UPDATE 2015-12-31: West Point Market is closed. Sigh.
West Point Market is the original, and best, gourmet grocery store in Akron. When I first got into cooking, this was where I went when I couldn't find an ingredient at my local megamart.
OK, truth be told, I started going here because of their wine department. It's amazing. I kept coming for the gourmet groceries.
I don't shop here for all my groceries. They are more expensive than other stores in the area. That's because buying the best is never cheap. If the quality of the ingredients really matter, this is usually the first place I think of.
An example: A friend recently asked where I would go to get heirloom tomatoes. It's a little early in the year for them in Northeastern Ohio (it's early July), so I was going to suggest they try a different recipe that doesn't need them. Then I remembered West Point. If anyone would have decent tomatoes out of season, they would.
Sure enough, they had them.
CLOSED: West Point Market
1711 W Market St
My top five list of favorite things they sell are, in no particular order:
1. Wine: West Point Market has the best wine selection in our area. The sales staff is knowledgeable and approachable - the wines can be snobby, but the people definitely aren't. Tell them what you want, and what price range you're looking at, and they'll help you find whatever you need. This is where I go when I need a specific type of wine. I know they'll have it. The few times I've needed a specific bottle of wine, they've been able to order it.
*Say, a Silver Oak 1997 Anderson Valley Cabernet to remind you of a trip you once took to wine country...
2. Meat department: Prime beef. Kobe beef. If you want the highest quality beef, this is where to go
4. Seafood department: They care about their fish. When I want the freshest fish I can find, I go here. I once watched the girl behind the fish counter pick out individual mussels for me; I'm used to being handed the bag and being on my own from there to figure out if they were good or not.
[Update 1/5/2010 - Sadly, the fish department has been combined with the meat department. It's still high quality, but the selection is much smaller than it used to be.]
5. They Have Everything: West Point stocks specialty ingredients for almost every type of ethnic cuisine. Their stock doesn't run as deep as what you can find in a market specializing in a particular cuisine, and it's a little more expensive. But... when I need a good Olive Oil, some fig balsamic vinegar, a few dried ancho chili peppers, spanish tuna packed in olive oil, real prosciutto, and barbecue sauce from South Carolina, I know where I can go to find it all under one roof.
While you're there sample the fresh-made guacamole in the produce department. It's almost always there, and I can see why. I'm a fan of making my own guacamole, but theirs is really, really good.
*Oh, and I forgot the bakery - the Killer Brownies are exactly what the name says.
Here's the map: