JONS Fresh Marketplace is the best kept secret in Torrance, California + recipe

Since March 1977, JONS Marketplace has been a family-owned grocery store chain with 14 locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. In May 2016, JONS introduced its new format, JONS Fresh Marketplace, in Torrance. It is also their first location in South Bay. This full-service grocery store chain is special. They carry all the regular household items you would find at a regular grocery store, plus a huge variety of imported fine foods from around the world. If there is a hard to find ingredient for a recipe you are making, you are likely to find it at JONS.

Here is a tour of JONS Fresh Marketplace in Torrance. Each department has all the imported food products integrated within each aisle. For example, imported jellies, jams, and preserves will be found by their domestic counterparts like Welch’s. You won’t have to search around in the “international” aisle like most other grocery stores.

They have a full-service deli where you can buy sliced meats, cheese, salads, sides, and more. You can even order a sandwich made just how you like it with meats that you might not be able find anywhere else.

The Torrance location also has a full-service bakery with freshly made layered cakes, strawberry shortcake, brownies, tiramisu, and even Eastern European desserts.

A mainstay for the area is the BBQ counter. It has been part of this building since the last two stores that occupied the space. 

It has a huge following in the area so JONS decided, not only to keep it up and running, but even added more options for locals to try. 

They also have Santa Maria-style BBQ available on the weekends (weather permitting), grilled up fresh in the morning. The aroma of BBQ alone will lead you here!

Medi-Eastern European Casserole by OC Food Diva

As I toured Jon Fresh Marketplace, I discovered their huge variety of foods used in Mediterranean and Eastern European cuisine. This recipe is inspired by those regions combining comfort food dishes like stuffed cabbage (one of my dad’s tasty meals that he would prepare for us when we were growing up and a Polish comfort food dish), goulash (Hungarian stew), kefta (one of my favorite Mediterranean skewered meats), and tahdig (Persian rice with a crispy golden browned bottom).

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 cups uncooked Sadaf jasmine or basmati rice
1 cup beef stock
1½ cups water
10 cabbage leaves
6 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes, one soft for the meat mixture and one firm for thin slicing
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 lb Superior Farms ground lamb
4 tsp Falk Salt Wild Garlic Salt Flakes or 2 tsp table salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp JONS Hungarian paprika
½ tsp JONS caraway seeds
1 tsp red chili pepper flakes, optional for spicier dish
2 medium size red potatoes
4 tbsp Mletkovita butter
1 cup Shepherds of Cypress Halloumi Cheese, grated
Karoun Labneh cheese for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and start double boiler/steamer.
  2. Cook 2 cups of rice with beef stock and water.
  3. Unfold cabbage leaves, about half of the head. Steam until tender but not mushy (just enough so leaves can be laid flat). Set aside.
  4. Dice onion, garlic, bell pepper, and 1 ripe tomato. Set aside
  5. In a large pot, brown ground beef, pork, and lamb. Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, tomato, paprika, caraway seeds, salt, and black pepper. Simmer until liquid starts to thicken.
  6. With a mandolin, thinly slice potatoes and 1 tomato. Set aside.
  7. Grate cheese and set aside.
  8. When rice is cooked, add melted butter to rice and toss to coat.
  9. In a 9 x 12 baking dish, press half of the rice into the bottom of the pan, making sure it is tightly packed.
  10. Layer 1/3 of meat mixture on top of rice.
  11. Layer thinly sliced potatoes on top of meat mixture.
  12. Layer 1/3 of meat mixture on top of potatoes.
  13. Layer cabbage on top of meat mixture.
  14. Layer remaining meat mixture on top of cabbage.
  15. Mix cheese into remaining rice and layer on top of meat mixture.
  16. Place thinly sliced tomato on top of rice.
  17. Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese and rice on the top and bottom layers are golden brown.
  18. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares, garnish with a dollop of labneh, and serve.

I hope you have a chance to explore JONS Fresh Marketplace and try my recipe!

For more information:
JONS Fresh Marketplace
4848 W. 190th St.
Torrance, CA 90503
Hours: Daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Parking: Free parking

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  1. whoa!! So it's sort of like a local AND world market in one! And wow, they don't have that many locations. I mean, only 14 locations seems small-scale compared to like Whole Foods or something similar. But good to know there are other chains out there to look out for!

    Your casserole looks delicious by the way!

    1. You got it! And for a market with imported foods, the prices are amazing! The prices are much lower than Whole Foods. I think their smaller scale helps them procure the products defined by the population around each location. This new concept in Torrance is actually helping recognize the different imported products and showcase them to the consumer, rather than hiding them in the "international" aisle. Hope you get to visit soon to check it out. :)


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