You know the phenomenon where, when you live in a city, you sometimes take for granted all its attractions? It’s not intentional — these places just fall off the radar. Jungle Jim’s recently resurfaced on my radar for grabbing national attention (again!) as one of the top (Also, for its Cheese Fest… how cool is that?!)
The grocery giant was ranked sixth on The Daily Meal’s 2017 Best Grocery Stores list. This roundup featured all the big names across the country — and Cincinnati’s very own superstore came in sixth! That same week, I noticed a link being shared around Facebook, touting Jungle Jim’s as one of the top 5 best places in the country to buy beer, according to RateBeer.
So, Jungle Jim’s had grabbed my attention — so I grabbed my toddler and set off to explore this wondrous land of international foods and brewed beverages. I hadn’t been in awhile — and it kind of took my breath away! From the incredible natural foods selection, to the toys, to the produce from every country, to the bakery (they have local favorites, like Busken and Servatti and Blue Oven!), to the Willy Wonka-esque candy store, Jungle Jim’s got my attention. And I definitely won’t forget about it anytime soon! Here are 5 reasons Cincinnati Parents need to shop at Jungle Jim’s:
You’ll be excited to go grocery shopping
From the moment we pulled into the parking lot, shopping at Jungle Jim’s was an experience. I grabbed a cart and was literally lured into the store a la the automatic door/conveyor belt. There was a race car over the entry, which my son loved. In fact, there was lots of visual interest at Jungle Jim’s, from pop culture characters to a fortune teller (statue) to vehicles perched above the aisles. It was all very exciting! And fun.
You’ll be healthier
Want to get your kids eating more veggies? Take them to Jungle Jim’s! The produce section is incredible. In addition to aisles of favorite fruits and vegetables, there’s an international produce area that was so much fun to peruse. Harvey picked some baby bananas off the shelf that my kids later enjoyed for an after-school snack. I grabbed some of the ripest mangoes I’ve ever seen for my husband. You’ll be totally entranced by the rainbow of natural deliciousness at Jungle Jim’s. (Oh, and you’ll also get a great walking workout hoofing through the store!)
Your kids will get an education
In addition to the aforementioned produce (which, my son was eagerly pointing to and asking about), you can visit every country at Jungle Jim’s. The international foods are no joke — you’ll find Chinese noodles and spices, in Chinese! Whatever cuisine you’d like to cook, you can find everything at Jungle Jim’s. It would be really fun to have older kids pick a new recipe, then head to this grocery store to find the ingredients.
You’ll be dazzled
At 2.5, Harvey want to do everything himself. When we first got in the store, he insisted he walk. However, he quickly asked to ride in the cart, because he was totally dazzled by everything — the food, the decorations, the scale of it all. I was, too; I found myself aimlessly wandering and browsing every shelf. I can be very efficient with my grocery shopping, but I found myself slowly savoring the experience. We are vegan, and the natural foods area had products I’d only ever read about, because they aren’t available at my usual grocery stores. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time for lollygagging.
You can literally be a kid in a candy store
The candy section at Jungle Jim’s is like something out of Willy Wonka’s wildest dreams. There are jelly beans in every flavor, a rainbow row of bulk gumballs, comically large candy, Pez dispensers for the Pez collector who has everything and candy from your childhood you’d forgotten about (French Chews! I loved to eat those at summer swim meets.) The only downside here is that it’s very hard to exercise self control — so be warned!
Jungle Jim’s is a true Cincinnati treasure. To have a place with food from all over the world — really, every food imaginable — right here in the Southwestern Ohio, is such an incredible thing. Take your kids and be dazzled. You’ll probably be adding Jungle Jim’s to your regular grocery store rotation.
Jungle Jim’s has two locations in Greater Cincinnati: Eastgate (4450 Eastgate South Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45245) and Fairfield (5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, OH 45014). For more information, visit their website here.