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For many Costco members, a visit to the popular warehouse store isn’t complete without a trip to their food court. Whether it’s a gargantuan slice of saggy, cheesy pizza, a somewhat mysterious chicken bake, or an ice cream sundae, the food here always seems to taste amazing after an hours-long jaunt through the Costco gauntlet. But what exactly is the deal with the prepared food Costco sells? We’ve got the answers to all your Costco food court questions.
If the food court is located inside the Costco, then it’s sadly reserved for just members. (You can always ask the doorman to let you in, but good luck.) But if it’s located outside, as it is in some warmer-climate locales, then it’s open to the general public.
While the menu may be dependable, it isn’t always exactly the same as it was years ago. The options may be limited, but the company likes to mix it up by keeping one spot open for rotating items. These have included a turkey wrap, carne asada bake, hot turkey and provolone, and barbecue beef brisket sandwich.
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Those pizzas are marvels of technology. First, balls of dough are lightly hand-stretched and run through a sheeter. Then, they’re spread out on a tray and docked for even cooking. The trays are then placed onto a machine that evenly applies sauce, cheese is added, and finally they’re baked. You can watch the whole process here.
Travel to foreign countries and you’ll find that the menu always has a few special items. There’s a bulgogi bake in Japan, poutine and Montreal smoked meat in Canada, meat pie in Australia, jacket potatoes and cottage pie in the U.K., and in Hawaii (still a part of the U.S.), you’ll find saimin, a local noodle soup.
Those chicken bakes (seriously, can you find those things anywhere else on earth?) are actually pretty easy to make: Roll out some pizza dough, spread Caesar dressing on it, add grilled and sliced chicken breasts, mozzarella, bacon, and green onion, roll it all up, top it with some more Caesar dressing and shredded Parmesan, and bake. That Caesar dressing gives it a salty, creamy kick, and as it’s the same dressing that you get with the Caesar salad you can ask for a packet on the side if you want extra.
Costco sells about 100 million hot dogs annually, which is four times more than what’s sold at Major League baseball ballparks all season. The low price is one of the reasons why so many sell, and the chain does everything in its power to keep the prices down. In 2013, they switched to selling all Pepsi products after Coca-Cola increased their prices, and in 2009, they switched from Hebrew National to Kirkland Signature (its private label brand) in order to avoid raising prices as well.
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Costco is testing out selling burgers at a handful of locations in Southern California and around the Seattle area. According to the company, they’re made with "organic ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato, with our own special sauce on a brioche style bun," with third-pound patties. They clock in at $4.99 each, and if they sell well you can expect to find them at a Costco near you in March 2018. Just don’t ask for fries – Costco food courts don’t have deep fryers. Love trying new foods at Costco? Here are 17 Costco foods you might want to avoid.