It's likely the term "ghetto Ralphs" will cease to be part of the San Clemente vernacular now that the supermarket on El Camino Real has re-opened with its new renovations.
Complete with a copper-domed towner, a grand foyer with broad, plate-glass windows and polished concrete floors, the new Ralphs hosted hundreds of shoppers and gawkers Friday with its grand opening.
"This is what you get when you don't settle for what's not right," said Georgette Korsen, San Clemente Historical Society president.
She was referring to the more than three years of wrangling between the developer, the city and various local groups and individuals; an original plan for the Ralphs renovation included a three-story parking garage and retail frontage, which the city shot down.
Now, however, the majority of residents seem to be happy with the design. The aisles were packed, and the deli was serving up sandwiches made of Boar's Head deli meats. Signs around the store boasted organic and locally-grown produce.
As if to underscore the market's newfound classiness, Ralphs management even hired a pianist to provide background music for shoppers.