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Food & Drink

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Besides props for being the biggest grocery chain both downtown and in East St. Louis, the Friendliest Stores in Town deserve recognition for the genius way they hawk booze, turning any ho-hum shopping trip into a potential party. Any bozo knows that sticking a bag of tortilla chips next to the salsa increases the chance that a customer will buy both, but Schnucks takes this to a whole new level when it comes to subtly encouraging boozy shenanigans: In some stores you'll find Ping-Pong balls casually hanging out near the beer coolers and, in others, small plastic "gelatin" containers just opposite the bright bottles of flavored vodkas. (Beer pong not your thing? Howzabout Jell-O shots, then?) Free cocktail samples are a welcome sight every now and then, and last winter Kyjuan and Murphy Lee autographed bottles of their Freaky moscato in the U. City outpost's erstwhile video department. And why settle for a twelve-pack when you could get a keg and invite the neighbors over? Options abound, from the local (Schlafly) to the higher-end (Stella Artois) -- just consult the extensive keg-beer list posted in the liquor department. Schnucks really does make it get your swerve on.

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