North Texas' Tom Thumbs Might Be for Sale, and We Need H.E.B. to Buy Them

There's speculation in grocery-store land that Tom Thumb's parent company, Safeway, is looking to sell off of its Texas stores. The company has been dropping some dead weight lately, including stores in Canada and Chicago, and recently hired Goldman Sachs to scout the market for potential buyers.

A CultureMap article last week reported that one option would be to break up the stores by region, and "some analysts speculated San Antonio-based HEB could pick up the Dallas-Fort Worth [Tom Thumb] locations."

We hear that's not on the horizon. But for what it's worth, a thread in a Beer Advocate blog from early this year speculates (based on rubbing elbows at parties) that H.E.B. already has plans on coming to Dallas. With Tom Thumb potentially cutting out, the timing here is a great as one of those fresh hot tortillas they roll out all day. (Calls to the company weren't immediately returned.)

There are more than 150 H.E.B. stores across the state but none in Dallas proper, and we need one. There's just something about H.E.B. -- the older, less flashy and more wholesome big sister to Central Market -- that makes everyday shopping pure greatness. It lacks the cart rage and hostile shoppers so readily found at CM. The tension for picking out a pepper promptly is less intrusive.

The produce section at H.E.B. also isn't typically so long and snaky. If you forget cilantro, you don't have to continue to follow the jet stream to the end, and re-enter through the main doors all over again to retrieve it (because you know turning that cart around and going against the flow are fighting words).

Throw in the fact that they carry the full load of everyday items and necessities, which means you don't need to stop anywhere else for toiletries or cheap cases of Diet Coke.

The chain recently opened a new store in Austin at Mueller, and Thrillist did a whole piece on the 15 most fantastic things, including those fresh tortillas, the ambitious craft beer selection, a fantastic meat market (sad face for Tom Thumb's selection) and a whole bevy of meals ready to go, including, evidently, some pretty good whole slow-cooked briskets. Plus, they said H.E.B. has the cheapest gas in town.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.