- February 19, 2014

Community Hangout & Neighborhood Store: in.gredients


There are many times when I want to meet another mama friend out for coffee, but it’s often hard to think of the right place to go with our little ones along, too. Play dates at home are lovely, but sometimes it’s nice venture out beyond the neighborhood park and feel like you’re really getting out, you know?  Sometimes Central Market just seems too big, and the kids always want to run off to that big tree to climb. Sometimes the local spot in the ‘hood with the outdoor patio is just too close to the big road, and the patio doesn’t really provide anything to do unless I remember to pack toys. Anyhow, you get where I am going with this. I basically wish every coffee house, bar, cafe, etc. had it’s own playground or a huge “kids welcome” sign. So when I finally made the trip over to in.gredients in the Cherrywood neighborhood, I was delighted! It’s the perfect spot for the whole family to hang out — plus so much more.

in.gredients is a little gem in East Austin (2610 Manor Road). When this packaging-free grocery store opened over a year ago, I thought it was such a great concept. But in.gredients is more than a grocery store. It’s also a garden, coffee house, deli, and beer garden. It’s a neighborhood hangout with a playground. (The fenced playground is small with a few swings, a slide, and assorted toys that is just enough to keep young children entertained.) It’s a place to come out for trivia nights, or cheese tastings, or culinary workshops. You can call your friends to meet for happy hour and enjoy a pint of local microbrew. Hang out in one of the many picnic tables out front while the kids play, and there are water bowls aplenty if you want to bring your doggie friends along, too.

Want to come for groceries? Yes, of course! in.gredients is the first zero-waste, package-free grocery store in the U.S. Most of this little store consists of bulk bins with items such as cereals, beans, rice, dried fruits, nuts, spices, coffee, teas, etc. You can also find bulk vats of honey, maple syrup, oil, and even dishwashing soap. Nut butters can be scooped from vats, too. Dairy products and organic local meats are kept in refrigerators and freezers. You’ll also find a small selection of fresh vegetables from local farms.

Before going for the first time, I wasn’t exactly sure how a no-packaging store works. Be sure to bring your own containers. When you arrive you can weigh and label your containers, then after you fill them, you’ll weigh them again before you pay. The in.gredients website even provides a great video for first-timers to watch before you go.
 in.gredients also hosts a variety of events each week. Be sure to check out their website for schedules of upcoming happenings. And while you’re browsing, don’t miss the recipes posted online and the listing of weekly specials. Of course, events are not always free, but there is no cost for the fun you can have just hanging out (with kids, even) and enjoying this little treasure of a neighborhood store.
2610 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78722
(There is a small customer parking lot behind the store.)

Freelance web producer, Heidi Okla is mom to three boys (ages 4, 6, and 7), and can’t pass up any opportunity for fun family adventures.