We asked, you answered: What’s your favorite grocery store in Pennsylvania?

A robot named Marty cleans the floors at a Giant grocery store in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. On Monday, the Carlisle-based Giant Food Stores announced new robotic assistants will be arriving at all 172 Giant stores by the middle of this year. The chain's parent company says it plans to eventually deploy the robots to nearly 500 stores. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Patrick Berkery

February 28, 2024

From family-owned community staples like Urbaniak Brothers in Erie, to Central Pa. favorite Stauffers of Kissel Hill, to chains like Giant Eagle and Aldi, our readers weigh in on their favorite grocery stores.

In a recent ranking of the best and worst individual grocery stores in the country, several Pennsylvania grocers didn’t fare so well — especially Giant Eagle.

Gaming network Solitaired analyzed Google reviews for 3,000 individual grocery stores across the US to determine which ones excelled — and which ones didn’t — in customer service, food quality, prices, and the speed of their checkout lines.

The Giant Eagle Supermarket on Cedar Avenue in Pittsburgh was rated the worst grocery store overall. Another Pittsburgh Giant Eagle location on Freeport Road ranked among grocery stores with the worst lines, as did the ACME at 4001 Walnut St. in Philadelphia.

Giant Eagle, which has more than 200 Pennsylvania locations (primarily in the western part of the state), also ranked as the fifth worst supermarket chain overall, according to Solitaired’s analysis. ACME, with more than 50 locations in the eastern part of the state, was sixth worst.

The Bloomfield Community Market at 4401 Liberty Ave. in Pittsburgh ranked among stores with the worst prices, along with a couple of smaller neighborhood markets in Philly. Take that ranking with some salt (aisle 6). You can’t fairly measure the prices of smaller markets against chain stores with buying power that should enable them pass along savings to the customer — though we know that’s not always the case, especially these days.

After going through the results, we wondered if these stores were really as bad as the survey suggests. We also know that there’s a whole host of grocery stores throughout the state — from locally-owned community staples to chains — that people probably love. So we decided to ask our newsletter readers to tell us about their favorite local grocery stores. Spoiler alert: A bunch of people seem to love Giant Eagle.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

“I live not far from Erie, which is where I do most of my shopping. Giant Eagle is where I have been shopping. They are very helpful and courteous and they accept my insurance debit card which many other stores do not. The more I shop there the more I like it.”

-Janice Glazier, Waterford

“Two of my favorite grocery stores are Giant Eagle in Ebensburg and Johnstown. I find both stores to be clean and well stocked, with pleasant and knowledgeable employees. Although their prices are a little higher than the local Walmart, I find the quality of their products to be superior. Especially meats, produce, bakery, and dairy products.”

-Maggie Biterm, Cresson

“The best grocery store around my area is Gerrity’s The Fresh Grocer. It was originally just Gerrity’s. They joined some kind of group and the name was slightly changed. Now they carry a lot of ShopRite brands.”

-Esther Williams, Nanticoke

“I love Giant. Of course Wegmans is great but Giant is more affordable. Weis is my least favorite. I find many of their dairy products close to the ‘best by’ or ‘use by’ dates. Giant also has a better selection of products.”

-Rhonda Leonard, Lancaster

“The three I frequent around here in Red Lion are the Giant (impressive selection, Asian food and sushi on site, and where I buy my Founders Centennial IPA), the Weis (I go every Tuesday for the senior discount) and Jerry’s Great Valu (great chicken salad made on site, good deli products and prices, and good prices on crabmeat and oysters). I also occasionally drive over the river to go to the Asian Center Supermarket outside of Lancaster for items I can’t get elsewhere like laksa paste, large bottles of Asian condiments and fresh Asian produce.”

-Scott Jay Regner, Felton

“Our local Giant Eagle is a good place to shop, although they seem to have less organic items lately. We can count on our local Martin’s (known as Giant in other parts of Pa.) to have the best selection of organic produce. Employees are friendly and helpful, and lines are not an issue at either store.”

-Marti Higgins, Indiana

“I like Giant and Aldi. For Giant, I prefer their location in Shillington, and the Exeter store. For Aldi, I prefer either Exeter, Kenhorst, or Wyomissing. I don’t mind driving to any of them. I have also used both for home delivery, excellent service.”

-Theresa Schlamowitz, Reading

“My favorite is Davy’s Fresh Market in Lewisburg, a small independent grocery store. What impresses me the most is the quality and freshness of their produce, much or most of which is sourced locally. Their prices are even better than Giant and Weis. And because so much is sourced locally, product doesn’t sit in warehouses waiting to be trucked out; thus, product freshness and shelf-life are superior. In addition to their produce, they offer meats, frozen food, deli, baked goods, bulk foods, etc. The store recently expanded its square footage. My hope is that this store’s success, operation, and character doesn’t diminish with what seems to be its increasing popularity.”

-Steve Brightbill, Bellefonte

“I frequently shop at “the worst grocery store”: the Pittsburgh Giant Eagle on Cedar Street. It’s honestly not horrible as long as your needs are basic. I think the employees at Cedar Street do their best to be professional. The lines can be a little frustrating, but the quality of goods is pretty comparable to ShopRite, which is where I went when we lived in New Jersey.”

-Ricki Demarest, Pittsburgh

“I think our Giant Eagle is the best around. It is clean and the workers are friendly and helpful. We have fresh produce and the weekly specials are really good.”

-Rhonda Smith, Uniontown

“Warren has a locally-owned Shurfine store that people flock to for their meats and fresh deli. The Warren Shurfine is a throwback to the look, feel, and experience people used to get in the 50s.”

-Ron Reiff, Columbus

“I live in Pittsburgh but was born and raised in Lancaster. My favorite grocery store ever is Stauffers of Kissel Hill. It is a treat to shop there and every time I visit Lancaster I put aside a morning to enjoy this great store.”

-Judith Matheny, Pittsburgh

“The Giant Eagle store in Meadville is a fantastic place to shop. The prices are high, likely due to the fact that it’s unionized, which is something that I appreciate, having grown up in a home that was financially supported by a lifetime union-working patriarch.”

-Susan Powell, Meadville

“We have a Trader Joe’s near us in Abington. They always have the items I want, and beautiful fresh flowers. I love the store and the people. A manager named Vincent went above and beyond. I couldn’t find my keys. I hunted in two stores. People looked behind their counters and under the checkout. Vincent walked out with me to my car. The door was open, but I couldn’t find the keys under the seats. Vincent looked everywhere, and found them in the back set under a baby car seat. HOW did they get there? I called the company to praise him.”

-Jane McVeigh, Wyncote

“My wife fell in love with Redner’s in Camden, Del. Because of that we have visited the Palmyra Redner’s and she really likes it. She wishes there was a Redner’s in the Harrisburg area. She thinks it’s the best.”

-Rod Mutzabaugh, Dauphin

“We have some great options here in Central Pa. I have always been a supporter of Stauffers of Kissel Hill. They started in my hometown of Lititz many decades ago. They have expanded and opened branches of their stores. I am pleased to have a relatively new branch near me again in Mount Joy.”

-Janice Hartman, Elizabethtown

“There is a great little grocery market here in the Philadelphia area called Weaver’s Way. It has a few stores and carries only organic or high quality stuff, beautifully prepared foods, and local products.”

-Anne Arian, Wyndmoor

“Aldi is the all-around best store for produce, meat, and everything grocery. Fresh, reasonably priced, variety, great selection, high quality.”

-Vicki, Harrisville

“The family-owned Urbaniak Brothers is an Erie treasure. I love standing shoulder to shoulder with a diverse crowd of shoppers, especially during the holidays, to purchase their homemade pierogi, quarts of fresh sauerkraut, sausage, smoked Ham off the bone, and shrimp. Everyone who comes through the door is made to feel like family. Shoppers, who have long moved out of the neighborhood, travel a long distance to continue the traditions of their childhood.”

-Margo Peters, Erie

“Kinsley’s ShopRite in Brodheadsville is my number one choice. It is always clean and well-stocked, the meats and produce are fresh, all of the employees are friendly and helpful, and the prices are very reasonable.”

-Maryann Caprioli, Brodheadsville

“Standing up for our Giant Eagles in Butler. Clean, great bakery, the lines aren’t bad, and good selections.”

-Roxanne Kuminkoski, Butler

“My favorite grocery store is Weis in Tannersville. The store is a pleasure to walk through and shop. It isn’t overly congested. The staff is friendly, helpful, and courteous.”

-Laurie Mahoney, Tannersville

“Aldi is our favorite due to lower prices, quick checkout, and ease of finding items needed. Also, we don’t have to worry about dodging shopping carts in the parking lot as Aldi has a system where you insert a quarter when you get a cart and get it back when done. Giant Eagle is okay, but the prices are higher. We haven’t gone to Walmart for five years now and probably never will again. Their lack of adherence to CDC guidelines during the pandemic turned us off from shopping there.”

-Carl Timko, Meadville

“I would put the local family owned chain Stauffers of Kissel Hill up among the best anywhere. When we moved here 14 years ago we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of this grocer five minutes from us.”

-Paula Koda, Lancaster Township

“Shout out to the Dutch-Way Farm Market in my area, northern Lebanon County. They are stocked with a huge amount of local meats and produce, and because they are Mennonite-run, and cater to the large Mennonite and Amish population here, they have lots of bulk ingredients for cooking and baking, and a great deli. The employees are always friendly and helpful.”

-Peggy Jennings, Lebanon

“I live between Reading and Lancaster and at least three Aldi stores have popped up in the area in the last year or two. The discounted prices with less focus on marketing/packaging and shelf presentation have attracted shoppers like myself and many others based on the packed parking lots no matter when I seem to go.”

-Liz, Berks County

“My favorite is our locally-owned grocery store Country Harvest Market in Palmerton.”

-Alice Wannamaker, Easton

“Shady Maple Farm Market in East Earl is a destination grocery store. The variety and the prices can’t be beat. They support local farmers and help keep the farms from Conestoga Valley to Adams County viable. Local produce and products available year round at fair prices and no corporate price gouging. And then there are the killer donuts!”

-Judy Sargent, Mohnton

“My favorite grocery stores are Redner’s in Sinking Spring and Weis in West Lawn because both are Pa.-owned and generous to the community. Weis has been very generous to my alma mater, Susquehanna University. They have everything I need.”

-Virginia Biniek, Wernersville



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