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Grocery Shopping in Saratoga Springs, NY

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Hi there,

I might be moving to Saratoga Springs and wanted to know the best places to go food shopping.

I haven't found any equivalents to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, but I thought this would be the best place to ask.

Thanks so much,
Ellen

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  1. There aren't any whole foods or trader joe's in the area, but there are Price Choppers and Hannafords. I myself prefer Hannaford for quality. You'll also find a bunch of specialty grocers in the area, many of which are italian shops and they carry great cheeses.

    1. Thanks, Yumcha.

      Any other specific recommendations would be great.
      I'll be visiting there in a few weeks and would like to make a list of places to check out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: EllieLA

        I moved to Saratoga from the NYC area recently and unfotunately you are not going to find many places for food shopping other than what has been mentioned here on this board.

        The Price Chopper and Hannafords are nothing like a Whole Foods or Wild Oats, especially the fresh fish counters! I have even sent an email to both Whole Foods and Wild OAts suggesting they open a store in Saratoga area...you never know.

        I have been here for about 8months and I am still looking for a fish market...none exist except in Albany there is one (can't recall the Name) which is ok. Also still looking for a meat market (not in super market).

        I do agree with the post about Guidos...although I have been to the Pittsfield store have not yet tried the Great Barrington store.

        There is a little food shop in Stuyvesant(?) Plaza called Eat which has some specialty things like confit of duck which I can't seem to find anywhere else in the Albany/Saratoga area.

        While its a great area, if you are moving from a more metropolitan area you will miss the various food shops you currently have.

        As for restaurants I think I have tried most of them in Saratoga and find Springwater Bistro, Tiznow's and Scallions (moving to larger location and adding some kind of retail shop in the new location) to be some of the better ones.

        Good luck!

      2. Putnam Street Market on Broadway (weird, I know – they moved form their former Putnam Street location) has a nice selection of upscale stuff. I enjoy going there but find it a bit overpriced. On the other hand, you can get a lot of unusual things w/o having to go to a million little specialty stores, so unless that is a fun thing for you to do, it is probably worth the added cost. They also make good sandwiches and while I haven’t had a dessert from there in awhile I recall them being quite good. It’s a bit of a haul, but I would also really recommend Honest Weight Food Co-op on Central Ave. in Albany. It is crunchy and primarily vegetarian (they now have “happy” meat and fish in the back) but they have loads of great stuff, including what is without a doubt the best cheese counter we have seen outside of Montreal or Paris.

        1. I agree with Meg. I don't get up to Saratoga so I can't comment too much on what's in Saratoga. There are Aldi's (discount chain) located in Clifton Park and Albany. The Honest Weight Food Co-Op is a great place. I find their meats to be extremely expensive, though and I prefer to get my 'happy meat' (great term!) from the Troy Farmer's Market held every saturday from 10am-2pm. The Troy Farmer's Market is the largest one and goes year round. You'll have some good selection for farmer's markets in the summer, but this time of year the Troy Farmer's Market is about it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yumcha

            Saratoga also has a year round farmer's market now, which is quite good, at least so far -- I come down from Glens Falls for it, although GF has a tiny year round market, too, now.

          2. Great point, Yumcha! The winter market is less amazing than the summer version, but there is still a great selection of local veggies, meat and cheeses (including the wonderful Old Chatham Sheepherding line.) We try to go every Saturday. There is a great mushroom guy, I love the almond croissants and apple tarts from Mrs. London’s, all kinds of meat and eggs can be found, and there is even soap and wine (which I have not purchased.) There are also a couple of people there making up food to order, mostly variants on Indian and Caribbean dishes, which are quite good and a heaping portion for the price (we generally split one.) Also a soup vendor, to eat there or take home – a bit pricey but a cool selection if you’re in a pinch. And one of our favorite potters! So, yeah, definitely worth a trip, and conveniently halfway between Albany and Saratoga. It’s in the Troy Atrium and I think the winter hours are 10-2.

            1. I am up in Saratoga for the racing meet. I can't help you on anything outside Saratoga. As others mentioned, no Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, etc., and Price Chopper and Hannafords is going to be your "go-to" place for groceries. I like the Price Chopper just north of downtown (it's just north of the Thruway/Northway). The Hannafords is up there as well.

              The Putnam Market (West side of the street on Broadway) is absolutely great. Many people say it's a bit expensive, also as said prior. There are some great items there and I've gone in for many different things -- from a great sandwich to some unique appetizers, side dishes, etc.

              Enjoy!

              Eric

              1. There is an Italian market on the west side called Roma's. It's ok, not great; better places in Schenectady. I usually stock up on trips to NJ, Arthur Avenue and Manhattan. We have a BJ's which is also hit and miss. Sometimes have found acceptable food products (e.g. Colavita e.v. olive oil) but then not there a month later. Wish we had a Costco. Mrs. London's for the best pastries. Rock Hill bread is becoming more available in Hannaford's, but it's worth the short drive to the bakery in S. Glens Falls. Go see Gustave at Honest Weight in Albany.

                1 Reply
                1. re: markabauman

                  I went to Putnam Market and Roma Foods for the first time today. Roma was better and like a NYC or LI (Italian) pork store. A closer option than Cappiello's and the pork store in Schenectady on Broadway (forgot the name). I'm lucky to live in NYC but spend alot of time Upstate. Trader Joe's in NJ or NYC is only 2-3 hours away. I am not a big Whole Foods fan.

                2. Here's my 2 cents worth.

                  1)The nearest Whole Foods (WF) and Trader Joes (TJ) are right near each other (about a quarter mile apart) on Route 9 in Hadley, MA. I've been there many many times since I am a fan of the two college towns that WF and TJ lie between -- Northampton, MA and Amherst, MA. In my opinion, it's well worth a periodic day trip to MA to load up at the two stores and spend some time in Northampton & Amherst. Bookstores, restaurants, academia (Smith, Amherst, U Mass, Mt. Holyoke and Hampshire colleges), Emily Dickinson landmarks and a leftover 1960's peace and love and liberalism vibe abound. I say that with affection. Gay friendly too, if that's of interest. Lots of great music. It takes me about 1 hr. and 45 minutes from Schenectady to make the drive over to MA -- all easy highway driving. A little longer to get there from Saratoga.

                  http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/store...

                  http://www.northamptonma.gov/

                  http://www.explorenorthampton.com/

                  http://www.iheg.com/index.asp

                  http://www.amherstma.gov/

                  http://www.ctnow.com/custom/nmm/valle...

                  2)When I want some tasty and healthy food -- but don't feel like driving to Northampton/Amherst -- there's always Guido's in Great Barrington, MA. Guidos bills itself as a gourmet food store but, hey, it's all good. It has a lot of the stuff you'd find at WF or TJ. It's well worth a trip to Great Barrington to walk around town too. Lots of restaurants and stores. Check out the meals and/or the concerts at Club Helsinki. You'll love it. Note that there's also skiing nearby so things may get a bit crowded at times in terms of parking. Nearby Stockbridge, MA is a popular tourist destination too which may make traffic tricky at times.

                  http://www.guidosfreshmarketplace.com/

                  http://www.clubhelsinkiweb.com/newCaf...

                  http://www.clubhelsinkiweb.com/

                  http://www.greatbarrington.org/

                  3)In Albany, there's always the Honest Weight Coop in Albany. It's OK, but it's not Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Watch for the sign up high at the entrance if you go there. It's easy to drive right by and not notice the entrance. In Schenectady, Earthly Delights is a lovely litle health food store on Jay Street. Good eats.

                  http://www.hwfc.com/

                  http://www.schenectadyny.info/jay_str...

                  4)When you don't feel like driving much at all, there's always the small health food grocery store in downtown Saratoga called Four Seasons Natural Foods. They've got a little vegetarian restaurant in there too. And when you want a good (but a bit expensive) sugar high, Mrs. London's will do the trick.

                  http://www.fourseasonsnaturalfoods.com/

                  http://www.mrslondons.com/

                  5)As for your everyday chain grocery stores, I'm a Hannaford gal. But then I don't live in Saratoga so Price Chopper might be nicer there. It all depends.

                  Best wishes for your move to Saratoga. It's a nice place. Come August, it's all about the racetrack. :)

                  1. Great Barrington is about an hour from Schenectady (it's sort of along the way to Northampton/Amherst) via I-90 east (aka the NYS Thruway aka the Massachusetts Turnpike).

                    Another traffic tip: "the Northway" is I-87. Going southbound "on the Northway" is a concept which boggled my mind for years!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: albany2nyc

                      albany2nyc, thanks for the post. Definitely want to check out the Great Barrington suggestions you note (especially if we haven't stocked up in NJ/NYC before heading Upstate).

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        albany2nyc, we took a drive to G. Barrington and visited Locke, Stock & Barrel Gourmet Grocer/Wine Shop (Spanish torte, etc.) and a nice coffee shop nearby. We missed Guido's, hope to try it next time.

                    2. Can't add much more to the other posters. The unknown fish market in Albany is probably Cousins on Livingston avenue in sort of downtown Albany, which also has a branch in Latham on Route 9 north of the Latham Circle. Off on a back road, so you may need somebody local to point you to it.

                      The Latham branch also happens to be next to a Roma, which other posters have talked about. Probably the best, although limited, selection of Italian specialities in the area.

                      There are also a couple of Asian retailers in the Albany/Colonie area, along with a purveyor of Indian spices on Fuller Road in Colonie.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: trakman

                        The seafood market next to Roma was Captain Lee's, and they closed up over a year ago. Roma moved into that space selling meat and (freezerburned) frozen seafood.

                        1. re: trakman

                          The fish market info here is incorrect; there used to be a fish market next to Roma's, north of Latham circle called Captain Lee's, but it's been closed for about a year, and wasn't related to Cousins in Albany. The space next to Roma's now houses an excellent butcher shop, featuring top-end hormone-free beef. The Roma's in Latham and the Roma's in Saratoga Springs are cousins.

                        2. I'm not a carnivore, but friends who are like Sal's Meat Market and Avon Meatland in Schenectady.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: markabauman

                            My family lives near Sal's and shops there. Gabriel's (Carman Road and near Rotterdam Price Chopper) used to be good. Wine shopping can also be challenging in the Schenectady area. There is a wine shop on Carman road if going to Saratoga is too far. I defer to hounds with more recent experiences re: Gabriel's. Stuyvesant Plaza has a little food shop and we got some pheasant sausage there (VPF mentioned it in an earlier post, Eat). Thanks for the posts re: the 2 year round farmer's markets. My family used to drive to Schoahrie (only in summers?) for good, fresh produce. Maybe we can take a lesson from chefs all around the country - FedEx. With the internet many hard to find or preferred suppliers' items can be purchased and shipped. I'm heading back to NYC today and am reminded how lucky I am to have so many food shopping options there.

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              The shop I refer to in Stuyvesant Plaza, E.A.T.S., closed recently.

                          2. Some of the locals (Capital District/Saratoga) have been petitioning Trader Joes to move to the area, but their response is that the demographics wont support them. As others have commented, Romas (both locations) have a decent supply of Italian stuff, although Schenectady has a much better group of Italian markets. Putnam Market can be sometimes counted on for exotic stuff you are looking for. Price Chopper and Hannaford are pretty good mega marts, and sometimes surprise you when you are looking for things you dont think could be around these parts (Price Chopper tends to be less expensive generally). Couple of decent meat markets in the area: Sorrentinos and Fred the Butcher in Halfmoon (both just off of Route 9) Course, if you are into artisinal smoked meats (ham, bacon, wursts, jerky, etc etc), and smoked cheeses, you must go to Warrensburgh, about an hour north of Saratoga on Route 9, to Oscars Smoke House (they have a web site). Given Mario Batali's chiding that we should patronize artisinal butchers, they would make him happy

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: trakman

                              I think a Trader Joe's in a central location like Latham (where Roma's is) or Saratoga might succeed. Clifton Park, Loudonville, Saratoga could probably work from an economic perspective. I am not a big Trader Joe's shopper but their pre-cooked brown rice in a bag is great. Price Chopper seems to have some organic items.
                              Putnam Market is okay, I went for the first time yesterday.

                              1. re: trakman

                                I wish people would stop trying to petition for Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. There are local, established places here that would suffer if either of those stores opened in Saratoga Springs! Much of the charm of Saratoga Springs is the unique local shops.

                                1. re: campka98

                                  campka98, I doubt TJ's or Whole Foods will locate in the Capital Region because of the population size. There is a similar type market that plans to open a store in Latham. I rely on Roma Foods, Honest Weight Food Co-op, the Asian Market on Central Ave. and trips to NYC . . .hope to get to the Troy and Schenectady Farmers Markets soon.

                                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                    fdr: do you have a sweet tooth? i've never really cared for marshmallows but there's a woman now selling homemade ones in fantastic flavors (made from kosher--i.e, fish) gelatin, at the Troy Market. I'm in love with the Chai and Chocolate Dream flavors. company called Dream Puffs out of Brunswick.

                                    1. re: mjoyous

                                      mjoyous, I'm not a big marshmallow person either. These sound interesting . . .any chance they have one with toasted coconut on it? I still have not gotten to the Troy or Schenectady green markets. Just returned from PChopper, bleh.

                                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                        Didn't notice if there were any toasted coconut, but wouldn't be surprised.

                              2. You'll enjoy Saratoga. It's a better place to dine than to shop for food, but there are good options if you don't mind 5- or 6-stop shopping! I get local produce and baked goods from the Farmers Market, which is extensive in the summer and runs a smaller version in winter in the Salvation Army downtown. Price Chopper is the better chain store for produce, and they have partnered with Wild Oats so carry their non-perishables. Hannaford is better for fish. Believe it or not, BJs Wholesale Club tends to have the best meats. I second the mention of Oscar's Smokehouse in Warrensburg for hams and cheeses. Roma has long been my favorite store--it is a true old fashioned family business where they remember you. They have Boar's Head cold cuts, their subs are very good, and we love their meatballs and sauces. The Bread Basket is another lovely small business, with terrific cakes, cookies, and tea breads. Mrs. London's of course has the very best bread and pastry creations probably in North America. Putnam Market is fun, great for buying gift food items; for myself I shop there to get Indian sauces and wine. Four Seasons has a nice small section of organic produce and a good range of organic grains and cereals, teas, refrigerator items, and a decent lunch buffet. I could go on... you can see why it takes a while to shop!

                                1. there is a great butcher in Malta, Just Meats, family owned and fresh, fresh, fresh. There are great bakeries all over the capital district and while there are no trader jo's or whole foods, hannaford does an OK job. Putnam St is a bit pricey but very accommodating. Mrs. London's and Rock Hill bakery are both great. there are some smaller stores closer and into vertmont. We aren't as closely packed as some of the other places mentioned here, just need to do a little travelling to find what you are looking for......

                                  1. I live in CT, but my in-laws live in Saratoga and swear by the Putnam Market. I always get gift baskets for them from there, and they teach cooking classes as well. It is a little pricey---sort of like a Balducci's. Worth going to especially for specialty items. Saratoga is awesome---enjoy it!

                                    1. Walked in to Putnam Market this week & walked back out shortly after this week. Odd layout, very limited/typical selection. Much better/fairly priced selections at Price Chopper. (Why pay double for a La Brea Pre baked Loaf & 2 day old Rock House Bakery Bread which aren't very good to begin with.)

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: links42

                                        Links, if you walked in and out, you weren't looking. While many of the items are priced higher, different and interesting fresh, baked and compiled foods are the norm in Putnam, give it a second chance.

                                        1. re: jspear

                                          Gave it a second chance in March. Nothing different & interesting! Friends confirmed my findings in April! Staff couldn't be bothered during any of our visits. We all will not return!

                                          1. re: links42

                                            links42, I was not impressed either.

                                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                              Well, fairs fair, I love the lemon bars and most of the baked things there. I find the prepared foods ideal for parties and get togethers and they always have interesting things to include. The prices are what they are but the business is accommodating. I came across a frozen 72 layer cream cheese bisquit made by a place in Maine and they are working to stock it. I don't know what you expect from a small city specialty store but I recommend it all the time. Sorry you were so disappointed.

                                              1. re: jspear

                                                jspear, as always I appreciate your thoughts. That 72 layer cream cheese biscuit sounds so good. While I was not thrilled by Putnam it is another option (like Roma) beyond Price Chopper and Hannaford. Maybe I'm spoiled because I still get to food shop in NYC where we have so many choices and often take it for granted.

                                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                                  Agreed, NYC is the best for specialty foods of all kinds. The biscuits are made by Robinhood Meetinghouse, Robert Gagnon from Georgetown/Bath Me. they have them at whole foods and a small specialty store just inside of Vertmont from Cambridge NY. They have plain cream cheese biscuits, parmesean and a so so cinnamon. they are spectacular, especially if done in a convection oven.....

                                                  1. re: jspear

                                                    Saw a piece on those biscuits on Road Tasted on the Food Channel, and checked out the website (too cheap to order them online!). Meant to get some last time I was in Maine, then forgot. Where's the store near Cambridge (I live somewhat nearby)?

                                                    1. re: mjoyous

                                                      joyous, it is on route 313 from Cambridge just over the Vertmont line on the right. It is a red store and I think it has general store in the name. Sits by itself, hard to miss.

                                                      1. re: jspear

                                                        Thanks!

                                      2. You have to know where to go for what. Saratoga Springs definately does not have the availability and diversity of NYC, but there are some quaint local places that offer a good enough variety.

                                        The benefit of being somewhat rural is that you can drive 15-20 minutes to a variety of farms and apple orchards and have access to truly fresh local fruits, vegetables, and cheese (or get from the farmer's market).

                                        For the best baked goods, call and order bread and babkah from temple sinai on Broadway (or catch them at the farmer's market). They bake all their goods on premise and use whole grains, free range eggs, and non-processed sugars and their stuff is REALLY GOOD! There is also a little health food store near the library and congress park, but I forget the name. It is a genuine health food store, with frozen rice dream bars, spiru-tein, carob bars, ect. The Saratoga Spice Company, right on Broadway carries everything spicy from berber (an ethiopian spice) to crazy fruit salsas and super spicy sauces. Hannaford and Price Chopper are the main grocery stores. The Price Chopper on route 50 (Ballston Ave) is larger and has dedicated a section of the store to organic non-perishable and organic frozen foods and also has a small dietetic section for gluten sensitive customers. They also have a small amount of organic produce (usually only lettuce, bananas, lemons, apples/pears).

                                        As far as wine, there is a wine store on Congress Ave (near CVS and stepping star) which has a good selection of low sulfate and sulfate free wines. There's also a wine store on west ave and one next to putnam market.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: campka98

                                          im nyc transplant to albany---several great italian delis---ragones import, new scotland ave--great home sausage not filled with crap--ask for john or vince owners--momma behind cash register.

                                          a bigger selection at.pelligrinos central ave albany

                                          for outstanding german meats---rolphs--lexingtong ave, one block off central ave. dont let area scare yu. parking on site---yummy yummy like schiller and weber.

                                          1. re: gray rider

                                            looks like we're following in your footsteps so this is all good info.

                                          2. re: campka98

                                            four seasons is the name of the health food store.

                                            1. re: campka98

                                              Just wanted to update my post. Price Chopper on Rt 50 no longer has a dedicated organic section. They re-did their store and now organic, natural foods are placed next to regular foods on the shelves throughout the store. They've also expanded their organic produce a little. They still have a great area for gluten free diets. I just bought teff flour (for injeri) there last week, which is very difficult to find.

                                              1. re: campka98

                                                campka98, thanks for the report. I learned recently that PC stocked organic chickens but due to lack of demand now only has natural chickens.