RI’s Secret Gourmet Store

You probably think I’m going to write up some little charming food boutique in a hidden corner of the state. Wrong – it’s a store that you’ve probably already seen. Even more, it’s a chain: Ocean State Job Lot.

Job Lot has been around since the late 70s and sells items unwanted by the manufacturer or stores, like overstocks and overruns. This includes everything from clothing to tools and, as you can guess by my title, food.

Since my first visit a few years ago, the store has become a regular stop in my shopping rotation. Sometimes I pick up staples there, but often I go for the unusual and international products.

My top Job Lot food picks (in no particular order):

1. Teddie Natural Peanut Butter – This natural (non-homogenized, peanut only) peanut butter is delicious and usually around $2 a jar.

2. Gnocchi – Vacuum-packed soft gnocchi are available with or without herbs for only $1. These cook up in minutes and are a tasty alternative to the usual pastas.

3. Israeli Couscous – If you haven’t had Israeli couscous, it’s a larger version of the usual small grains. I’ve seen it in restaurants now and then, but it’s pretty rare – and expensive – in stores. Job Lot’s $1 packages disappear from the shelves fairly quickly.

Danish Garden jam

4. Danish Garden Jams – These jams from Denmark come in a huge blue bucket for only $2. My favorites are the blackcurrant and raspberry. The low-sugar versions don’t have artificial sweeteners, just less sugar, so they are the perfect consistency for stirring into yogurt. Lately we’ve found smaller jars with more exotic flavors, like strawberry mango and orange pineapple with lime and carrot.

5. Dried Figs – catch them in stock and you can get the traditional ring of figs for only $1. If you’re even luckier, you might find luxurious bags of soft miniature mission figs. Also check out other dried fruits like dates and apricots.

It’s hard to stop there. Some of my other Job Lot finds include Apfelschorle, crispbreads and crackers, Lindt truffle bars with flavors like cherry-chili and guava, oh…I could go on and on!

Do you frequent Job Lot? What do you usually buy?

13 thoughts on “RI’s Secret Gourmet Store”

  1. I knew it!
    I love Job Lot. I buy trail mix, jam, mustards, olives, and pasta there – they usually have De Cecco for $1.00. I found these wide egg noodles and made them with butter, salt, fresh ground pepper and romano cheese – sort of like a papardelle cacio e pepe.
    I recently bought some high thread count sheets and some gym socks with little strawberries on them.
    And they always have cheap cleaning stuff too. Job Lot rocks.

  2. Interestingly, Job Lot has made it up here to the sticks of NH. Newport, NH (better known as “Where?”) has one, although it’s not as well stocked as the actual Ocean State ones. I usually get Bahlsen Hit Cookies and random pasta.

    (my Captcha says “Senate deadbeats”. Odd)

  3. Between my boyfriend and I, we cover quite a few. The ones I visit most often are in Cranston – on 2 near the exit off 10 – and in Seekonk on route 6. But I’ve also gone to the one near N. Main in Pawtucket and one in Warren.

    But I have to hold back sometimes! I think we have more jars of jam than I have pairs of socks at this point! (It has a designated shelf in the cabinet).

  4. Oh, I totally miss the Job Lot. I used to love milling around there especially for little trinkets around the holidays. I haven’t been inside one for over 10 years!

    Thanks for dropping me a line about the biscotti, Stephanie. Aren’t they amazing? Seriously, that is the BEST recipe. I think they taste even better when you make them at home. Plus you get to eat all the crumbs. 🙂

  5. I’m glad you saw my comment! I can’t wait to try the biscotti recipe. They are totally different from the kind I’m used to making.

  6. I once chanced upon a heartbreakingly perfect Thai chili sauce with garlic at the Cranston Job Lot for a measly $1. I wish I’d bought them out, because (of course) I’ve never seen the brand again and subsequent cut-price chili-garlic sauces I’ve bought haven’t measured up at all. Sigh.

    The Cranston one does have a lot of really good Thai and Korean stuff, usually.

  7. I go to Below Cost in Cranston quite a bit. I usually come away with virgin olive oil at cheap prices, anchovies, Nutella, pasta, bottled pasta sauce, bottled roast peppers, Italian Arborio rice.

  8. I love that Garris called it “OSJL”… that’s why my girlfriend and I call it! We get dried cranberries, nuts… trail mix type stuff there.

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