EDGEWATER — Grocery shoppers who have had to alter their food-buying habits since the closure of Chicago's Dominick's stores say they're "excited" to welcome Mariano's to the neighborhood.
Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) has reported that the store at Foster Avenue and Sheridan Road should open in April, even though a look inside the former Dominick's at 5201 N. Sheridan Road reveals little progress on the building's transformation to a Mariano's supermarket.
All Dominick's-brand paraphernalia, like signs and advertising, seems to have been stripped from the store, but not much else has changed.
Osterman introduced an ordinance Wednesday to lift the liquor moratorium on the block so that Mariano's could obtain a license to sell and serve alcohol.
Customer service representative Tiffany Miller, 23, who was inside the future Mariano's greeting customers using the already-open pharmacy, said the store would be open "for sure, for sure" on April 1, while a company spokesman said the "timing for the store opening is during the second quarter of 2014."
A pair of messages etched in the dirt and grime covering the store's front doors seemed to punctuate the neighborhood's anticipation: "We miss you" on one pane of glass and "I need coffee" on the opposite.
Miller said a steady stream of people have popped in since the pharmacy opened.
"There's been a lot of people stopping by ... and asking when the store's gonna open," she said.
Noah Tribble, 38, of Edgewater, said he was "sad to see Dominick's close," but "more excited about the Mariano's" because of the grocer's selection of produce and superior customer service.
Meanwhile, he's taken his grocery business to a nearby Jewel on Berwyn Avenue, which has been more crowded the last couple of months.
"I don't think the store was ready for it," he said.
Liz Swire, 24, who lives next door to Jewel, was on her way into the store last week.
She said she also was looking forward to shopping at Mariano's, which she heard was a mix "between a Jewel and a Whole Foods — not as expensive as Whole Foods and maybe a little better quality than Jewel."
"I try to shop for more organic produce and stuff, and they don't always have the best options here," she said of Jewel. "We'll see with prices. I'll probably still go to Jewel, but I would be excited to try out Mariano's more so because I've heard good things about their meats and, you know, produce mainly."
Other Jewel shoppers were skeptical of Mariano's.
"I don't know much about the chain," Edgewater resident George Reisch said.
Shopper Shakira Egbebi said she heard Dominick's closed, but didn't know about Mariano's plans.
"Is it cheaper than Jewel-Osco?" she asked.