As the entire Metroplex knows, a new H-E-B opened in Frisco on Wednesday, with 1,500 people waiting in line, some as long as 12 hours, to get in for the grand opening. While I didn’t queue up, I did suggest to my boyfriend that we make a date of it this weekend, a 45-minute drive (when there isn’t heavy traffic) to check it out and get some freshly baked tortillas and True Texas BBQ.”
During the lockdown days of the pandemic, when most of us only ventured out to the grocery store, I started making monthly trips to H-E-B in Waxahachie to do my shopping. Heading that far south of Dallas is also about a 45-minute (and over 40-mile) drive from where I live. But it’s not like there was anything else to do — going to H-E-B became a real treat.
The lack of H-E-B stores has been a bummer for me and so many others in DFW. Growing up in Texas, I don’t remember there being a cult around H-E-B in Houston and Dallas. But when I lived in San Antonio for a few years in the early 2010s, H-E-B quickly became the only place I would grocery shop.
The habit of hitting H-E-B in Waxahachie or stopping there to stock up when I visit my parents down in Conroe has stuck since things opened back up. I get my dog food there because my dog loves the rosemary lamb wet food that only Hill Country, one of the five in-house store brands, makes. I like to get a whole month’s worth of meats there because those thin-sliced chicken breasts and perfect individual portions of pork chops make meal prep easy. A Texas honey-scented candle from H-E-B sits on my bedside table. H-E-B’s San Antonio-blend coffee frequently fills my cup.
The scarcity of H-E-B stores in the Metroplex makes going to one an event. I find myself stopping at the H-E-B in Huntsville to grab a sushi lunch, some chips, and a bottle of wine before I visit my cousins in East Texas — you must have something to nosh while you soak in a stock tank pool. On road trips, I’ve had to stop myself from suggesting we pop into H-E-Bs in Corsicana, Waco, and Granbury so I can stock up real quick on store brand stuff so I won’t have to make a whole trip to get it another time.
There’s another H-E-B planned this fall for Plano, which is even closer to Dallas. That will certainly make going to Texas’s favorite grocery store more convenient. It won’t make it less special.