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Trader Joe’s offers affordable lunch with new grab-and-go store Pronto: ‘Cheap and quick’

Trader Joes
Trader Joes

At this Trader Joe’s, the line is never long.

On Tuesday, the grocery store chain opened a grab-and-go store near its Union Square location at the site of what was once the beloved Trader Joe’s Wine Shop.

Called Trader Joe’s Pronto, it will offer affordable, lunch-friendly options for those looking to grab a quick bite so they don’t get stuck waiting in line with shoppers doing their large grocery haul.

Annie Bisnauth, Kim Berger and Renee Hong work near the 14th Street location and get their lunch from Trader Joe’s regularly, so they said the Pronto concept is “exactly what we’re looking for.”

“All the snacks, the salads, the sandwiches — this is everything we look at,” Hong, 38, told The Post on Tuesday.

Loyal Trader Joe’s customers Annie Bisnauth, Kim Berger and Renee Hong grab their favorites for lunch. Tamara Beckwith
Loyal Trader Joe’s customers Annie Bisnauth, Kim Berger and Renee Hong grab their favorites for lunch. Tamara Beckwith
Trader Joe’s Pronto is on 14th Street near Third Avenue. Tamara Beckwith
Trader Joe’s Pronto is on 14th Street near Third Avenue. Tamara Beckwith

Bisnauth, 25, said that when they shop for lunch at the main store, “the line is always crazy long…it’s all the way in the back.” Sometimes it moves quickly, but having a practical grab-and-go store is better for their busy work days.

And that’s exactly what prompted the chain to open Pronto inside the former Wine Shop, which shuttered abruptly in August 2022 after 15 years.

“Trader Joe’s Pronto is a one-of-a-kind extension of our store in Union Square,” a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s told The Post. “We feel this is the best use of this space and will allow us to carry more of the products our customers in this neighborhood purchase daily.”

There’s a wide variety of beverage options to grab at Trader Joe’s Pronto. Tamara Beckwith
There’s a wide variety of beverage options to grab at Trader Joe’s Pronto. Tamara Beckwith

Store Captain Shivana Omadath-Heetai told The Post that this concept was in the works as they looked for ways to expand the space of the regular store.

“This seemed like the best option we had, and I think it is. I think it will be really good,” she shared. “The goal is to make this more convenient as an extension of our store, so we have a lot of customer favorites and we’re hoping to alleviate some of the congestion for customers who want to buy larger quantities of items in the main store.”

The Union Square location tends to see NYU students along with workers popping in and out for lunch, so Omadath-Heetai believes the extension will be a big help.

During her Tuesday trip, Hong grabbed the microwaveable egg bites, a product similar to Starbucks’ egg bites.

“It’s also creative — it’s not just generic grocery store stuff. They have a lot of dupes but better and cheaper,” said Hong.

Berger, 25, added, “It’s cheaper and it’s a quick lunch right here.”

The idea is for shoppers to be able to stop by and grab a quick bite for lunch or dinner. Tamara Beckwith
The idea is for shoppers to be able to stop by and grab a quick bite for lunch or dinner. Tamara Beckwith
The grocery store chain actually has a long history with the name “Pronto.” Tamara Beckwith
The grocery store chain actually has a long history with the name “Pronto.” Tamara Beckwith

Trader Joe’s Pronto has pretty much anything you can eat on the run, sans grocery-particular staples such as milk, eggs and bread.

Customers will find plenty of salads, wraps, pre-packaged meals, fruits, soups, yogurts, a wide variety of drink options, dips, cookies, desserts, snacks, treats and some seasonal items.

Trader Joe’s Pronto’s grand opening is Tuesday. Tamara Beckwith
Trader Joe’s Pronto’s grand opening is Tuesday. Tamara Beckwith

“It’s a lot of the favorites that were used to them popping in for,” Omadath-Heetai explained. “I hope everyone enjoys the space, it’s the beginning of a lot of awesome things happening.”

And this Pronto location truly is one-of-a-kind.

“We do not have plans to open additional Trader Joe’s Pronto markets in New York or elsewhere in the country,” the Trader Joe’s spokesperson said.

The site of what was once the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop will now be the home of Trader Joe’s Pronto. Tamara Beckwith
The site of what was once the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop will now be the home of Trader Joe’s Pronto. Tamara Beckwith

The grocery store chain actually has a long history with the name “Pronto.”

Trader Joe’s is the successor to late founder Joe Coulombe’s chain of 18 convenience stores called Pronto Markets.

When he realized his shops couldn’t compete when the better-funded 7-Eleven came to Los Angeles in 1967, he infused his Pronto Markets with the national trends he saw — thus creating Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s Pronto’s grand opening is Tuesday but will be seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with six cash registers.