The first time I visited Ikea I was amazed and amused. That feeling lasted for about an hour and a half. Then I reached my retail tolerance level. Like a kid locked in a candy factory I had overindulged. Listen, I admit the place is cool and has some great inexpensive flat box furniture. Cookware and linens and just about anything you need for the house displayed in mountains of merchandise. In order to to make it a real pleasant experience you gotta have a strategy. Go on a weekday if possible. You can park closer and not feel like you're part of a sea of people on a forced march . Arm yourself with map (available at the entrance). Study it and look for the short cuts to the kind of merchandise you want. Otherwise they rat trap you into walking the whole distance of the store. Unless your a marathon person, pick your route carefully.
Fortify yourself. This is food blog after all. There is a couple of choices. Upstairs is the fancier restaurant. They serve big portions of food at extremely low prices. For about $5 dollars you can choose a number of healthy looking platters. I've tasted the Swedish meatballs and gravlox plates and both are excellent. For breakfast you get the full on American egg, bacon and taters for about $2.
On this visit we tried the snack bar located on the first level near the checkstand. Hot dogs at fifty cents seemed to good to be true. They tasted good albeit a little on the small side. The meal deal $3 gives you two hot dogs, a refillable drink and a ginormous bag of exceptional chips. If you got a sweet tooth cinnamon buns are $1 a piece or six for $4. There is also a number of Swedish products available to take home. The meatballs served upstairs come frozen so you can take them home for quick meal.
You have got to wonder if the food is loss leader to get people into the store. With prices this cheap and the quality so good I'm sure it attracts crowds just for the food. Out there in Google land I read about pensioners in England who used the restaurant to help make ends meet on a fixed income. Beats the heck out of a lot of our fast food joints.
Top my photo, bottom Ikea photo. Where's a food stylist when you need one?
Ok, that's $3 for food and $289 for furniture. Dine on a dime? Maybe not.