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Wild Oats Saugus... sigh.

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They've closed their seafood department and are definitely closing the store, somewhere around the holidays. I knew it was likely, with the Whole Foods takeover and all, but I was still hoping it wouldn't happen. The person I talked to said the store revenues aren't high enough to keep it open. Feh.

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  1. I knew that was going to happen. My downstairs neighbor is a WF manager.

    Years ago, when Purity Supreme was merged away, I had advocated that WF take its spot next to the Target that was being talked of. It's a perfect location.

    Now, could someone propose that Market Basket take over the Wild Oats location? They like tightly organized stores, don't they? Or, be still my heart, a Roche Bros.?!

    Of course, I'd love a Market Basket to take over the Shaw's in Melrose (it's too big for a Trader Joe's, and TJ's is not full service, as it were; and it's probably too small for Roche Bros).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      I read here a while ago (I thought from you, Karl!) that Market Basket is going into the plaza across the street, where the Diplomat was. Here's the developer, although it doesn't mention that. http://www.allbusiness.com/operations...

      This article does say it'll have a grocery-store anchor, so we can hope! http://www.townonline.com/saugus/home...

      1. re: Chris VR

        Oh, that's right! I forgot!! Of all the things I've lost, I miss my memory the most...

    2. Sorry to hear about the Saugus WO. The Wild Oats in Medford is my closest market (the only one that is a short-ish walk from my home), and I am afraid they may close. I haven't heard anything either way. I've asked at the store a while back, but they didn't know what was going to happen. It is pretty slow there as well, so I am worried. If anyone has any info on the Medford location, it would be much appreciated.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mizzduke

        I asked the cashier on my way out a few days ago, if they were going to become a Whole Foods and she confirmed that they had been informed that the Medford location would become a Whole Foods location, and that they would remain open during the renovations and transition, but she didn't know when this would take place. I was relieved. With twin 9 mo old babies at home, I really don't want to lose a grocery that we can reach in the double stroller...

        1. re: vanna f.k.a. babette

          Great news! You made my day.

        2. re: mizzduke

          it is a shame
          although i said the same when w/f bought out bread&circus a few yrs ago

        3. So it's a certainty. I'm sighing too, although my husband has been predicting this for months. We buy all our seafood there, in fact had a great piece of bluefish last Wednesday.

          I have never shopped Market Basket, but we have been to the Hanniford's in Peabody and liked it immediately. We shop the Hanniford's in Shelburne VT so are familiar with their goods. I wish Russo's was closer!

          Needless to say, the Melrose Shaw's is pathetic.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Well, Market Baskets tend to be, uh, packed tight with people and goods. They have good prices. More importantly, they tend to offer a wider array of meat products - more of the old fashioned-but-now-odd cuts of meat, offal, et cet.

            1. re: Karl S

              This is good to know. Thank you Karl. I will certainly be going if and when they move into the area. I love to try new markets. I know there's one further up Rte. 1 in Rowley, I think it is. Perhaps we'll give that one a try.

              1. re: Gio

                There's one in Woburn by the 93/95 interchange, one in Danvers right off 128 and another in Middleton on 114. The one in Woburn is a complete zoo- Danvers not so bad except for weekends, Middleton is the best, IMO.

                1. re: Chris VR

                  There is also a Market Basket going in in Reading, right behind the new Stop and Shop. For fresh fish...Atlantic in Reading has very good fish and so does Twin Seafood, I went in for a lunch take out one weekend and couldn't believe the cut of cod they had, it was restaurant grade and looked beautiful. Of course it was pricey.

                  1. re: 4chowpups

                    Is Atlantic the same company as Atlantic Seafood that used to be in Wakefield and in Revere on that road that goes to Lynn???

                    1. re: Gio

                      I don't know...not from this area originally.

                    2. re: 4chowpups

                      Just to let you know that we went to Twin Seafood on this past Wednesday and got a terrific piece of cod, thick and beautiful. The fellow at the counter said it had just come in. Then DH and I shared a (huge) medium order of whole belly clams as we drove home. OMgoodness..they were absolutely delicious! Hotter than hades but oh so tasty. I think I detected more than a hint of nutmeg in the batter. The order was so large that we only had a salad for dinner and I cooked the fish last night. I felt safe keeping it a day which I don't usually do, since it was fresher than fresh. I made the ubiquitous Ritz cracker, minced garilc and parsley, lemon topping and roasted it...... simply one of the best pieces of fish I've had in a long time. To round out the menu, there was Jasmine rice pilaf and steamed green beans. Bought at the Market Masket in Middleton earlier that same day. We were both very impressed with MB. Going to make that one of our monthly grocery stops.

                      Tomorrow. Sat., back to Twin for another sample of their marvelous seafood..

                      All in all quite a ChowHoundish day. Thank you all for your most excellent recommendations.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Well..... today (Saturday) DH brought home the most gorgeous salmon fillet I have seen from Twin Seafood in Reading Square. Thick, colorful and pristine. I marinated it for a few minutes with pressed garlic, a pinch of dried thyme & rosemary and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and lemon juice squeezed all over.

                        Twin is now our go to seafood market. DH told the fellow behind the counter that we read about Twin here on CH... he loved it, but allowed as how he had heard that someone here said they microwaved their clam chowder. He emphatically stated they Do Not own a microwave and everything is as fresh as can be and made from scratch the conventional way. We believe him.

                        Thank you for recommending this wonderful seafood market.

            2. I'm shocked it lasted as long as it did. Wild Oats and H2 housewives don't really mix. I love their Beeler's precooked bacon and the Rosie's chicken they used to sell. As for the rest - I could take it or leave it. It does have some fond memories for me, though: my older son used to love pushing the mini shopping carts around. He used to call it the "little cart store." Then they all got stolen.

              Now I drive the same son every morning to Andover for school, and I have discovered an actual thriving Wild Oats which has letters posted from other WFMs welcoming it to the family. It's worth a trip if you live in that area.

              Trivia: when the Medford WO first opened I ventured in for some tuna. The quality, at the time, was fairly good - definitely a 2+. The attendant, who was cutting swordfish at the time, wiped his knife on his apron, then cut my tuna. I later recognized him as the seafood manager at the Saugus store.

              1. So, if I had to choose between Melrose Shaw's and Foodmaster for seafood for dinner tonight, which is the lesser of two evils?

                I'd like to get to Maplewood Fish Market, which I haven't tried yet, but not with the two kids in tow.

                20 Replies
                1. re: Chris VR

                  My gut tells me Shaws. I've never been excited about buying fish at either, but my wife has come home with fish from Shaws and it's been okay. What about he "fish market" at Turner's? And where is the Maplewood Fish Market?

                  1. re: almansa

                    Thanks, I'll give that Shaw's a try.

                    Sigh, who am I kidding, I hate that store. Turner's it is.

                    Maplewood Fish Market is in Malden, where Lebanon and Salem Street intersect. It's gotten good reviews here, along with the meat market. Unless there's some great parking tip someone wants to share, that area is tough for me to manage with the little ones. Not sure if that makes me an "H2 housewife" (never heard that term before!) :-)

                    So thanks my fellow Melrosians. Feel free to shoot me an email (address in my profile) if you want some Concord Grapes from my yard. No way I can use them all.

                    1. re: Chris VR

                      I like Maplewood Fish Market. There is a small parking lot on Lebanon street, next to the Maplewood Meat Market. Not sure if the lot is for the Meat Market only, though. Wish I were more help. I have never bought fish at wither Shaw or Johnnies- but I really hate Shaws. I like the meat from Johnnies, though.

                      1. re: Chris VR

                        You mean Fisherman's Fleet in Maplewood Square, I assume.

                        I have a bad story from them: in early August, I bought sea scallops from them. I asked if they were dry, because I wanted to sear them, and the counter person confirmed they were - they looked a bit moist, but were beige, not white (white is a definite sign of non-dry scallops). Unfortunately, they not only would not sear, but poured forth a lot of water. It was such a waste - I was exceedingly dissapointed (it was the first time I had bought anything there because every other time I had gone, about 6 times, they were always out of anything I wanted to buy).

                        I have been told that scallops do get watery at unspecified times, but if that were the case, a fishmonger with the reputation of Fisherman's Fleet should not be dealing with suppliers who'd sell them those without disclosure, as it were.

                        J Pace & Sons has a fish counter. I've had good fish from them, a bit cheaper than Turner's and just as high quality - even a bit more choice on occasion (Turner's has gotten VERY lazy about the narrowness of what they deign to offer).

                        1. re: Karl S

                          Now this is an option. I'll have to take a good look at Pace's fish. We're in there about once a week. Thanks for the thought.

                          1. re: Karl S

                            Never thought of Paces, either. Good idea. Love their all of their meats- except the sausaage. Have bought three varieties, and really did not enjoy them. Have never tried thier bakery- but it sure looks good. Will try their fish. THat is too bad about your experiene with Fishrermans Fleet- I have alwways had good luck there

                            1. re: Karl S

                              Completely forgot about Pace's, thanks! And thanks- I had a feeling I had the name of the fish place wrong. Yes, Turner's can be frustrating because it's such a narrow selection.

                              1. re: Chris VR

                                Pace's is just as narrow, if nor moreso. About Fisherman's Fleet: they have a greater selection than is on display, since the general public doesn't want all the choices that go to restaurants. They are a big wholesaler (sell to Olives, etc) and are quite capable of providing high quality. Scallops release liquid not only if the are soaked, but also if they are a couple of days old and the sugars have converted to starch, if the pan is overcrowded, etc. If they smell ok but look wet and dull, dry them with paper towels, and sear them in a super hot pan with oil just added. Then season them so the salt does not draw out additional moisture before searing.

                                1. re: almansa

                                  Agree- I have never had a problem with selection. And as for the scallops, I have only baked them, so cannot spead to searing them.

                                  1. re: almansa

                                    This were supposedly just fresh, and I know how to prepare and sear sea scallops (I can do it in my sleep, I think) - this was the first time I ever had a problem, and they were *VERY* wet once heat was applied to them.

                                    The problem is I am unlikely to go back given this experience - given their rep, and what I told them I intended to do with them, the product was a failure. I just can't trust they are giving their retail customers what they give to their demanding wholesale clients. And, as I've said, despite what it is said here they have in back, when I've asked before I was always told they were out.

                                    So I get the sense that Fisherman's Fleet's retail counter is not reliable, bottom line. At the prices fish fetch today, that's not just a strike, it's out.

                          2. re: Chris VR

                            I would either go to Maplewood, or Turners. But Turners is more expensive than Turners. I have not bought seafood at either Shaws ( I am also a Shaws hater), nor at Johnnies. But I will say that I l ike the meat from Johnnies, if that is any help.

                            1. re: Chris VR

                              We used to go to Maplewood, in the days before WO (hate that I now know about the knife wiping on the apron, arrrgh!!) but DH decided he didn't like the "look" of the seafood. Same with Andy's. Has any one shopped there?

                              1. re: Gio

                                Surprised about his dislike of the Maplewood Fish market ( real name is Fishermans Fleet). The seafood is absolutley fresh. The retail area is small, and most of their business is with restaurants. They buy their fish fresh, and :prepare" ( fillet, etc) the fish right on the premises. Maybe that is why he didn't like the look of it. But I have always had great luck there. They used to sell really great homemade stuffed clams. Not sure if they still do. Their scallops are always great.

                                1. re: macca

                                  Thank you macca. I'm going to insist he read your post. Perhaps that will bring him to his senses. We have some sort of seafood twice a week, augmented with frozen shrmp in shell from TJ's. Since he comes from the western part of MA I've had to convince him... I'd have nothing but seafood if I could.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Not sure where you live, but there is also a fish market on Rte 28 in North REading- the Lobster Claw. It is on the corner of Rte 28 and Park Street- across from the liquor store and dunkin donuts/funeral home. They used to have a great fish market, then they closed it and were operating as a restaurant only. They have since opened it- so that may be an option. I will say, I ghave not been there since the fish market re opened, but I remember the people who worked there used to be so helpful.And the rpices were better than Turners. I love Turners, but they are pricey. I bought some haddock there a few weeks ago, and it cost more than $20.00 to feed three adults and a child. And, to be truthful, there really was not enough for all of us.

                                  2. re: macca

                                    Any idea how late Fisherman's Fleet is open?

                                    -----
                                    Fisherman's Fleet
                                    689 Salem St, Malden, MA

                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                      Sorry- no idea. But I would bet is is not open too late.

                                      1. re: macca

                                        6pm, they say. Maybe I'll give it a try and park in that lot.

                                  3. re: Gio

                                    I went to Andy's once. It had kind of an odd vibe- can't be more specific because this was a while ago and the memory has faded. I do recall that the price seemed a bit high for the quality of what we got. It's also really inconveniently located, so I haven't been back.

                                    1. re: Chris VR

                                      This is exactly what DH said, although he didn't buy anything the day he was there.

                                2. Well this is a total bummer! I was hoping that WF would take it over in the buyout and was very excited by the prospect.

                                  There is the WF in Woburn which is about 20 mins (down Montvale, around the circle, etc.), but not sure you want to go that far with kids just for tonight's dinner.

                                  I've had hit and miss with the Stoneham Stop & Shop seafood department. Actually had some very good swordfish steaks from there this summer.

                                  I hate every grocery store in Melrose. So sad!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: kate used to be 50

                                    I too have had good luck with the seafood at stop and shop, but in Malden. We always get our mussels there (we have tried several places but always end up with a few "poopy" mussels per bag) , and we have never had a bad experience - not even close. I was not keen on trying their stuff, but I am not averse to buying there now. I prefer to buy at smaller independent shops, but am still looking for a place that I can get to before COB.

                                  2. I was in that Wild Oats a couple of months back, and it was in such rough shape, its produce department so full of crummy, past-its-prime, overpriced produce, that I vowed never to return. I'm guessing its management already knew it was doomed then.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      Yes, WO in Saugus has known for a while. I was there one night when they were doing an inventory to give to WF. I am so sad to learn that WF isn't going in there. Wish there was something going in there that would raise the bar.

                                    2. We had very fresh swordfish from Fish House Grill on 3A last Sunday. It's sort of on the Burlington/Billerica line. $8.99/lb. They have a very small selection, but what I've gotten has been good, and reasonable the few times I've gone there.

                                      Don't expect anything like whole fish, though, and the young women who wait the counter don't seem to know much of anything about fish. It's a bargain, though.

                                      1. Did not know about the closing. I will have to go into mourning as I loved sitting there in their little restaurant sipping their wonderful soups. Can;t stand how large companies take over the little people.
                                        For fish, right on the other side of Route 1 in Saugus is Andy's Seafood. My friend from Stoneham swears by it.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: taxi

                                          Thanks, as I said earlier, my one trip to Andy's didn't leave me eager to rush back. I ended up at Pace's last night- not a wide selection, as almansa mentioned, but they had what I needed and it all worked out.

                                          1. re: Chris VR

                                            I never buy fish in a conventional supermarket. I always remember the disgusting smell and taste when my mother cooked it. Then, she started buying at Moulton's in Medford and there was a world of difference. This was about 40 years ago, so I don't know if supermarket fish is still so bad. I still buy fish at Moulton''s and have never had a problem, but the selection is limited. I have never bought fish at a Whole Foods or Wild Oats, but when the WO in West Medford converts to a Whole Foods I might give it a try since it is so close.