My Mariano’s

After working as a grocery store bagger and cashier throughout high school, I feel like I know a TON about grocery stores.  I pride myself on packing my reusable bags perfectly, no matter how oddly shaped my items are, and still remember the codes for tons of produce.  Bananas?  4011.  Red grapes?  4023.  Impressive, I know.  And I am glad to say that I have found an AMAZING grocery store that pays just as close attention to details like I did as a grocery store clerk–Mariano’s.


Mariano’s is an up and coming company throughout Chicagoland and is slowly expanding by building stores in the Midwest.  Roundy’s is the company that owns Mariano’s, but each store has a neighborhood feel and has something special that makes it unique from its other sister stores.  We usually go to the Mariano’s in Arlington Heights, but have also frequented the locations in Park Ridge and Bucktown and absolutely love both–as do my kiddos.


A Kid Friendly Store

Why do my kids love Mariano’s?  There are many reasons why:  the car carts, “tryouts,” amazing cookie and cake display cases (and the occasional free cookie that the bakers tend to give out), the pianist….the list goes on and on.  But we especially love going to Mariano’s on the weekends because there is always a craft to do on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  It is such a great idea because you can have one parent check out while the other takes the kiddos to complete the craft, or you can make the craft with your kiddos after they do a great job behaving during checkout.  Bribery at its finest, huh?


I highly recommend looking into the kids’ programs that your local grocery stores hold, and if they don’t have any, ask them to provide it.  The store managers seem to love when the kids are smiling and happy, which leads to parents who love going to their store because it provides fun for the whole family.


Current Events

Mariano’s is our favorite egg hunt destination because it is a fun way to search for eggs while staying warm and dry (and with coffee in hand for mama).  This Saturday, April 4th, all 30 Chicaoland Mariano’s locations will be hosting their Easter egg hunt at 7:30 AM.  I highly recommend that you get there early in order to get a lay of the land and enjoy the fun festivities that the stores have to offer.


During the hunt, the kids are divided into age groups so that everyone is ensured a fun experience while hunting for 2,000 egs. There are photo ops with the fluffy bunny himself and prizes for the top egg collectors.  Everyone wins if you attend because of the delicious and complimentary coffee and donuts that are provided (and those lucky parents in Bucktown will be offered mimosas–score!).

Happy Grocery Shopping!

Looking for other info about grocery stores that cater to kids?  How about other crafts to do at home?

–Amanda 🙂


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  1. Linda says

    Oh great ideas about kids’ programs at grocery stores. My store rarely have those programs so i will definitely ask next time i am there. One time i saw the billboard about farmers teaching kids how and where vegetables and fruits grows (my lack of remembering things we didn’t get to go). I love these “try out” appetizers, I always take one or two (maybe three! haha)

  2. Alli says

    I didn’t know that grocery stores offered kids’ programs. What a great idea. I want to shop at your grocery story – free cookies, piano music . . . I’ve never seen anything like that in my grocery store.

  3. Jeanine says

    Sounds like a great place! I haven’t heard of Marianos before, we don’t have one all the way here in Toronto! But I do love hearing about other stores, and perks others get. Makes me hope for something of the like to come here. Would be pretty fantastic! We had a grocery store that gave out cookies years ago, but that stopped for some reason and now there’s nothing like it around!

    • amandasimkin says

      Do you have a super market called Roundy’s in Toronto? That is the parent company of my beloved Mariano’s. 🙂

  4. Adrienne says

    I want one of these stores in Texas! Chicago gets all of the cool stuff. Do they give free cookies to adults?? Lol I’ll be in Chicago in May and I will definitely be checking this place out!

  5. Nancy says

    I was never a grocery bagger, but I’ve come to notice that the code on bananas never change. So whenever I go through self-check outs I always enter the 4011 code too. Everything else though, I need to look up. But it’s fun to enter it quickly as if I knew what I was doing Hahaha.

    By the way your photos on the blog aren’t loading for me! 🙁

  6. Hezzi-D says

    Wow! This sounds like an awesome grocery store. I love that they do crafts on Saturday and Sunday mornings, what fun! It’s also so cool that they have a piano player, I would love that.

  7. Life as a Convert says

    Sounds like a great place! By “tryouts” do you mean samples? My son was just asking me today “What day is sample day?” He wanted some yummy food that our local store offers.

    • amandasimkin says

      Yep, in our family we call them “try outs.” It was a phrase my kid sister started over 10 years ago, so I taught it to my boys so they could be just like their beloved Auntie. 🙂

  8. michelle h says

    I love when grocery shopping is an entire experience instead of just a chore to get done. This stores sounds amazing. My sister came to visit me from the country a few weeks ago and she honestly stood in the upstairs of the grocery store a little afraid to go in any further. She just kept telling me a grocery store should not be a mall. I couldn’t stop laughing.

  9. Aprill says

    A kids’ program in a grocery store? What a neat concept! That and the crafts gives it a community feel, which is definitly something we need in the world. Thanks for highlighing this store!

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