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There's a new food shopping option in town—or at least in Maplewood. Gordon Food Service, or GFS Marketplace, has been in St. Peters and Fairview Heights, Ill. for a while. But now there's one in the Deer Creek Shopping Center, next to McAlister's Deli.
Think of it as crossbreeding between warehouse clubs and Restaurant Depot. (And haven't you always wanted to go in that place?) But it's smaller, no miles of aisles, at least at this location. The majority of the foodstuffs are in large volumes, although in some cases not impossibly so for home use. Still, a 10-inch jar of fennel seed isn't going in the cart for most shoppers. But farther down that aisle are boxes of baking mix for cookies, biscuits, and so on that aren't too big to consider. Many are under the house brand, found throughout the store.
In fact, anyone who has a large family, entertains at home, runs a snack stand at a soccer game or intermittently needs to provide refreshments for a meeting will walk into here and find possibilities. In addition to edibles and drinkables, there are plenty of party-sized trays and serving dishes, and disposable aluminum pans of all sizes, not just huge . Loaf pans that would have made nice mini-fruitcakes this past holiday season, for instance, are among the offerings and are sold individually rather than in quantity. Coffee urns that bring to mind Garrison Keillor's hot-dish suppers are here; so are two-packs of chafing dishes, including the wire racks, water containers and food containers, and flammable heat sources, for under $20.
It's in the freezer cases that some may find treasures and others a mild paranoia. Lots and lots of prepared entrees and sides, enough to make one wonder How many restaurants use this stuff? And then there are smaller fresh dairy cases, some produce and some meat, including what look like giant salamis but which are actually chubs of hamburger.
The few individual items that I've looked at closely for price comparisons seem not far off local supermarkets - 2% milk gallons, for instance, Eagle Brand condensed milk, and butter are roughly comparable.
The employees are pleasant, and there's help carrying these monsters to the car if needed. Maybe not an every week stop, but hugely useful under the right circumstances.
3200 Laclede Station
Hours: Mon-Sat, 7:00 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sun, noon - 5 p.m.