Why the Aisles Were Empty at Rice Epicurean

WHY THE AISLES WERE EMPTY AT RICE EPICUREAN Would warehouse facilities have worked as well? Katherine Shilcutt explains: “A long-running joke with many Houstonians is that no one quite knew how Rice Epicurean Markets stayed in business. . . . While all kinds of wild rumors flew about how Rice Epicurean stores stayed open despite a lack of traffic, the truth is that most of its customers — which tend to be both older and wealthier — opted for grocery delivery service at home. And while this sustained Rice Epicurean for many years, it appears that this model wasn’t quite enough to keep its stores in business.” The chain’s lone surviving store, at 2020 Fountain View between San Felipe and Inwood, will continue home deliveries. [Eating Our Words; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Rice Epicurean, 3745 Westheimer at Weslayan: Wikimedia Commons

11 Comment


  • I do almost all my grocery shopping at Rice. I don’t mind paying extra for the convenience. I’ll pay $10 extra to not have to wait in line behind the coupon using, check writing slow poke ladies at Randall’s.

  • I wondered too. I haven’t been in one of these since 1987. I’ve never seen a full parking lot next to one these stores.

  • FYI:Katherine Schilcutt / Swamplot or whomever got it wrong. Rice Epicurean has THREE locations – 5016 San Felipe@ Post Oak Lane ,3745 Westheimer@Willowick,and 12515 Memorial Dr. Do your FACT CHECK ,Swamplot! I agree about the slow check writing customers @ Randalls(actually other stores also).Haven’t people heard of debit cards? Oy Vey.

  • Patrick, the one on Fountain View exists, I promise.

  • Patrick, I went inside of the Rice on Fountain View a few days ago. Or was that a Fiesta? No, maybe it could have been a Food Land. Wait a minute, I know it must have been an Eddie V’s.

  • I moved to Houston in 1988, and have shopped fairly exclusively at Rice Epicurean since that time. I am neither elderly, nor wealthy, but appreciate the flawless customer service their stores provide. Employees are helpful, knowledgeable and friendly unlike most at the big box chains, where the cashiers are too busy talking to one another to even address you while checking out your groceries. I am thankful the Fountain View store is staying open at least for a while. If they ever close I guess I’ll starve. Thank you to all the Rice Epicurean employees.

  • Patrick, there is most definitely a Rice Epicurean Market on Holcombe (at Kirby).

  • I went inside one once…was turned off by what I considered exorbitant prices, and never looked back.

  • jgriff, you were paying a lot more than $10 extra.

  • I believe that the point was that the Fountainview location will be the only remaining Rice Epicurian in the whole wide world come January. Before my father died, he insisted for years on shopping at Rice on Saturday morning. I think he thought of it much in the way he thought of the Voss Rd. Randall’s before the family sold out. It was a social event and not a procurement mission.