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Jan 22, 2002 04:23 PM

Stu Leonard's??

  • p

I did a search and unless I've spelled this wrong, there is nothing to be found. Just heard raves about this "grocery" store in southern Westchester. Maybe Eastchester, to be imprecise. I'm very "into" food markets. Does anyone know about this place?

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    1. re: Abbylovi

      Thanks, Abby. I did a search with "Stew" and there it was. After reading what was posted, I have only two words to say: Never mind!


      1. re: Pat Hammond

        I think Stew's is worth a trip if you go on a weekday morning. I drop my son off at school and get there by 9am and it's not busy at all but you should avoid evenings and weekends. Their coffee is pretty good and the bagels are some of the best I've had in Westchester (having grown up in Brooklyn I don't know if that's saying much). They have nice quality meats and it's only worth buying the fish there if they have an unbelievable price (and usually they do)and the cooked shrimp is quite good. I especially go for the milk which they claim has no growth hormones and actually stays fresh beyond the expiration date unlike most of the organic milks that expire a much sooner. They do make you follow the flow of traffic but I've noticed there are ways to get out. You should also try Trader Joe's they have more packaged and frozen selections.

        1. re: Lisa

          Stew comparison to Trader joes...go to the Norwalk Stews, the first one there was, and you cannot compare...the other ones were built on the name, this one is great...

    2. Pat, the market is easy to find. It is right off the Thruway at Stew Leonard Drive. But unless you have some other reason to be in the neighborhood - for example, a need to visit a Home Depot, - I would not bother. It is a cutesy suburban store designed to attract mothers with small children who can be entertained by the live animals, etc. Their offerings are only slightly better than standard supermarket stuff.

      Better to go to one of the Turco's or explore some of Westchester's specialty markets. Three that come to mind quickly are: Yaranush, a middle eastern supplier; the Japanese grocery store in Harstdale; and the asian (mostly chinese) grocery next to the Fine Arts Movie House, also in Hartsdale. In fact, all four of these places can be visited in one afternoon, since they are all on Central Avenue (route 100) in the White Plains - Hartsdale stretch. All of them have been discussed here at one time or another as well.

      One the other hand, if you are in a car and crave a supermarket experience, why not try the Harlem branch of Fairway, my market of choice? Plenty of free parking, good variety, lots of specialty stuff. If you have not been there, I think it is worth the trip.

      Pat G.

      18 Replies
      1. re: Pat Goldberg

        The other thing about Stew Leonards, at least the branch that I've been to, is that they force you to proceed in the order they want you to go in. You cannot skip from one aisle to another. This creates huge logjams, esp when a dancing cow or some such comes out to sing to the kids.

        You might also want to check out Trader Joe's (one in Scarsdale on 22, one in Mamaroneck on the Post Rd) if you're not familiar with this chain.

        1. re: SharonA

          Trader Joe's! Now you're talkin'! I've read about Trader Joe's forever on these boards. The one in Mamaroneck is the one I have my eye on. I'll definitely go there. Pat

          1. re: Pat Hammond

            imho, trader joe's is weak. enjoy!

            1. re: sk

              Could you expand on that just a tad? The Los Angeles board is bursting with paeans for Trader Joe's. Does anyone know if the east coast stores are signficantly different from the ones out west? Burst my bubble if you must, but please be gentle. Pat

              1. re: Pat Hammond

                I make the Trader Joe's in Brookline,MA an every-other-day stop, Pat..And it's not even one of the bigger ones!!! In these days of recession, a girl's gottah have a good source of $6 wine, and they're it...It's been described as a gourmet store for foodies w/ a grad students' budget...You'll find all the goodies discussed on the LA board at the East coast TJ's too; I've been to some of the LI ones with my cousins, and also the Cambridge, MA one...I could go on and list my favorites in lurid detail, but that would just be repeating those LA posts...same stuff! Don't you have a daughter that goes to BU? 1/2 mile from the campus!!

                1. re: galleygirl

                  In NY you can't get wine at TJ's. So that's one big difference. And there are regional variations in the distribution of other items, so you might be disappointed if you go in search of one particular thing.

                  But it is still very much worth a trip!

                  1. re: SharonA

                    Oops, my bad!!! But I do remember we were doing a quick stock-up for a party, and they had all the specialty salsa and dip flavors that I was used to, so I could just whip thru there, and look like a culinary diva!! (or as my aunt said, "A real balboosta in the kitchen")

                    1. re: SharonA

                      No, wine, huh? Ah well, maybe I can score some of that 77% dark chocolate! pat

                      1. re: Pat Hammond
                        Caitlin McGrath

                        Yeah, it's a shock if you come from out of state, but the blue laws are in force in NY: only beer (and cider, win coolers, etc.--it's the alcohol content that determines) can be sold at stores that sell food, and liquor/wine purveyers (except winemakers elling their own product) must close on Sundays.

                    2. re: galleygirl

                      Whew! What a relief. Thanks, Galleygirl. Ironmom is the Maine woman with a daughter in college in Boston. This Maine woman has a daughter who works in Manhattan! But I get down that way often and I'm looking forward to Trader Joe's in Mamaroneck!

                      1. re: Pat Hammond

                        Sorry!! I think I may get you two confused because you're both peripatetic women from Maine who know SO MUCH about food---I'm not being snide; I tend to check what you both have to say about everything!

                        1. re: galleygirl

                          Hey, no problem! I'm complimented that you mistook me for Ironmom. I don't know how she'll feel though! Pat

                      2. re: galleygirl

                        One more vote for Trader Joe's, this one from the mom (and regular runner to Maine, Massachusetts, and upstate NY) with a son returned to college in Dutchess County. The observation about appeal to a grad student's budget is apt. Some things for which you might chase to Whole Foods and pay the earth are available at Trader Joe's; HOWEVER, I would urge the buyer to know prices. I've found some things, like almonds and dried fruit, an unbelieveble bargain. Fresh fruits and vegetables, though, are no bargain nor are they very appealing in my NNJ stores.

                        Coming back to the start of this thread, Stu/Stew Leonard's is, I think, a one-store phenomenon. For one-store phenomena, it's hard to top Corrado's in Clifton noted in earlier postings for many of the reasons recently mentioned.

                        1. re: M-L.

                          Fresh fruit and veggies are definitely NOT TJ's strong suit..They do all kinds of deals and buy in bulk to do their strange mix of curious products and prices; I think they buy it when they can for a good price..If they don't like the price, they don't buy it..I tend to think of their produce as more of a convenience item..If you GOTTAH have a lemon for a recipe, or the only fresh thing you need is salad greens, it's nice to be able to grab it there, but I agree, it's def. not a destination place for them...

                    3. re: sk

                      I go the the CT Trader Joes all the time and my take on it is great prices on the branded stuff they carry and on dried fruit and nuts (which is what I go there for), but the quality on their own label products/exclusive items can be very spotty. Maybe in the NY metro area we have more options for gourmet type food places than in LA.

                  2. re: SharonA

                    Stew Leonard's must have learned this ploy (you have to walk through everything to find one thing) from Ikea. Yet I know people who swear by the place--they have loss leaders on milk and such to keep 'em coming back.

                  3. re: Pat Goldberg

                    Thanks, Pat. It does sound like a fun place to take small children though. My grandson, at 3 mos., is unlikely to be wowed by a dancing cow. The Harlem Fairway does sound interesting. It's going on my list. Pat

                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                      Well, our grandchildren are certainly old enough, but I can't imagine taking them -- especially with the Bronx Zoo so close at hand.

                      Pat G.

                  4. Adding to the, uh, atmosphere of the Stew Leonard's stores is the checkered past of the proprietors. Stew Leonard Sr., who started the original dairy store in Connecticut, pleaded guilty in 1993 to charges of federal tax evasion for using a computer-software program to skim (and not pay taxes on) millions of dollars from the company's revenues. He served several years in prison. Five years later, one of his sons--though not his namesake, Stew Leonard, Jr. who now runs the company--also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, though did not spend time in jail. Seeking understanding, his lawyer told the sentencing judge that because his client has Attention Deficit Disorder, he could not fully think through the consequences of his criminal behavior.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: psistrom

                      I wondered when or if someone would note the unsavory history.

                    2. While I think poorly of Stew's in most cases... expensive, not the best quality in general, high noise level and crowds... Occasionally they have something great either price or quality wise, but you never know when or what. (Very fresh Salmon for $2.99lb last sunday)The one thing that is excellent there is the liquor store... decent but not incredible selection but very good prices and sale item prices can be great... 1/2 the price of other liquor stores. The best time to visit Stew's is during weekday mornings to retain your sanity and on Sunday mornings for loss leader sales.

                      1. Hi, Pat,
                        We've been to the 3 Stew's we know of (boy were we happy when they opened only 20 minutes from us). The comments about overpriced food & tax evasion history are right on. But so far I don't think anyone's mentioned the truly great prices on milk products (which is how Stu's got started, from a milk truck with the requisite cow head). Milk at Stew's is as of this writing $2.20 for a gallon (sold in 1/2-gallon containers), the cows touted as being given no growth hormones (OK, they need serious copy editing on their cartons). Yogurt is $1.39 per quart, which is a pretty dang good price. We buy cheese- and meat-ends which save us lots of money. Our 4-year-old regards the dancing Chiquita banana and Wow the Cow as old friends. If you go during lunch time you can usually sample their products (or another company's)--we usually have a meal there composed of samples of salad, lox, cheese, and cookies. Service is pleasant and efficient. They'll often give you samples before you buy. Previous comparison-shopping will steer you clear of the rip-offs (many supermarkets have much better "sales.")

                        Doesn't Stew's hold some kind of Guiness Book of World Record as "most successful retailer per square foot"? I think the place is worth a look, especially if you're just curious. (Exit 6A off 87 as I think someone's already mentioned).

                        Also, we like Trader Joe's on Rt 22 in Scarsdale/Eastchester for their dried fruit and nuts, and the occasional truly good bargain on "gourmet-type" foods. The catalog copy is consistently fun, even though sometimes the products don't live up to the very appealing hype. We're not wild about the health food place (Green Fields? help!) across the street because we feel the prices are generally way too high.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Loeb

                          The health food store is Mrs. Greens and they have many locations in Westchester and CT. Whole Foods has better qualtiy (but even more pricey) veggies but Mrs. Greens has an excellent selection of organic and fat free foods (that actually taste good) which are hard to find elsewhere.

                          1. re: Lisa

                            Thanks for the info, Lisa--we'll give it another try.

                            1. re: Loeb

                              Equally thanks for the info on T.S. Thai. In the Nyack thread above they talk about The Thai House which is terrific. There is one in Yonker's (also off of 87?) and it's the same owner's - have you tried that as well? Sorry to get off the Stew's track.

                              1. re: Lisa

                                Sorry, I meant TK Thai.

                          2. re: Loeb

                            Hi Loeb, Thanks for you input. I imagine I'll get to Stew's. My daughter wants to go too. What you say about dairy products there sounds really good. I enjoyed hearing the history of the place as well. I'll go to Trader Joe's too. I treat food markets like tourist attractions. Love 'em. pat

                            1. re: Pat Hammond

                              And on the way from NYC to Stew's, just off exit 4, there's a tiny store on the parallel service road that sells Thai goods--I think it's called T.S. Thai. It's very close to a large tile store (sorry for the alliteration/assonance, it cannot be helped!). It seems a funny location for such an exotic store.

                              Anyway, just in case you're chugging down 87 and have some time to kill, stop by there for some green tapioca pearls. (The place has been briefly mentioned on this board--hope the name's right and that they're open the day you go. They didn't have a business card with address or phone # the day we stopped in.) It's not quite as cool as the World's Biggest Ball of Twine (!) but it's nice to know it's there.

                              Let us know how your trip goes.

                              1. re: Loeb

                                OK, here's the link to TK Thai. I'm going to sleep now. Really.


                              2. re: Pat Hammond


                                Did you ever get into a Wegmans, now thats a store to see.

                              3. re: Loeb

                                The name of the place across the street (actually it is a little further (I believe) south from Trader Joe's is Mrs Green's.