Desi Brothers (Bloomington, MN)

Here is the latest in my series of looks at grocery stores in the Twin Cities metro that serve the area’s immigrant communities. In January I posted a look at one of the metro’s most established South Asian groceries, Pooja Grocers—way up in Hilltop. Here now is a look at a more recent arrival in the south metro. It is located in Bloomington, in the same general complex at the intersection of Penn Ave. and American Blvd. that is also home to Itton Ramen. And, indeed, we stopped in there after our lunch at Itton Ramen a couple of weeks ago. That lunch disappointed more than a little but I am glad to say that the market did not.

Desi Brothers has been just over two years in this location. Those of you who frequent South Asian groceries in the general area will remember that there used to be another Indian store located in this spot: Bharat Bazaar. I posted a look at them in the immediate pre-pandemic era (ah, February 2020). I noted at the end of that report that the store had seemed in some disarray, with staffing problems. I guess they didn’t make it to the end of the year. Under new ownership this is now a branch of the Texas-based Desi Brothers chain. I like the name, even if I don’t understand why they call themselves a “farmers market”.

The store is about the size of TBS Mart, our current south metro favourite and is laid out very well. In terms of stock, they carry very similar items—though each has brands of packaged masalas and spices that the other does not carry. There are a few differentiators, however. Desi Brothers’ vegetable section is far superior, with a larger variety of things available. On the other hand, while Desi Brothers does have a frozen fish section (an improvement on the vegetarian emphasis of Bharat Bazaar), this selection is not as large as TBS Mart’s, and nor do they carry any meat. Nor, of course, do they have TBS Mart’s killer app: Afghan breads. You can get samosas—we got some to eat later in the day with tea and they were fine. Which store you choose to go to may come down to what you are mostly looking for. If I am out looking for just vegetables I might come to Desi Brothers; if not, I’ll continue my loyalty to TBS Mart (and Mantra Bazar in Apple Valley).

For a look at the store and what they carry, click on a picture below to launch a truly excessive slideshow. Let me know if you have any questions about anything pictured in it (or if you’re wondering if they have something not pictured int it) and I’ll try to answer as best as I can. And if you shop there already, let me know what your favourite buys are.

Do let me know as well if you know of other new(er) South Asian groceries in the Twin Cities metro.

Alright, I am back from Seoul. Last week I concluded my restaurant reports from our Southern California trip in December. The next push will be to get all my Delhi and Goa reports from January out. Reports from Seoul will begin to show up soon too. And I will also get back to Twin Cities restaurant reports—I should have one next Tuesday, though I have no idea yet what it might cover.



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