Judging Tony's by its cover

So I'm walking around over at Tony's, just trying to get a feel for the place and the lay of the land. And it's nice, sure. There's ten kinds of barbecue sauce, so many different kinds of mustard that the shelving unit looks like my fridge at home on a busy week (thirty kinds of mustard and nothing else). The displays of fresh flowers by the front door make the space welcoming and the (oddly small) fresh produce section is nicely arranged.

But really? This is Denver. We might not have our own Trader Joe's, but god knows we've got farmer's markets and neighborhood markets and Whole Foods markets on every damn corner these days. We've got Marczyk's and Sunflower and we've already got, what? Three more Tony's locations in addition to this new one at 950 Broadway? So I am just not overly impressed by some pretty flowers and a whole lot of mustard.

But then my friend Joel makes an interesting observation: "You know, you can always tell a good market from a bad market by the kind of frozen pizzas they carry." And you know what? Joel is right.

It's not a foolproof system (like counting the bullfighting posters or pictures of Mexican wrestlers at a taqueria), but it's not a bad one either. And in Tony's case, it works.  Because what kind of frozen pizzas is Tony's stocking in the cooler?  Home Run Inn -- the best frozen pizzas out there, bar none.

It's almost enough to make up for the wall full of Stonewall Kitchen jellies.  Because that stuff?  Pure jam porn.  I'll take a bottle of local Colorado cherry jam any day.

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