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Fresh Market is coming to Chapel Hill

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Read a blurb in the Chapel Hill News that the Harris Teeter on Hwy. 54/Raleigh Rd. is closing and will be replaced with a Fresh market in the spring of 2008. With Trader Joe's opening this fall and Fresh Market next spring, finally Whole Foods is going to have competition-- besides from Weaver St. Market in Carrboro. For towns the size of Chapel Hill/Carrboro this will be an embarrassment of riches for us foodies!

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  1. Well, the bad news for me is the price of running out of something at the restaurant and running across the street just went up a bit.

    Of course, I often wondered what the point of having three HTs so close to each other. After all, there's one in University Mall as well as Meadowmont

    1. I've never been to a Fresh Market... I take it this is along the lines of Whole Foods? This is great news, I live right across from Meadowmont and have no use for the Glen Lennox HT. It will be nice to have a closer option than Whole Foods.

      2 Replies
      1. re: SenorSuarez

        I'm afraid Fresh Market is going to be no substitute for Whole Foods. It WAS the best thing we had in Greenville SC before WF came, I went there twice a week. Now I have been twice in about 6 months.

        They have a better cheese selection that a BiLO or Publix, but not as good as WF and MORE expensive. They do have "natural" chicken which is better than Purdue, etc. Their Hereford beef is somewhat better than regular gro sto , as well. Produce generally no better than BiLo and more expensive. Wine and beer selection decent. Sometimes have decent dry pack scallops. But more options is always a good thing!

        1. re: danna

          with a whole foods in the area(winston) I rarely set foot in Fresh Market. I only patronize them for Blenheims ginger ale(they are the only store in the area selling them by the six pack) and good duck mousse and some stirring products. I would say they are on par or better than HT especially in customer service

      2. this is good news but I was hoping that CH would get a Greenlife. I love that store.

        1. I've never shopped at a Fresh Market, but anything is better than that particular HT.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            Fresh Market has perhaps the best meat selection of any grocery store around. Nothing beats their ground chuck patties for a burger on the grill, and their leg of lamb is consistently outstanding. A favorite of mine is the chicken pastries and stuffed chicken preparations - perfectly herbed and seasoned. 45 min. in the oven, and as good as something from a high-end restaurant.

            and IMHO, their fresh-baked breads put Weaver Street to shame.

            1. re: mikeh

              Their meat and seafood department is what excites me as well. It is on par with Whole Foods and the prices are lower from what i remember when visiting the Fresh Markets in Raleigh and Cary. I thought their veg department was good too.

          2. I agree with everyone so far -- FM's prices and eclectic selection prevent it from being an all-purpose grocery store -- in desperation, once, I purchased a cleaning product and a box of cereal there and felt mugged when I saw the receipt. The produce is only as good as an avg Harris Teeter. The selection isn't as good as Whole Foods.The meat and seafood and cheese are terrific. In fact, it was always the cheeses, nuts, soft drinks and the chocolate that drew me there, plus some regional products like that chocolate stuff New Yorkers always rave about. Since we got a Wild Oats in my suburb, I visit FM maybe twice a year.

            10 Replies
            1. re: fluffernutter

              Shouldn't the fate of EarthFare -- and the pent-up enthusiasm for Trader Joe's -- be a cautionary tale for Fresh Market? I'd be nervous as hell if I were that store's General Manager...or CFO....

              1. re: peetoteeto

                i was thinking the same thing, but the proximity to meadowmont will float that store. to me, people who live in meadowmont (present company excepted) seem to enjoy spending lots of money because they have lots of money to spend. im sure they will all ignore the harris teeter on their front stoop and drive an extra 500 yards to buy their trash bags and cranberry juice at fresh market.

                1. re: batdown

                  Or trash bags made with cranberry juice...

                  1. re: peetoteeto


                    And yet the place can't seem to get a good restaurant ...

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      is "Azure" still there? (I think thats what it was called). I dont know much about it. truth be told, when i go back home to chapel hill i pretty much stay away from the Mont.

                      1. re: batdown

                        I *think* it is still there. I was definitely underwhelmed the one time we tried it. And B. Christopher's was just appalling.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Fresh Market in North Raleigh reminds me of what you'd get if you crossed a Whole Foods with a convenience store.

                          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                            We generally refer to it as the Faux Market in my house. I've been known to swing by for meat at the one in Raleigh because it's by the library, especially at times I'm sure the Whole Foods is zoo like but it's really not in the same league as WF or Weaver Street or Trader Joes. I'd be worried about their long-term prospects too but maybe I'm just a bit nostalgic for the good ol days when I lived in Chapel Hill and that little Harris Teeter was the only grocery in that area. Progress I suppose.

                  2. re: peetoteeto

                    Fresh Market & Earth fare have some overlapping customers, but still draw from very different demographics in most towns. EF has a natural foods focus, Fresh Market more of a gourmet product bent. The main problem with the Chapel Hill Earth Fare was it was not as well stocked as their usual stores (felt more like an organic convenience store) and people who were used to visiting their Asheville location were very disappointed. With such a well stocked WF so close how could they compete?

                2. Is the Fresh Market open in Chapel Hill?


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: nj2nc

                    They are working on the building right now but they are not open. They have taken over the old Harris Teeter spot on 54. They have great Hereford aged beef.

                    1. re: micajack

                      Great lamb too, both shanks and racks.

                    2. Unless they can offer hormone-free, antibiotic-free meats and/or meat from locals, it is unlikely they can compete with Whole foods and Weaver Street in the butcher's department. Southern Season has gourmet salamis, prosciutto, etc. already.

                      I'm gonna take a wild stab and guess they can't compete with the combination of Whole Foods, Tom Robinson's and the special orders you can get from Squids for seafood.

                      Southern Season has *the* best cheese, wine, chocolate, and gourmet nibbles departments around here -- including stuff from local producers--, and from listening to people talk about Fresh Market I'd be surprised if it can beat Southern Season on selection, quality or price.

                      While I'm at it, the bakery at Southern Season is as good as or better than any other bakery around here, including Weaver Street, Whole Foods, Sugarland, or Miel Bon Bons, mostly because they carry everything from decent bread to great desserts and all the rest of those mentioned are missing something (Weaver Str has great bread, but misses on desserts, WF has decent categories, but not great ones, Sugarland and Miel Bon Bons don't have the variety, selection, consistent reliable in-stock inventory, or price points covered.)

                      I wasn't surprised Earth Fare didn't make it after my one trip there. I'll be surprised if Trader Joes lasts as long as our TJs convenience stores, and while it would be nice to see if Fresh Market can bring something new to the table, I'll be surprised if they can compete with the big combo of Southern Season / WF / Weaver Street.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: fussycouple

                        Fresh market will do fine because they offer similar quality products but at considerably lower prices than SS or WF. I don't really care for TJ's that much because much of wa thtey sell is junk food and highly processed but from the looks of the full parking lot every time I drive by there it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

                        I love Weaver Street but it's on the otbher end of town(s) from where Fresh Market is going to be.

                        1. re: fussycouple

                          I think in comparing products and prices y'all are missing the point of Fresh Market - to me at least - which is that it is a very pleasant place to shop. Spacious aisles, small, clean, pleasing lighting, quiet, free coffee, always plenty of cashiers. I now live equidistant from HT and Fresh Market in Raleigh, and even though I know I *should* go to HT and save some money and have more selection, it is just so much easier and less stressful to pop into Fresh Market. I used to live in the Meadowmont area, and knowing what a zoo the Chapel Hill Whole Foods (and Southern Season) can be, and HT as well, I can imagine that Fresh Market will snag a lot of pop-in grab-something-for-dinner traffic on the way home from campus.

                          I am actually not terribly impressed with either the cheese or bread at the Cameron Village Fresh Market . . . but again, at the end of a long day at work I just can't face the scene at HT or WF. (And, the Fresh Market meat department is pretty great - fresh whole boneless chicken breasts for less than the packaged stuff at HT - along with an unparalleled candy department).

                          1. re: fussycouple

                            You can still order fish from Squid's? I thought their market closed. Where to get fish from Tom Robinson? I would love a reliable fresh source, especially now that I'm getting box of fresh produce from local farmer -- which should make for good quick meals featuring fish.


                            1. re: nj2nc

                              tom robinson is on roberson ave in carrboro behind acme and armadillo grill. it's expensive, but very fresh.

                          2. I've never been to a Fresh Market in this area. The only one near us when we still lived in VA was really kind of lame. And expensive, too. I hope the ones here are better.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: romansperson

                              main reason I visit them in the triad is they are reliable sources for blenheim's ginger ale(at a good price) have a decent selection of bulk items and spices(especially since the whole food's bulk spice section is now lame in winston) and they usually have duck mousse. Other than that I would pick whole foods or even most harris teeter's before fresh market

                            2. All the Fresh Markets I have been to seem to be dimly lit and darkly decorated...am I mistaken or confused?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: inmybackpages

                                I've never been in one that was not on the dark side - I'm assuming it's their "look". That is really the only thing I don't care for with F.M. - I prefer a more brightly lit store.

                              2. I think Fresh Market will make it here in Chapel Hill. I knew from the beginning that EarthFare couldn't compete with Whole Foods. I've been in several Fresh Markets and they seem a bit different. I know I'll use it when I'm in that part of town. A side note about desserts at the Southern Season bakery - at one time, all desserts were purchased frozen and just thawed for sale. Does anyone know if that's how they are doing desserts these days?

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: wintersummer

                                  Have any of you folks that are complaining about the prices at FM actually compared them on the same day to the prices at other stores? I have and have found the produce prices are exactly the same at FM and the local Kroger. If you are concerned about the prices of paper towels, price them at your local convenience store. The mission of FM isn't to provide you with TP, just fresh food. The paper/soap products are on the shelf as a convenience to their customers.

                                  1. re: blewgo

                                    I'd love to find a place that has good, fresh produce but isn't outrageously expensive. Lately Harris Teeter stuff always seems to be verging on rotting. I buy something and two days later in the fridge it looks just horrible (and it isn't the fridge's fault).

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      Grocery stores have always let me down to some degree. I'm still impressed anytime I get something from the Farmers markets. Like I got a large bag of green beans 1 1/2 weeks ago that I totally forgot about until yesterday, but they still looked absolutely brilliant (still in better shape than buying them "fresh" from a supermarket).

                                      1. re: mikeh

                                        Definitely the best way to buy them. Second best so far for me has been Trader Joes. As you did, I forgot about a bag of salad greens that I'd gotten there, and when I found them a week and a half later they were just fine.

                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                        You get value for your money buying from the farmer's market.
                                        I shopped at a Fresh Market in Southern Pines recently while there on business -- it seemed just another variation of Whole Foods. Prices about same, also. I wasn't overly impressed but it was a better option than other nearby grocers. Also, it was always very busy at any time I shopped.

                                  2. Competition helps -- Fresh Market is growing chain of the healthful niche -- they took over a Harris Teeter in North Raleigh and are building a huge FM at Spring Forest &Falls of Neuse -- hopefully the prices will come down organic or speciality doesn't have to mean outrageous prices --

                                    1. The Fresh Market in CH has been open for a couple of weeks now. Finally made it by there last Saturday. A great deal on grass fed ribeyes right now at $6.99/lb, nice center cut pork chops for $3.99, and 15-20 count NC coast shrimp for $11.99. I suspect I'll be doing "The Circuit," i.e., FM, TJ's, Whole Foods and Southern Season, quite a bit.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bbqme

                                        If you like lamb their shanks and fenched racks are good. It is even better if you catch the lamb on sale.

                                      2. For someone like me in the Savannah, GA area, Fresh Market is a welcome relief from shopping at the local Kroger. We don't have many choices around here, other than Kroger, Publix, and that gawd-awful Walmart, so being able to shop at Fresh Market while not having to suffer from listening to either Kroger's "tunes from the trailer park" or Publix's "Air Supply's music to accompany swallowing a bottle of pills" is a HUGE step up. It's also nice to be away from the crowds that shop with their shirtless babies drinking Kool-Aid bottles while standing up unsupervised in a shopping cart (at Walmart, where I wouldn't be caught dead!).

                                        It's a vast wasteland here in Coastal GA, so FM keeps me from having to buy quite as much online.

                                        The nearest Whole Foods is FOUR HOURS AWAY!!! And we can't even get a Costco either. Sob.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: mldubose

                                          At least you can get good, fresh seafood at a decent prices down there. Despite being only a couple of hours from the coast we have to take out a second mortgage in order to buy good seafood around here. As supermarkets go, Publix isn't bad IMO. It's as good or better than, Harri Teeter, the best supermarket chain in this area.

                                          For as small as Chapel Hill is (< 50K people), we are really lucky when it comes to food. I guess it's one small consolation for all the rich, Yankee retirees moving here. :-)

                                          1. re: mldubose

                                            I, for one, love Publix. I wish we'd get them in the Triangle. They generally carry many of the same things that FM does, and generally a little cheaper.

                                          2. I went to the fresh market for the first time the other day and I was blown away. Bacon from the butcher's counter? you mean you CUT IT IN HOUSE? The whole experience was fabulous. I dont see grocery shopping as a chore, but as a joy, and fresh market has a great atmosphere and shopping there was a total pleasure. The meat selection and quality was better than any other grocery store in the area, and the produce department was not playin either.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: batdown

                                              There is nothing special about IN HOUSE CUT BACON. Do they make the bacon?
                                              That would be special!

                                              1. re: chizow

                                                Im pretty sure the pigs make the bacon.

                                                Call me crazy, but I would rather have it cut in the back and cured in house than in some factory 1000+ miles away, loaded up with nitrates and artificial preservatives, and then shrink-wrapped and shipped on a gas-guzzling truck to the local Kroger, drying out and becoming brittle en route. I guess I'm old-fashioned that way.

                                                1. re: batdown

                                                  First off bacon is made from the belly not from the back. I was only responding to your statement " Bacon from the butcher's counter? you mean you CUT IT IN HOUSE? " This statement is vague and does not imply that it is made at Fresh Market. Just cause they cut it in house does not mean they cure it as well. Why dont you ask them where it comes from and then include that important information in your original post. Then this discussion would not be necessary.

                                                  1. re: chizow

                                                    As an aside, I like to get my bacon at Cliff's Meats in Carrboro. It's inexpensive ($2.99/lb. IIRC) but darn good-- cutt off the slab and much meatier and drier than prepackaged bacon.

                                                    1. re: chizow

                                                      Thanks for the instructions - I actually did ask, and they did tell me that they cut and cure it in the back of the store.

                                                      1. re: batdown

                                                        I think we need a local bacon thread.

                                                        WF sells a local bacon in their butcher case.

                                                        Our favorite is Brinkley Farms (Carrboro/Durham Farmer's Markets) because it is much higher fat to lean ratio than any bacon I've ever seen. They can, I believe, also sell you a slab if you prefer to slice your own.

                                                        1. re: batdown

                                                          I usually buy my bacon from the Fresh Market in N. Raleigh. I love their applewood smoked bacon but the price/weight printout always reads "Neuske's Bacon." This is the link to Neuske's. They're based in Wisconsin.

                                                          Is it possible that the different Fresh Markets in the area are sourcing their bacon from different suppliers?

                                                        2. re: chizow

                                                          i think that he meant the back of the store, not the back of the pig...

                                                    2. re: batdown

                                                      Batdown, I'm with ya on the fresh-cut bacon. :-)

                                                      1. re: Suzy Q

                                                        Try their fresh country sausage. It actually browns instead of turning black.