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Readers: Downtown Grocery Store Very Convenient

August 21, 2013 Downtown, Featured, Retail 5 Comments

Some people have the attitude if I don’t like Culinaria I should just shop elsewhere and not complain. When regular customers complain to a business they’re helping that business, going elsewhere without feedback doesn’t help the business, or the employes.

View of Culinaria from upstairs mezzanine
View of Culinaria from upstairs mezzanine

Over the last 4 years Culinaria has improved greatly, especially in the last year. Why? Because myself and others have complained, explaining what we like and dislike. The example I mentioned in the post introducing last week’s poll — flour.  When Culinaria opened 4 years ago with the marketing tag line: “Bring out the foodie in you” but only flour offered was Schnucks bleached flour.

Bleached flour has a slightly lower protein content than unbleached flour because of the chlorination process it goes through. Protein develops into gluten, which provides structure in baked goods. Less protein in bleached flour means less gluten and a softer, lighter texture and finer grain, just the qualities you want in more delicate pastries like cakes, pastry dough, muffins and shortcakes.

According to Shirley Corriher, author of Bakewise (Scribner, 2008), there’s “a major difference due to protein content—products are significantly tougher and drier with unbleached flour.” Another reason to use bleached flour is when you want a truly white color, like in a white cake.

Unbleached flour is better for sturdier baked goods, like yeast breads or pizza dough. Its higher protein content allows the yeast to rise and still support the structure of the dough.

If you prefer using only unbleached flour but want a lower-protein flour occasionally, you can create your own by substituting potato starch for 10 percent of the flour. (Source)

Trying to bake bread with bleached white flour will produce disastrous results.

When Culinaria opened 4 years ago the only flour choice was Schnucks bleached flour, today there are many choices.
When Culinaria opened 4 years ago the only flour choice was Schnucks bleached flour, today there are many choices.

As you can see above they now offer a wide variety of flours.  The gluten-free section has gone from zero to decent as well. Clearly Culinaria’s management didn’t know what to stock early on. They’ve learned by listening to customer requests and seeing what sells.

Q: Thoughts on Culinaria (Downtown Schnucks grocery) – pick up to 3

  1. Very convenient 68 [27.53%]
  2. Right size 37 [14.98%]
  3. Glad to have a pharmacy downtown 30 [12.15%]
  4. I still miss the historic Century Building 28 [11.34%]
  5. My primary grocery store 22 [8.91%]
  6. My secondary grocery store 22 [8.91%]
  7. Tried it once or twice, haven’t been back 9 [3.64%]
  8. Other: 9 [3.64%]
  9. Too small 7 [2.83%]
  10. Not convenient 6 [2.43%]
  11. I should give it a try again 5 [2.02%]
  12. Unsure/no opinion 4 [1.62%]

The “other” answers provided by readers were:

  1. More expensive
  2. 9pm is way too early to close.
  3. Needs more space
  4. It’s a good resource for downtown, despite the loss of the Century.
  5. obnoxious checkers
  6. poor selection
  7. Stopped going after they doubled prizes of freshly made salads.
  8. AHH! Subsidies. Free parking. Parking in front of store. No one got freebies
  9. good to see a local company taking risk

At least the asparagus is in trays with water.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. guest says:

    What the poll really shows is that Culinaria is an over-the-top, welcome success. Much more than convenient. The top three choices (out of 12 possible), totaled about half the votes, were for “convenience”, “right size”, and “glad to have a pharmacy downtown”. That’s the only takeaway.

  2. samizdat says:

    My old buddy, King Arthur. Employee-owned, too, by the by. (As is Bob’s Red Mill)

  3. moe says:

    I find that people that don’t let management know what they want are the ones that can’t find what they are looking for then go home and complain to everyone hat will hear ‘they don’t have what I need’. Then if it closes it becomes ‘good, they deserved to close because they never carried anything anyone wanted’.
    And as you pointed out, there has been a learning curve. Part of the problem with the health of our country is that people think flour is flour. An egg is just an egg. Chicken breasts just ‘appear’ in neatly wrapped packages. They have no clue nor are interested in why a bleached floor is better for some things and an unbleached flour is for others. They are the same people that ,when travelling, go to a McDonalds or Applebee’s rather than a local establishment. Or while they may have a great dinner dining out in our diverse restaurant environment, can’t tell you what it was that made it great.
    So I’m sure the management had to learn what the clientele wanted and expected, other than just generic ‘groceries’. And that education goes both ways as I’m willing to bet that 4 year later, a customer could go in and ask an employee ‘why would I want to use unbleached flour?’ True, not every employee will know, but one or two will.
    As for the asparagus….well, let’s just let the joke stand….in the water.

  4. Chris DaEmperor Andoe says:

    Flour power!


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