Jungle Jim's International Market What do you get when you cross a grocery store, an amusement park, and the United Nations? Jungle Jim's, a soon-to-be four-acre international food emporium outside Cincinnati, Ohio. NPR's Susan Stone braved the jungle to send an audio postcard.
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Jungle Jim's International Market

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Jungle Jim's International Market

Jungle Jim's International Market

In Ohio, an Amusement Park for Food Lovers

Jungle Jim's International Market

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1454546/1455565" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

James Bonaminio, a.k.a, Jungle Jim. His international market first started as a produce stand in a parking lot back in 1971. The "wizard" is just one of many costumes he wears around the store. Susan Stone, NPR hide caption

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Susan Stone, NPR

What do you get when you cross a grocery store, an amusement park, and the United Nations? Jungle Jim's, a soon-to-be four-acre international food emporium outside Cincinnati, Ohio. NPR's Susan Stone braved the jungle to send an audio postcard.

Fiberglass giraffes and monkeys protect the parking lot; a talking Robin Hood beckons shoppers to British delicacies, and a lion dressed like Elvis serenades the checkout line. And then there's Jungle Jim — a.k.a. Jim Bonaminio — dressed in a blue wizard's outfit.

Bonaminio started in the food business 30 years ago, selling tomatoes from the back of a truck. Then came the fruit stand, then a farmer's market, then a grocery store. Now, it's a tourist attraction.

There are plans for a culinary institute, restaurants and a hotel, all to be built next to the market. And a monorail will carry people between the attractions. By the time he's finished, Bonaminio says, he'll have created an "amusement park for food lovers."