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Wal-Mart Goes Tex-Mex

Wal-Mart has entered the highly competitive Hispanic grocery store category with a prototype on Long Point at Wirt. Supermercado de Wal-Mart opened its doors a month ago. The nation's biggest retailer is going up against the well-established Fiesta supermarket chain and HEB's Mi Tienda concept in Pasadena.

When you walk in the front door of the 39,000-square-foot store, the first thing you see is a bakery display stocked with fresh-baked Mexican pastries. There's a steam table taquería-style restaurant in the store that sells complete meals. The carnecería features popular Mexican meat cuts like marinated fajitas and ribbon-cut short ribs, milanesa, chuleta de cerdo and seasoned chicken. Produce includes lots of tropical fruits and chiles.

The quality and selection weren't very impressive on my quick run-through, but the prices were extremely low. Pastries were selling for forty cents. Marinated beef for fajitas was going for $2.98 a pound. Ever unable to resist a bargain, I dropped $15 on chuck steaks and marinated arrachera at the meat market.

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