A note from Darlene: Some women marry men who love beer. I married one who loves soda pop. Instead of doing a write-up on fast food, I had Paul write about Galco’s.
Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Highland Park was one of my first “foodie” destinations. I can’t quite recall what led Darlene and me there for the first time— was it a feature on Food Network? A food blog? Whispered rumors in a back alley? Whatever the origin, we ended up making Galco’s a “must-visit” spot any time we headed up to Los Angeles.
To say Galco’s has a robust soda selection is like saying Kim Kardashian might be a little bottom-heavy. Galco’s is packed to capacity with more than 500 varieties of soda, tonics, pop and fizzy soft drinks, all of which are in glass bottles. There you will likely find any regional soda you can think of, plus scores of new discoveries. Faygo, Thomas Kemper, Moxie, Nehi, Henry Weinhard’s, Nesbitt’s, Boylan, Dry, Jarritos, Hank’s, Fitz’s… plus more varieties of root beer, ginger beer, cream soda and sarsaparilla than my poor fingers can type.
Sure, they also have uncommon national brands, like RC Cola, Bubble Up and Jones. Check the labels on the bottles: many varieties are made with cane sugar instead of the more common and cheaper high-fructose corn syrup. Does that make a difference? Hell yes. Just try a bottle of Dr Pepper original formula (aka “Dublin Dr Pepper” — soda snobs know what I’m talking about). They usually carry it though I didn’t see it this time. Best to call ahead before you clear out the trunk and make the road trip.
I encourage you get a shopping cart and buy by the case. You can mix and match; sodas are priced per bottle, and prices vary by soda. A Faygo Grape will run $2.09 while a Cheerwine costs $1.69. The prices online are more expensive than in the store, but reasonable if you factor in cost to travel here (if you’re more than a couple hours’ drive away). Check out the cooler along the wall for icy cold singles (if you need a soda fix that very moment)! It’s the place to try new sodas or find long lost favorites.
Galco’s also has beer and wine, candy and a deli sandwich counter. Be sure to look for the graying, cherubic guy in the big red apron— that’s John Nese, the owner.
Galco’s Old World Grocery
aka Galco’s Soda Pop Stop
5702 York Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90042