Pro's Ranch Market: Contents of a Fiesta Under One Roof
Hey, readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.
Alex Rodriguez You can get goodies like these and much more at Pro's.
The Place: Pro's Ranch Market
The Food: Mexican grocery store and hot food counter
The Backstory: Chain of large Mexican-style indoor markets owned by an Italian family -- with seven locations in greater Phoenix, one of which is on la calle 16.
The Price: Groceries are comparable in price to a traditional store; Breakfast cost up to $3.49, lunch combos up to $5.99, tortas up to $5.99.
Pro's Ranch Market may very well be the sole reason I question why I didn't come to Phoenix sooner. Miami, where I live, has great grocery stores. We have a southeast chain called Publix - and I used to think you could get anything I wanted there. Til I visited Pro's.
Earlier this week, we stopped by Ranch Market to get a feel for the place. Pfft. Wait, who am I kidding? I'm there almost every day. Guilty as charged.
When we visited to take photos the other day, we were stopped by security and told that photography was not allowed inside the market, "We don't want anyone stealing [our] idea," the guard told me. I managed to give him my card, to show him I was legitimate, but still, I was sent to the corporate office to speak to a higher-up. I felt like an outlaw -- I just wanted to take some photos. Barbara Poggi, the Project Administrator of Pro's satellite corporate and regional office, explained that they're strict due to brand theft. "We like to control what's going around about the store," she said.
That makes sense, Ms. Poggi. If I was a brand thief, I'd want to steal Pro's market idea too.
In any case, the market, which takes up almost the entire block on the northeast corner of 16th street and Roosevelt, embodies "awesome."
Alex Rodriguez I like to think of the entrance as "The Pearly Gates".
You'll have to pinch yourself as you walk in. The inside of Pro's looks like a piñata exploded.
Alex Rodriguez Put on your party hats!
Of course, there's a whole lot more to Pro's than piñata candy.