The pristine new aisles of H-E-B in Plano opened to the public Wednesday morning.
The San Antonio-based grocery chain started in 1905 and has remained south of the DFW area — with the closest locations being in Burleson and Waxahachie — until recently. A store opened in Frisco in September to excited crowds
, and McKinney
stores are set to open in 2023.
The carts are ready to go, as is the smoked brisket.
The celebration kicked off at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning as Plano residents explored their newest grocery option. The Plano West High School band performed, and a DJ kept the crowd pumped. Coffee and beignets were passed out from food trucks.
At the Frisco location's opening in September, the line had wrapped around the building by the time doors opened. Some people even started camping out
12 hours before the event began. And while there was a line when the Plano store opened, it was gone by mid-morning.
We got to explore the store ahead of its grand opening, and the food options were extensive.
The long winding aisles of the produce section were stocked Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re here to make it easier to feed your family,” said Mabrie Jackson, senior director of public affairs for H-E-B. The Meal Simple section has many oven-ready meals to take home. “Meal Simple is the easiest way for people on the go to feed their families,” says Jackson.
Why she's holding the pimento cheese like a dirty sock is beyond us. It should be coddled.
The store prepares sushi, seafood, pimento cheese, baked goods and meats every day for shoppers. Many sushi options are unique to the Dallas community, with names like the DFW Roll, the Red Pegasus Roll and the Highway 75 Roll.
“This is not grocery store sushi,” Jackson brags, mentioning that the store's seafood is flown in daily. “We can trace it back to the boat and the captain.”
Home chefs can gain inspiration at the Cooking Connection station, where daily demonstrations teach simple recipes anyone can execute at home.
Shoppers at other grocery stores may be devastated to hear they no longer have to wait in the slow-as-a-snail deli for sliced lunch meat.
With the viral popularity of charcuterie boards (and butter boards
), H-E-B has cheese enthusiasts covered. Over 250 cheeses are sold at the cheese counter, and custom and pre-made charcuterie boards are available. The cheese trays are served on wooden boards, so you don’t have to feel embarrassed bringing a clunky plastic tray over to someone’s house.
The beverage aisles make it easy to get lost in the options, especially if you’ve had a couple of the $2 drafts on Tuesdays at the True Texas BBQ in-store restaurant. H-E-B sells over 850 styles of craft beer, making it the No. 1 retailer for Texas beer.
H-E-B carries more than 850 styles of craft beer.
Merchandising manager for beer and wine, Chris Hurst, says H-E-B regularly acquires rare wines from auctions all the time to sell in its stores. In addition to buying wine, you can also try samples at daily wine tastings. “Whenever you can buy alcohol, you can sample wine,” Hurst says. That includes the grand opening, when staffed popped Champagne bottles.
H-E-B offers a bevy of store-brand products.
H-E-B also carries its own brands of non-alcoholic beverages, like sparkling 1877 Mineral Water. H-E-B brand Cafe Olé coffee has a roast called Taste of DFW that is medium-bodied and heavy on chocolate flavor. Jackson stresses that these are not just any old store-brand products.
“Never be afraid to try an H-E-B brand,” she says. Some of her favorites are the Meal Simple jalapeño pimento cheese and Creamy Creations Eggnog Joy ice cream.
True Texas BBQ is a quick-service barbecue restaurant with craft beer on tap inside H-E-B. Bonus: $2 draft Tuesdays.
Along with the expansive options on shelves, H-E-B houses True Texas BBQ: a restaurant that serves slow-smoked meats. The turkey was peppery and juicy, and the brisket was tender. Mac and cheese, brisket loaded beans and potato salad rounded out the meal. Other menu items include pulled pork, ribs, chicken, creamed corn, cobblers and more. And barbecue sauce to smother over all of it, of course.
H-E-B is many things, including a car wash, gas station and pharmacy. But mostly, it’s a playground for food lovers.
6001 Preston Road, Plano