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No Frills

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Hey

I've noticed two No Frills have opened in the GTA (One at Black Creek and Eglinton and one at Lansdowne and Dundas) that have a fresh fish counter and a good meat counter. They also offer some of the more unusual parts of the animal (Pigs feet, hog jowls, tongue, etc.) as well as a larger variety of the rest of the goods. A Super No Frills if you will.

Does anyone know of any others??

I do recommend going to these stores. The fish especially is good. They keep the fish whole as long as possible (Except for salmon steaks). I buy grouper there quite a bit and it's cut to order.

Enjoy
DT

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  1. There's one at Victoria Park and Eglinton with a fish counter, but I haven't ever bought any. Is the fish fresh (I mean 'fresh' fresh)?

    1. Well,I am close to the Black Creek & Eglington No Frills area, and I have heard that it's one of the biggest No Frills around, but I haven't really had time to check that place out.

      I'm going to check it out later today. I need food in my fridge.

      1. There is a No Frills by Steeles and Kennedy (just a city block east).

        1. They vary by location. The one I use at Spruce and Parliament is pretty brutal: generally crappy selection, here-today-gone-tomorrow specialties, and no fish or meat counter. Cheap, cheap, though. There's another at Pape and Gerrard, near Gerrard Square. Better and much bigger and better run, but no meat or fish counter.
          A friend of mine goes to the No Frills at the Dufferin Mall and loves it. Apparently the fish counter there is great.

          1. There is also one at Highway 7 and Warden. They also used to have rotiserrie chicken at this location that was 1/2 off 1 hour before closing, so it was a ridiculous 3.50 for a whole chicken. They stopped that after people were standing around at 6:45 waiting for them to go on sale :)

            1. Also in Mississauga's Mavis & Eglinton there's a No Frills that has fresh fish tank, various asian food and cooked BBQ meat for take out.

              1. I'm going to post a dissenting opinion. I'm in between the two No Frills at Dufferin Mall and Lansdowne & Dundas, and I'm singularly unimpressed with both. That said, the L&D location is by far the better of the two, being close to the 'gentrified' Roncesvalles Village area.

                Regarding the meat, I have gotten food poisoning from the chicken once and have noticed many, many items in their meat refrigerator to be either close to or on the best before, or past. I stopped buying my meat there (I now often make the trip to Grace Meats, Grace & College) with one recent exeption: we were going up to a cottage two weeks ago and I volunteered to make beef brochettes. I went to the meat counter ("Charly's Meats") and got four striploin steaks for about $25 (I wanted to avoid the scurrilous meat refrigerator stuff). I got home, opened the package to start putting the brochettes together only to be met with an awful stench. They were WAY gone. It was 7:30 and I ran over to the local Salsicharia Pavao (Portuguese butcher) and got there just before the doors closed to re-buy the beef. I then went back to No Frills to get a refund which took a good amount of time: 'they' don't give refunds, they had to get in touch with somebody at Charly's Meats to authorize a refund (a seperate entity, I gather) with a bit of backing and forthing before they'd 'allow' it. Whey they'd wilfully sell me obviously rotten meat was not addressed.

                Other observations: frequent 'floaters' in the fresh fish tanks. Cloudy eyes in the fish on ice (usually not a good sign). Doesn't 'smell of the sea' at the fish counters. I went to get Ice Cream a week ago and the container was very soft. In fact, they all were. I finally located a thermometer and it registered a titch above 0 deg. Temperature is apparently a frill! Dodgy veggies, potatoes in the bags often rotten or green... oh, I could go on and on and on.

                No Frills is part of the Loblaws group. I strongly suspect that they move all the over-stock and 'close to the best before/ almost rotten' stuff to No Frills to dump cheap on unsuspecting consumers. Add to that the the questionable morality regarding the commodification of the food business (I know: too late!) and it's a place that I'd rather avoid if at all possible. Yes, I go now and again: the prices on their 'corporate food' offerings are very good. But I'd suggest that you skip the 'fresh' stuff!

                To sum up: Freshness is, apparently, a frill, and they'll have none of that there.

                Best of luck,

                -g

                2 Replies
                1. re: goofibulator

                  Goof's experience is likely isolated(anyone can buy "off" meat almost anywhere, including Grace)but there's no substance to the charge that NG uses No Frills as some sort of downmarket clearance centre for stale-dated groceries. Indeed, the dust on certain product categories in the big-ass Loblaws stores is more cause for concern. My No Frills at Mavis+Eglinton in Mississauga is well-run and tidy for the tsunami of traffic it sustains daily. The fish counter is clean and stocks a limited but acceptable range of fresh fish--vastly better than the smelly fish selection at nearby Loblaws stores.These stores are individually-run but mine is perfectly acceptable.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    Yes, I agree with Kagemusha. The No Frills at Mavis & Eglinton is definitely one of the most organized and cleanest one I've been, at least in Mississauga. Mind you they are all franchaised, so it's up to the individual owner/manager to maintain the store.

                2. Yes, I agree that quality varies between stores. For instance, IMO, the Lansdowne/ Dundas store is better than Dufferin Mall by a small degree. I can't speak for other franchises.

                  Anecdotally, my experience is far from isolated amongst everyone I know in the area, to a person. We have ALL had poor experiences with one thing or another at No Frills (usually meat or dairy related). For instance, you're rolling the dice if you buy organic milk when it's occasionally in stock: 1 in 3 is off in my experience when bought from Dufferin mall. The best before dates are often pushing the limits, thus my contention that they are 'clearance centres for stale-dated groceries'.

                  Regarding 'off meat', sure you can get it anywhere, but I bought the ill-fated brochette beef from the counter (not wrapped) thinking that it'd be 'fresher' for some reason. They had to pick it up, weigh it and wrap it, and based upon what it smelled like 20 minutes later when I opened it up, they couldn't possibly have mistaken it for anything other than rotten meat.

                  -g

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: goofibulator

                    See, I think its all due to the person who runs the No Frills, the proprietor. They seem to be of a franchise sort of organization, since they usually have a name behind the NO Frill's name. Michael's No Frills, or Brian's No Frills.. etc. Perhaps the guy who runs the No Frills in Lansdowne and Dundas area is just REALLY bad, and no doubt, they'll be going under pretty soon.

                    1. re: jennjen18

                      I agree about the proprietor and that's the same thing No Frills head office said to me, the bottom line is they still represent No Frills plain and simple. That line from head office is just a cop-out. Shrugging off any responsibility.

                      1. re: catpa3

                        Vote with your feet. What ever the corporate spin, NF stores do vary in terms of management and staff.There's a raft of NFs in MIssissauga and each is a distinct creature with different merch, quality standards, employee IQs, and service. Some rock, some suck.

                  2. I don't push my luck with NF meat, aside from packaged cuts and poultry with a stale date, which have always been fine from my local store. Costco's probably in the price/quality sweet spot in my experience for ordinary meats, e.g., beef, pork, chicken, lamb.

                    1. I never had a problem with meat from either Dufferin Mall or Lansdowne, though I never tried their fish, so I can't comment on that.

                      I was always just as confident shopping at No Frills as I would be at any other grocery store. No matter how big or up-market the chain, things happen in every store; as was mentioned, quality of particular items at certain stores might be consistently beter or worse than others in the same chain, based on how strictly (if at all) the management enforces things.

                      I wonder, regarding the Dufferin Mall location, how the Walmart Supercentre has affected their business. I moved out of the area just before it opened, so I haven't been back to that No Frills since. Perhaps they've lost some business to the Walmart --> smaller margins --> cost-cutting? That's all I can think of...

                      Though selling rotten meat is obviously inexcusable, cost-cutting or not; just thinking, if the quality in general has slid, then maybe that's why?

                      1. We have two No Frills in Richmond Hill, just a few miles apart on Yonge Street. The northern location, just south of Elgin Mills, has been around for many years, and is typical of the smaller, older NF stores: no deli, no butcher or live seafood, no bakery. Only a few items carried in each category. Still, it's inexpensive, the produce quality is acceptable, and you can get in and out quickly.

                        The other store, at Yonge and 16th is a converted Loblaws. It is at least 3-4 times the size of the smaller one, and offers all the amenities that you expect from a top line grocery: live seafood tanks, full service butcher, in-house bakery, and a staggering variety of products (particularly Asian, although given the neighbourhood, that's not surprising) The produce is bright and inviting, the meat case contains many unusual items (beef hearts, anyone?), and the live fish look active. I do notice the prices are slightly higher than the small NF, but not as high as Loblaws. The drawback to this store is it always seems crowded at checkout. However, I shop at both gladly; my tummy and my pocketbook thank me.