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Christina's Epicure - East Norwich

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ForkinMouth Sep 4, 2007 12:56 PM

I guess its been close to one year that the signage has been up in the old "Blueberries" supermarket touting the arrival of Christina's Epicure in East Norwich. When will this place finally open and will it be worth the interminable wait? Anyone know the scoop?

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  1. j
    jpf1980 RE: ForkinMouth Sep 5, 2007 08:37 PM

    i pass this place minimum twice a day, would love to know the same thing. Looks like it is finally moving along though after months of nothing going on. i remember seeing an advertisement a long time ago that made it seem like the owners of the place already have a presence somewhere like we were supposed to be familiar with them, but i did not get it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jpf1980
      foodieforthought RE: jpf1980 Sep 7, 2007 05:03 AM

      I too am quite curious to this place's deal...i recently saw them hiring their staff on craigslist, so they cant be too far off.

    2. JGS RE: ForkinMouth Sep 9, 2007 04:21 PM

      Must be getting close--drove by today and the lights were all on and the front doors are installed...

      11 Replies
      1. re: JGS
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        jpf1980 RE: JGS Sep 11, 2007 03:58 PM

        when i passed by tonight on the way home from work, all the paper covering all the windows has been ripped off, saw empty shelves in what seemed like the back of the store, but from route 106 it was hard to tell the exact locations of things inside, still too early to tell what this place is all about, but by judging the amount of shelves i saw, it seems like its going to be more grocery and less fresh/cooked foods than i had thought.

        1. re: jpf1980
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          ForkinMouth RE: jpf1980 Sep 12, 2007 07:37 AM

          Thanks for keeping us posted. I really have no idea what form this place will take.

          1. re: ForkinMouth
            foodieforthought RE: ForkinMouth Sep 12, 2007 08:08 AM

            I imagine it is going to carry products similar to Fairway, catering to a higher-income gourmet grocery demographic which is increasing rapidly.

            1. re: foodieforthought
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              jpf1980 RE: foodieforthought Sep 12, 2007 08:53 AM

              i am sure i will be going there if i need something that night, but i am also sure i will be passing the place for my trips to fairway, no way a gourmet place located in that area is going to be even close to fairways pricing. Hopefully they will have a seafood market, there is no where to buy fresh fish in Oyster bay now that in the last year the seafood store closed and stop & shop switched to selling frozen fish in coolers. Its a pain if i want fish for dinner to go out of my way to get it, because i like to eat it the day i buy it.

              1. re: jpf1980
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                GCGuy RE: jpf1980 Sep 12, 2007 09:07 AM

                No fresh fish, in Oyster Bay...seems odd.

                How large is this place?

                1. re: jpf1980
                  foodieforthought RE: jpf1980 Sep 13, 2007 10:57 AM

                  Yes, I imagine located in the heart of the north shore...the price will be akin to a Manhattan Whole Foods. :-)

                2. re: foodieforthought
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                  ForkinMouth RE: foodieforthought Sep 12, 2007 10:36 AM

                  Their earlier promotional material implied a strong emphasis on prepared foods/catering, rather than off-the-shelf groceries. If it intends to be successful and command "Gold Coast" pricing, the product better be good!

                  1. re: ForkinMouth
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                    jpf1980 RE: ForkinMouth Sep 12, 2007 12:24 PM

                    if the parking lot isn't too busy i will try to stop in front of it on the way home tonight and peer in, i will hopefully have an update for u then.

                    I remember the same promo stuff and thats why i thought it was weird when i saw so much shelving inside. I would guess that its prob about 6000-8000 sq feet.

                    I've only lived in OB for about 16 months, when i first moved Blueberries was open but never went in.The day my fiancee and I showed up there to go in, must have been like a day or 2 after they had closed for good What was that place? just a grocery store?

                    1. re: jpf1980
                      JGS RE: jpf1980 Sep 12, 2007 02:40 PM

                      B-Berries was a dirty, insanely overpriced grocery store, w/ some prepared foods, etc.

                      It was a decent place about 15 years ago...

                      Frankly, I don't know how they stayed open as long as they did.

                      Oyster Bay is sorely in need of a decent supermarket. That Stop & Shop is gross. It smells like dead food.

                      I don't think Christina's will fill the bill for that need. I'm sure they are going for the Muttontown, OBC crowd.

                      1. re: JGS
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                        jpf1980 RE: JGS Sep 12, 2007 05:43 PM

                        i agree about the stop and shop, the difference between the brand new ones they have built and the OB one is crazy. I really don't think there is space to build a brand new supermarket from scratch, therefore i buy the bulk of my food at fairway and only go to stop and shop if i am in a hurry or ran out of something.

                        Now on to Christina's. I took a peek tonight, i was right, there is a lot of shelving, maybe half the store looks like it is going to be taken up by non perishable groceries. The other parts of the store really have not taken on much at all, but what has been installed does look nice and i really do think the place is going to be very upscale. I looked in at about 7:30pm and there were people inside working. I really think they are trying to get this thing open ASAP. I would say November 1st is probably a goal of theirs, just a guess though, they probably want to be open for Thanksgiving. This place was originally supposed to open in January if i rememeber correctly so i can't imagine the amount of money they have spent on rent alone without making a penny.

                        1. re: jpf1980
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                          jpf1980 RE: jpf1980 Sep 13, 2007 06:45 AM

                          anybody want a job there, they put up a taking applications sign overnight.

          2. phofiend RE: ForkinMouth Sep 13, 2007 09:48 AM

            I have heard rumors that it is now owned by the same people who own Southdown Marketplace in Huntington, which is a wonderful store, though pricey.

            10 Replies
            1. re: phofiend
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              jpf1980 RE: phofiend Sep 13, 2007 03:24 PM

              http://www.christinasepicure.com/

              noticed the website address on the taking applications sign on the way home from work, on the register here page it mentions the zoitas family. Anyone know what that means? I guess they have been around for awhile.

              1. re: jpf1980
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                jpf1980 RE: jpf1980 Oct 30, 2007 06:50 PM

                Think they might be opening very soon. When i drove by tonight on my way out of Oyster Bay which means i was on the far side of the road, it looks like a lot of the non-perishable food shelves were stocked. I'd guess they are going to be opening in the next few days. I will give a shout when i see it open.

                1. re: jpf1980
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                  ForkinMouth RE: jpf1980 Nov 9, 2007 07:26 AM

                  Still not open yet? Hard to imagine it would pass up the lucrative pre-Thanksgiving season. Any recent activity at the store?

                  1. re: ForkinMouth
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                    jpf1980 RE: ForkinMouth Nov 9, 2007 08:50 PM

                    i swear it looks like it can be any day now. I totally agree, they need to be open for thanksgiving day shopping so they can finally make some money.

                    1. re: jpf1980
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                      jpf1980 RE: jpf1980 Nov 15, 2007 02:25 PM

                      Its has finally opened!

                      1. re: jpf1980
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                        synergy RE: jpf1980 Nov 16, 2007 03:18 AM

                        ...and???? Tell, tell, did you go inside?

                        1. re: synergy
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                          jpf1980 RE: synergy Nov 16, 2007 07:53 AM

                          no not yet, i wish i could have, but there have been some family things going on, hopefully tommorow or sunday i will make it.

                          1. re: jpf1980
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                            jpf1980 RE: jpf1980 Nov 17, 2007 12:24 PM

                            Ok went inside, needed some eggs, so i went there instead of stop and shop. Took the full tour, basically its a smaller more expensive fairway. They have Prime meat, nice cheese selection, good looking produce, sushi, fresh pastas, nice deli, olive bar, granola bar, but are limited in lots of things. For example, they only carried Eggsland Best eggs and brown eggs. Prices are generally $1-3 more than fairway on items under $10. What i really liked is they had a whole case full of Bell & evans poultry, which is all Fresh chicken, chicken parts, turkey, duck, etc. I will definitly try this stuff out. What i was really surprised was they had a lot less hot take out food than i was expecting. I was expecting lots of pre-cooked gourmet typle meals that you take home and eat already hot. Unless i completly missed it, i don't think they really had anything like that. I think the location isn't right for this store. Yes the Oyster Bay stop and shop stinks, but this is 5-6 minutes from Whole Foods(for similar pricing), and for a quick stop to get better produce you could have gone to the little green market. Will i shop there, sure, but its not as good as i expected.

                            Also, they had no seafood as far as i saw, so this means the oyster bay area still lacks a place to buy fresh seafood, as the stop and shop has only prepackaged seafood and the seafood store closed last year.

                            1. re: jpf1980
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                              synergy RE: jpf1980 Nov 18, 2007 09:34 AM

                              So it's more like a supermarket then, right? I would only go to check it out if they had a good selection of prepared foods - I have a few large supermarkets by me.

                              1. re: jpf1980
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                                ForkinMouth RE: jpf1980 Nov 19, 2007 06:54 AM

                                I agree completely with jpf's review . In order to compete with Whole Foods or a similar grocery store, Christina's needs a unique angle...unfortunately it has none. The meat and cheese departments seem to be its emphasis, but the cheese seemed way overpriced. I too expected a substantial selection of prepared gourmet entrees (something like "Bernard's" in Glen Head) and was underwhelmed with the offerings. There is no fish department, no fresh bakery items (only packaged), etc. Bottom line: this store will have to reinvent itself or will not last more than 1 year!

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                synergy RE: ForkinMouth Dec 12, 2007 12:22 PM

                Have you gotten the flyers and inserts that Christina's have been sending out lately? I got one as a newspaper insert the other day. It was a nice promo piece but not a single thing or picture tempted me to go there. They hardly promoted any cooked foods. I'll pass on this place.

                2 Replies
                1. re: synergy
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                  linsue RE: synergy Dec 14, 2007 07:22 AM

                  I stopped there on Monday. I tried a couple odf things at the prepared food counter and they were pretty good. Very good mousaka, good potato lakes (thin crisp), reasonably priced. Quiche is also sold in half pies(they have a few varieties ) I have not tried them yet) Better than many other markets with prepared foods such as Fairway, Will be back

                  1. re: linsue
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                    synergy RE: linsue Dec 14, 2007 10:02 AM

                    Thanks for sharing. I'll stop by when I'm in the area passing by. From your feedback sounds like it might be good to check out.

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                  synergy RE: ForkinMouth Dec 16, 2007 09:03 AM

                  We were driving past Christina's last night and decided to stop in and check it out. I was pleasantly surprised. They had prepared foods, salads, baked goods, speciality items, produce, stocked shelves with "gormet" type brands, and lots and lots of samples. We bought some freshly made lobster ravioli. Everyone in the store had a pleasant attitude, acknowledged you and said hi/goodbye. They happily offered samples, which were plentiful and tasted good. THis place does give Whole Foods a run for their money, even in smaller space. I wish them luck. Way better than Blueberries.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: synergy
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                    linsue RE: synergy Dec 25, 2007 09:15 AM

                    just had the quiche with bacon, it was very good. crust was flasky, bacon was crisp. It is hard to find quiche with bacon. Will be back.

                    1. re: linsue
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                      synergy RE: linsue Dec 26, 2007 02:47 AM

                      We ate the lobster ravioli that we bought...LOVED them!

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