In Praise of Rainbow Foods


I don't mean to circle back to the running theme of moving house from Uptown to Longfellow, but it's hard to avoid. We eat local whether we like it or not, and restaurants and grocery stores are clear windows into what a given neighborhood is really "like."

Along those lines: There were three grocery stores (that I knew of/frequented) in Uptown. Lunds, which was typically frequented by white, well-to-do older people. Kowalski's, which was typically frequented by white, well-to-do younger people. And the ill-maintained Rainbow on Lake Street, which was frequented by... everybody else.

For various reasons, my wife and I eventually wound up doing most of our non farmer's market shopping at a large Cub Foods about four miles to west. This was not an ideal solution.

Now we're living in Longfellow, and I've discovered a completely different aspect to the clean, well-stocked Rainbow up on Lake Street and Minnehaha. It's frequented by... everyone. White, black, Asian, Middle Eastern — the struggling, the middle-class, the wealthy — old, young, middle-aged — name a category, and a representative is probably strolling the aisles somewhere.

I like it. Let me restate that. I love it. It reminds me of moving to Brooklyn, riding the subway, and realizing that everybody takes the subway to get everywhere. There are a lot of things to dislike about modern America, and one of the most annoying is that folks tend to separate from one another, centrifuging apart into places where we don't even need to look at someone from a different race and/or economic class, let alone do business with them.