The list is neatly divided in twos: two Texas-based, high-end supermarkets and two Italo-centric, wine mecca specialty shops. Whether you prefer the fruit of the barley or the fruit of the vine, all these stores afford some reprieve from the shopping list blues. With one reasonable exception, you can pop as many tops (or corks) as you like during business hours, so whether you're a harried young professional looking to combine buying-frozen-dinner business with happy hour pleasure or an off-duty night shifter looking to quench your thirst in earlier hours of the day, you've got options.
5750 E. Lovers Lane
10720 Preston Road #1018
320 Coit Road, Plano
1425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake
As the sole North Texas outpost of the San Antonio-based supermarket chain H-E-B, Central Market is a magnet for newcomers transplanted from other parts of the state. It’s still a hustle to fit your provisions in those mini-carts, so Central Market has graciously opened its taps to shoppers. Current licensing prevents them from pouring from the draft lines (those are reserved for growler fills), but guests are encouraged to pick up a bottle of beer or glass of wine and take it away in a plastic cup while they quest for kale.
The beer selection is extensive, and prices range from $1.50 to $5 per brew, with wines falling between $4 and $8. You can drink alcohol during all store hours (except Sundays, when you have to wait til noon thanks to antiquated Texas blue laws), and there’s no firm cutoff limit — though we’d urge you not to find yourself blacked out in a pile of organic avocados.
Jimmy’s Food Store
4901 Bryan St.
Jimmy’s Food Store stands in contrast to Central Market and Whole Foods in a number of ways — it’s venerable (50 years and running), it’s small and it’s focused on all things Italian. Unsurprisingly, it’s really easy to drink wine while shopping at Jimmy’s, particularly regional varietals rarely found at other grocery stores. There are rows and rows of bottles from Sicily, Sardinia and beyond, all of which are very good, some of which are a bargain. You can buy and open a bottle while you pick out your pasta, or opt for wine by the glass for $4.99.
The beer selection can’t compete with all that wine, but it’s there, and you can sip a single longneck of Birra Morreti or Peroni for $2.99. Jimmy’s nicely enforces a two-drink maximum for beer and wine alike during store hours (9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., closed on Sundays), but unless you’re stocking up for a full-on Neapolitan feast, it is an easy limit to obey. Best of all, you don’t have to pay for your drink until you check out. Leave the bottle, take the cannoli.