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Eating Cheap in Walla Walla

Rachel Alexander

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As a growing wine tourism destination, Walla Walla is known for its many fine restaurants. That’s all well and good for when your parents are in town, but what about when you’re broke and need to find something tasty? Don’t worry––The Pioneer has you covered. Here are some tips for eating cheap in Walla Walla.

Grocery store overview

Walla Walla has a few major places to buy food, and sadly, they get better the further you get from campus. Super 1 Foods (710 S 9th Ave) is a good all-around store with a huge bulk section, plenty of natural and organic foods and relatively cheap produce. It’s probably your best bet for general shopping needs if you have access to a car. There’s also a Grocery Outlet on the same block (910 S 9th Ave), which is a good first stop where you can often find greatly discounted items.

Andy’s Market over in College Place (1117 S College Ave), like Super 1, has cheap produce, a great bulk selection and is well worth the trip if you need to buy spices (sold in bulk containers at a fraction the price for normal grocery stores). Andy’s is run by Seventh Day Adventists, which means that it’s closed on Saturdays, but also that they have a ton of awesome vegetarian options. The College Place Wal-Mart is another grocery option for those with vehicles.

While not technically a grocery store, the Walla Walla Farmer’s Market is a good option if you use it well. It takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 4th and Main, and runs through October. Produce is sometimes cheaper here than in stores, because you’re buying directly from the farmer. If you stick to basics––onions, apples, spinach––and avoid higher-end veggies, you can save money while enjoying the ambiance.

Navigating Safeway

The only real grocery store within walking distance of campus is Safeway (215 E Rose St). While often a bit pricier than other stores, Safeway is a good bet if you know how to shop (and often a necessity for last-minute items). I worked at the Walla Walla Safeway for two years and picked up a few tricks for saving money during my time there:

  • Get a Club Card––any cashier can give you one. It’s free, and you don’t have to provide any personal information. It’s the only way to get sale prices, and you’ll get coupons on stuff you buy the most.
  • Shop with a list. Buy what you actually need, and don’t go for something just because it’s on sale.
  • Check the sales fliers, available inside the store entrance (sales change every Wednesday; new ads are out on Tuesday). Grab any coupons for stuff you’re buying, and stock up on any deeply discounted items.
  • Some items go on sale on a regular schedule, and some will periodically be deeply discounted if you buy a lot of them (usually 4+). Pay attention to these cycles––often every 3-4 weeks––and stock up when stuff is cheap.
  • Be aware of price tag trickery, and read the fine print. Safeway often puts the shelf price as 2/$5.00 to get you to buy two of something, but each individual item is still only $2.50––you don’t need to buy the indicated number to get the sale price.
  • Use manufacturer’s coupons. Grab a Sunday copy of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (you can pick one up for free in the Reid Campus Center basement near the Post Office). It’s full of ads which come with clip out coupons. It’s really easy to save on name-brand products this way, especially snack foods, personal care items and cleaning products.
  • Unless it’s cheaper not to, buy generic brands. Safeway makes its own versions of just about everything, and they’re usually indistinguishable from the name brands (with some exceptions, like on snack foods).

Eating out

Your best bet for a good, cheap meal downtown is the Sweet Basil Pizzeria (5 S 1st Ave). Though not advertised, they have a student discount––you can get two slices for $4; show your ID and ask for it. Also make sure to pick up up a punch card. Other good downtown options are The Garden (36 S Colville St), a vegan café, and Graze (5 S Colville St), a sandwich shop. Entrees run around $8-10 at both places.

Walla Walla is also known for its taquerias, which provide high-quality Mexican food. Popular ones include Taqueria Yungapeti (320 S 9th Ave, a drive) and Berny’s (1633 E Isaacs Ave, a 15-minute walk). Meals typically run $5-7.

Free food

It’s pretty easy to get free food on a college campus. If you’re on a meal plan, the dining halls will pretty much have you covered, but if you’re still in need of something to eat, here are some tips:

  • Go to club meetings. Many clubs offer pizza at the beginning of the semester when they’re trying to lure new members in. Show up to something you’re interested in and have some dinner.
  • Take advantage of meal plan benefits. Plans A and B come with ten guest swipes. If you’re on a plan, make sure you use them well. If you’re not, bum some free food off of your underclassmen friends. This goes for extra Flex dollars at the end of the semester as well.
  • Hang out with people who live in Tamarac. Many of them are on Meal Plan T (available exclusively to Tamarac residents), which consists of $1100 Flex dollars––more than most people can spend.
  • Read emails on the students listserv. The college hosts all kinds of events where food is present, including lunches with members of the administration and panel discussions.
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Eating Cheap in Walla Walla