now and found out Pop Up Grocer carried this Brooklyn chocolate maker. All their chocolate is vegan and free of gluten, soy, and dairy. They’ve got some interesting flavors too. The one with strawberry and coconut is my current favorite.
Dried fruit is one of my favorite snacks, so I picked out RIND Snacks. As their name suggests, their snacks include the rind because they want to prevent unnecessary waste and it’s good for you. I tried the Straw-Peary Blend with apples, pears, and strawberries. Yum! They also have blends with not-so-common dried fruits like kiwis and persimmons. Did I mention all fruit is grown and dried in the U.S.?
When you’re on the go, these Wildway snack packs are a good boost. They’ve got dried fruits, nuts, and herbs. I got the Pineapple Mojito with dried pineapples, walnuts, dates, cashews, dried mint, dried lime, sea salt, and vanilla bean. It really did remind me of a mojito. Wildway also produces grain-free granola and instant hot oatmeal.
This was a very small sample of the many brands at Pop Up Grocer. You can see all of them here. While Pop Up Grocer is a great way to discover new brands, it’s not the only way you can buy them. Check out a brand’s website to find out how.
Austin Brands to Check Out
We’re pretty lucky in Austin because several of the brands at Pop Up Grocer were born and are more easily accessed here. Knowing this, I didn’t purchase any of the Austin brands, but here’s a list of them if you’re curious.
- Afia – Frozen Mediterranean foods like falafel and kibbeh
- Bearded Brothers – Organic energy bars
- Big Swig – Sparkling water; I love the Ruby Red Grapefruit and Prickly Pear Cucumber flavors
- CLEAN Cause – Sparkling Yerba Mate beverages
- FitJoy – Grain-free pretzels and protein bars; The cookies and cream protein bars are delicious
- GoodPop – Frozen pops with organic and locally sourced ingredients; I love the Cherry Lemonade and Strawberry flavors. Remember my GoodPops popsicle party?
- Heart Water – Artisan alkaline rainwater
- Siete – Grain-free Mexican-American food like chips and tortillas; I love the Sea Salt chips! Remember my Summer Fiesta?
- Vital Proteins – Collagen Bars
- Yellowbird Foods – Spicy condiments
Pop Up Grocer Austin Logistics
If you want to visit Pop Up Grocer, it’s here for a few more days. Here’s what you need to know:
- Open at 408 W 2nd, Austin, TX 78701 (next to La Condesa) from June 5-28, 2020
- No more than four guests allowed in the store at once
- You can reserve a private shopping time on their website
Have you tried any of these brands before? What did you think?