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Jun 3, 2006 07:36 PM

Quitting Gristedes - need better place downtown

  • z

Last night I went to Gristedes and have once again, have an awful shopping experience.
Between the not being able to find lady fingers, price inconsistency between the advertised price and the scanned price, refusal of manager to check, and just being fed up with the place, I need a new late-night market.
How do you guys who live in downtown/Battery area deal with this? It seems like one of the poshest areas has the worst supermarkets. Is there any place there that's not outrageously expensive to buy something?

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  1. The Gristedes on W. 4th St. near 7th Ave. is every bit as bad. I've found so many rotten things there and nobody is interested in helping the customers. We all need better markets.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sybil

      Gristedes has always been the lowest on my list of NYC chains.
      (For those of you that remember the 'Red Apple' chain - they were really, really the worst...filthy, poorly stocked stores - I believe they were bought out by Gristedes.) 'Associated' has improved their stores. D'ags is nice, but their prices lately have skyrocketed. $1.09 for a Dannon yogurt, while Westside Market sells it for $.67. A $.42 difference on a 6 oz. container...OUCH!!!

      I live on the UES and schlep groceries home from Whole Foods (7th Ave. and Columbus Circle), Garden of Eden on W. 23rd St. All time fav: Food Emporium on E. 59th St.

    2. t
      Two Fisted Gutter Poet

      That's what you get for living in one of the "Poshest" areas. Move to an ethnic area and you can eat like a king on a peasants pay...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Two Fisted Gutter Poet

        actually i don't live there.
        I live in brooklyn where the plethora of ethnic markets (one 24/7 too) help keep my stomach and wallet happy.
        If I actually live in downtown, I would probably plan all my shopping in Chinatown.
        Alas, since I don't live there and not familiar with the local markets (if theres such a thing), and thus no planning possible, I decided to look for a less punishing way to feed myself.

        1. re: zorgclyde

          When i lived on rector place bpc, we had 2 gristedes and I admit I went there often because it was so convenient. If i had time i would go to chinatown for fruits and vegetables and that was rare. I also do pathmark if I can and take the m9 straight to my building. Sadly there is no place good. Now I live by Union Sq and I cant imagine any place better.

          1. re: csw

            I used to live on Rector too - those neighborhood supermarkets were the pits. Really disgusting. So sad considering one of them was right on my corner and couldn't have been more convenient. I almost never shopped there, except for basic needs like paper goods or milk and juice.

            For all other food I always went out of the neighborhood, preferring the long schlep and inconvience of having to drag home bags of groceries by hand then spend my money at those stores.

      2. the gristedes on 34th and 3rd is absolutely disgusting. rotting fruit, expired milk, eggs, juice, etc., and huge discrepencies between prices. i do my best to avoid it and usually end up ordering fresh direct.

        as for downtown, you can try the amish market (just north of battery park) or zeytuna which is on the corner of maiden and williams i believe.

        1. f
          Fred and Wilma

          I live on University Place which means a five minute walk to Gristedes, D'Ags, Garden of Eden, Food Emporium, Whole Foods and the Union Square Greenmarket. Prior to the arrival of Whole Foods one put up with Healthy Pleasures/Wholesome Market where the service was terrible but they were the only consistent organic/biodynamic option in the area.

          What stuns me is that the arrival of WF did not lift the game of any of the other markets. They have all rolled over and played dead. Especially D'Ags, which makes me a little sad because they have low staff turnover and I am on a 'Howdy Neighbor' relationship with most of the clerks, but it's hard for me to walk into a store where cleanliness does not appear to be a priority.

          Healthy Pleasures closed up shop within a month.
          Gristedes limps along in some weird time warp.
          Food Emporium is useful only for the Coinstar Machines.
          Garden of Eden is serviceable, but still criminally over priced.

          So I become one of the thousands willing to endure lines that rival the Shake Shack in order to have the nice experience at WF. Although even they have done a bait and switch in some of their departments, which are now rather pedestrian.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Fred and Wilma

            I think you are being a little harsh on Food Emporium. We shop there a lot because as far as E. 14th Street goes, it has really stepped up since WF came along. Their customer service & check out people are super friendly & helpful. The store is very clean and neat. The meat and produce are well stocked and fresh (I don't buy fish there). For your average grocery shopping, it goes very fast and you don't have to take the stairs anywhere. You get in and out in a fraction of the time you would in most other places.

            1. re: maitetxu

              Sounds like someone made a store just for you! ;)

          2. I'm no great fan of Gristedes and the 2 near me (14th St/1st Ave and 20th St/1st Ave) have some of the most vile yet pricey cuts of meat I've ever seen.

            Sadder to me is that iirc, when I lived on the UES the 86th St Gristedes was a decent place to shop.

            Still, I gotta admit that when Gristede's 1st started their online service the quality of meat was vastly improved and prices of everyday grocery items were lower than their own local stores.

            Granted I can't speak from recent knowledge, as I haven't ordered from their online service for probably a few years now, but perhaps that is an option for the OP.

            fwiw, at that time, any meats ordered from the online service came from a central distribution point and not from my local store. i made sure of this as I would NEVER order any (fresh?) meat that came anywhere near my local Gristedes.

            I agree about the rest of the stores arounf Union Sq just rolling over. What a shame. Also, I think that attitude is also reflected in Fresh Direct's rise in prices and declining quality of produce, vegetable and fish.