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FH Trader Joe's---Oct. 26th Opening Day !!!

Stopped by Saturday night after having a grand Octoberfest meal at Chalet Alpina on Metropolitan Ave. The sign in the vestibule said they are opening October 26th.

Hallelejuah and pass the chili-lime pistachios!!

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  1. Yeah, this is what a few people have been saying. The amazing thing is that less than 2 weeks ago, they said in an e-mail to me that they did not yet have a definite opening date. At the same time, they had already posted October 26 and 26 opening dates for 2 California stores. And as of this morning, the date is still not on their site!

    The honey-sesame almonds aren't bad either, by the way...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Shayna Madel

      It's on the TJ site now:

      Coming Soon:
      Charlotte, NC (North)
      Columbia, MD - November 2
      Corona, CA
      Edgewater, NJ
      Oakland, CA (Lakeshore) - October 26
      Oakland, CA (College) - October 26
      Queens, NY - October 26th
      Rancho Cucamonga, CA
      Woodland Hills, CA

    2. I wonder if Friday's grand opening date with render the same results we witnessed at the Union Square St. Pattie's day opening.

      Coming from Jackson Heights, this location is a bit off way for me. Nonetheless, you can count me in on what will probably be a day of TJs mass hysteria. I look forward to it!

      1. Well, Sandrina, I for one am tempted to storm TJ's as soon as possible. They sell these dried tart cherries that I am craving right now. And enough cashews to make a big South Indian cashew curry. Hysteria!

        1. What is FH?
          No new NY locations listed on the Trader Joe website . . .

          2 Replies
          1. re: pitu

            The new TJ's will be on the border of Forest Hills and Rego Park in Queens. The address, I believe, is 90-30 Metropolitan Avenue.

            They're also in the process of building one at Atlantic and Court Street in South Brooklyn.

            1. re: pitu

              It's actually Rego Park, really close to Forest Hills and it is listed. If you click onto "locations" and scroll down, they list "Queens, NY" location under "coming soon." They still don't show the opening date, however...

              Okay, all hounds wear a red rose pinned to your shirt on TJ's Day 1...

            2. So I checked the TJ site this morning and still no "official" acknowledgment of the date on their site. And I obsessed and checked 5 minutes ago and lo and behold, there it is, officially posted on their site, that October 26 is opening day. Yay.

              24 Replies
              1. re: Shayna Madel

                Would the general concensus be that the M53 bus is the most convenient way to get to TJ's from Jackson Heights (74/Roosevelt stop)?

                Thinking that with 4 or 5 bags of groceries, a straight bus ride would be easier than a subway/bus transfer.

                Also, what is the name of the TJs stop on the bus, and approx. how long can I expect to be on the bus before hitting the bell/signal?


                1. re: adesso

                  you will get off the Q53 (since we're in queens) at metropolitan avenue and woodhaven. ring the bell when you see saint john's cemetary on your right...it'll be the only cemetary on woodhaven. you will then cross woodhaven....then metro and walk east one block. you'll see it, big staples and michael's signs are already up.
                  depending on traffic, the travel time could vary.... once you get onto woodhaven blvd it is only two stops and should take no longer than about 5-10 minutes (tops).

                  1. re: adesso

                    The most direct way from JH, would be Q29 bus - it stops right in front of the mall on 80th Street and Cooper ave.

                    Anyone knows if they're planning to have a wine shop as well? TIA

                    1. re: welle

                      Legally, they are not allowed to have more than 1 wine/liquor store in NY state. Since there's already one in Union Square, we are SOL.

                      1. re: Joe MacBu

                        I was wondering where the booze was? Thanks for the clarification. Guess chocolate will have to do.

                        1. re: janie

                          The liquor would have to be in a separate store, anyway, as it is in Manhattan, but I find it hard to believe that NYS restricts a company to owning one liquor store in the state, particularly when they do not restrict restaurants with alcohol licenses from having only one location within the state.

                          1. re: Shayna Madel

                            I had heard of something similiar in Massachusetts, and I believed that was why the only store I knew of there that carried wine was Cambridge. However, upon looking at the store locations list on the TJs site, I do see that three stores in MA carry wine (out of about 20). I still believe it is very difficult for them to get liquor licenses for their stores in MA but I am just not sure why. And I am not sure how that matches NY;s laws as it is much more commonplace in NY for grocery stores to sell beer.

                            1. re: seneca

                              Actually, regarding the wine issue, this article in the Times should clear things up http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/24/nyr...
                              There is a sentence that says "State law also prohibits holders of retail liquor licenses from owning more than one store."

                              1. re: seneca

                                I see what the article says, but then I got to thinking that Stew Leonard sells at least wine at both the Yonkers location and at a location in Farmingdale, near where another food location is/was to be built. Not sure if either place sells hard liquor in addion to wine and not sure if that makes a difference. But interestingly, on the Stew Leonard site, although there is this disclaimer, "STEW LEONARD'S WINES IS INDIVIDUALLY OWNED AND OPERATED. NOT A CHAIN AND IS NOT A COOPERATIVE BUYING GROUP. THEY ARE NOT PART OF THE STEW LEONARD'S GROCERY CHAIN. EACH STORE PURCHASES PRODUCT SEPARATELY. NOT ALL PRODUCTS ADVERTISED ARE AVAILABLE IN BOTH STORES. PRICES LISTED MAY VARY BETWEEN STORES," the two New York corporations have the same corporate address on the NYS site where they list NY corporations...

                                Does TJ, where it does sell alcohol, sell wine only, or hard liquor also?

                              2. re: seneca

                                Wine and liquor are treated the same under NY law for retail. And, as it says on this thread, no one is allowed to operate more than one liquor/wine retail store, and the store premises must be completely dedicated to the sale of liquor and wine. There are several other restrictions, such as the store must have a direct entrance to the street (Whole Foods ran into this problem when they planned to open a wine store in the basement of their Houston St. store).

                                Beer is different, and much much much easier to get a license to sell. Basically pretty much any grocery store or drug store can sell the stuff.

                                Here is a brief overview of the types of alcohol sales licenses available in New York State:

                                1. re: Woodside Al

                                  Well, then the only thing I can think of is that the corporation that owns each business must be different, even if they use a common d/b/a, as somehow Stew Leonard is getting away with it.

                                  1. re: Woodside Al

                                    So does anyone have any idea why the NYS TJ's do not sell beer? Every corner bodega seems to be able to sell it, I can't imagine that Trader Joes couldn't get the proper license.

                                    1. re: evets

                                      Does TJ sell beer in states other than NY?

                                      And I finally found the actual NYS law regarding the liquor issue, not anecdotal mentions in news articles:

                                      NYS ABC law section 150(15) says:
                                      "No retail licensee to sell liquors and/or wines for off-premises
                                      consumption shall be interested, directly or indirectly, in any premises
                                      where liquors, wines or beer are manufactured or sold at wholesale or
                                      any other premises where liquor or wine is sold at retail for
                                      off-premises consumption, by stock ownership, interlocking directors,
                                      mortgage or lien on any personal or real property or by any other means..."

                                      But somehow Stew Leonard is getting people to open up stores using their name as a d/b/a, so there must be some loophole, or at least a licensing of the name...

                                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                                        There is a wine store, run by Rivendell wineries, that has at least two branches in Manhattan that sell wine. According to their website, they're governed by special winery laws, there could be something similar legislation for dairy stores like Stew Leonard's, who knows. Anyway, if interested, Rivendell's store is Vintageny.com

                                        Sucks for us, but I guess it's a good legislation that nurtures small business owners - I'll have to stick with my neighborhood liquor store (not that I mind it), although I'd had this plan to try all their under $5 inventory - as for me it's just a 7-min bike ride from Woodside. oh well, maybe that's for the better - I'm pretty sure that much cheap booz is not good for the system...

                                        1. re: welle

                                          Nor is it very safe for the bike ride home. I had hoped for cheap wine to cook with.

                                        2. re: Shayna Madel

                                          My guess it that Stew Leonard's, being a local company, also has a somewhat better handle on what it takes to operate and get what you want in New York. In my business I find that a lot of companies from outside the area run into problems in NY, and won't take - or simply don't believe - the advice I give them about conditions here. One thing that happens a lot is that they run into roadblocks dealing with our laws and our government agencies, and don't seem to "get" the NYC area way of getting around these things. They also expect local government agencies to go all ga-ga over their national or international status, and are upset and confused when New Yorkers are unimpressed and won't bend over backwards to please them or change the rules to suit them. I know personally that this is just the sort of problem that Whole Foods ran into with their Houston St. store plans.

                                          1. re: Woodside Al

                                            That would not shock me in the least. I cannot believe there was no way to get around this issue. It appears that Stew's was willing to set up multiple corporations (as witness that the NY wine stores both use the same Connecticut address in NY corporate records), and maybe TJs was not. Maybe TJ will smarten up...

                                          2. re: Shayna Madel

                                            Yes, TJ's sells beer at most of their locations outside of NYS (or rather, outside of the Puritanical northeast). I miss the stores in LA where one could stock up on good beer, wine and scotch at 25% lower prices than anywhere else.

                                            Link to PDF of TJ's locations with *s for locations that don't sell booze:

                                            Most, but not all, of TJ's locations in NY, MA, CT, NJ, PA, DE and MD don't sell booze. Either all of our neighboring states have incredibly tough liquor laws, or TJ's doesn't have the distribution capacity to service booze to this area of the country. However, since VA, DC and NC are able to get their fix, I'm guessing it's the laws. TJ's needs some mob ties to do some proper business here, for our sake.

                                            1. re: Joe MacBu

                                              Thanks for the info. Didn't know NY or NJ was puritanical. I'm thinking it's the liquor laws, combined with some of the points made by Woodside Al, at least here in NY.

                                              1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                I didn't mean that they were in the strict sense (despite my capitalization of the term), but more in spirit. For example, I view the more restrictive hours of alcohol sale on Sundays to be originally influenced by the blue laws of New England.

                                          3. re: evets

                                            TJ Union Sq does sell beer. It is in the little corner btwn samples and the dairy aisle (frequently the route to check-out).

                                      2. re: Shayna Madel

                                        there are different rules and regulations for retail (liquor store) and on- premise (restaurant) licenses.

                                  2. re: welle

                                    i would definitely stick with the Q53. it's an express bus so it'll get you where you want to be much faster than the local Q29. also it leaves you on woodhaven and metro...alot closer than 80th and cooper.

                              3. Can't wait to go but I'm afraid that it's going to be a zoo on opening day (the buildup has been tremendous). The parking lot they've got is WAY too small (think I'll have to use the Sports Authority/Home Depot lot instead).

                                12 Replies
                                1. re: jennielap

                                  I haven't driven by yet. Are the two properties really close? I figured that maybe after work, sometime after 7, it might not be so horrible. As far as the build-up, the only people I know commenting that much about it are the food-obsessed, mostly people on this site. Is the "real world" that into this?

                                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                                    I believe the "real world" does indeed know about TJs. I observe a lot of TJ paper shopping bags on the R Train in Queens, indicating to me that there are more than a few TJs devotees.

                                    I schlep the 46 mile round trip to TJs in Hicksville and that store is a pleasure; relatively manageable at all hours of the day. I have a feeling I will continue to use the Hicksville store for a long time. The crowds at the Metropolitan Ave. store are going to be insane for a long time is my belief.

                                    1. re: bobbyrab

                                      By Hicksville, do you mean the one on South Oyster Bay Road? I think that's Plainview. If it's the same place, then I know what you're saying about the store. The last time I was there, there were people there, but basically no line at check-out. Of course, 6 p.m. on a Sunday in the suburbs could have something to do with it.

                                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                                        Yes, sorry my Shayna Madel :) I did mean Plainview. After I get passed New Hyde Park, they all sort of blend in together for me! I am retired, so I go on weekdays and usually in the last morning and there is never more than three people ahead of me on line. Well, until this post......

                                        1. re: bobbyrab

                                          And if you need a good bakery, there's a good one in the next shopping center over, called The Bakery. Kosher if you need it to be. Great danish, coffee cakes, Jewish corn bread, rye bread, etc. The kind of bakery you just don't see much of anymore. And Fairway is not that far, I think...

                                      2. re: bobbyrab

                                        Do the ones on Long Island carry wine? Guess I could look it up on the TJ site. Since I live in Queens, I might check out one of the LI ones - I really HATE the crowds I've encountered in the Manhattan store. On the other hand, in Massachusetts, the only TJs I've been to that I really like alot is the Cambridge one - because it is so big. The others I've been to (Acton, Arlington) have seemed to lack that certain je ne sais quois.

                                        And regarding the post below about only SaHM's being the only ones who know about chowhound - I highly doubt that is true. But since chat is not allowed on this site, I guess we will never find out who is a SAHM and who is not (I am not).

                                        1. re: seneca

                                          Just wanted to clarify. I guess I chose my wording poorly in my post. What I meant was that of my SAHM friends I was the only one who knew about Chowhound, yet they were all really stoked about the store opening. (Trying to answer SM's query about whether the "real world" was as excited about TJs as we all were). Sorry about the misunderstanding.

                                      3. re: Shayna Madel

                                        The structure with TJs, Michaels and Staples is essentially in front of the Home Depot. So not too much of a walk. As far as the "real world" I can only judge from my cluster of FH friends (mostly SAHMs like me, nobody else knows about Chowhound), and they are all completely stoked. The big question is do we go by ourselves (while the kids are at preschool) or wait until they are with us (to get the balloons). I think my first trip will be solo until I scope out the situation and the crowd.

                                        1. re: jennielap

                                          I think I can handle the walk, if necessary. Hey, I'm single, WOTH (okay, made that up for work outside the home), don't have kids and know about Chowhound, and like all of you SAHMs are equally as psyched. I applaud your mom-ness in contemplating bringing the kid to get a balloon, but it could get real ugly real fast if it's crowded, and if your kid is too big to fit in the shopping cart seat (and TJ carts are those small ones, I think), you could have one heckuva time wrangling the little sweetheart while you are trying to orient yourself in a new, somewhat unfamiliar store. Not much fun for either you or the little chowhound.

                                          But now I am conflicted. If you go right smack in the middle of the day, say 2-3 o'clock, and it's a weekday, since the store is obviously "destination" shopping, and a lot of people are at work, how bad could it be?

                                          Oh, geez, see how you feel tomorrow morning . Sorry I'm not much help here.

                                          1. re: Shayna Madel

                                            i am also apprehensive, but i plan to check out the new TJs at around noon tomorrow. i'm hoping that it won't be as insane as the one in the city - but, if i'm willing to deal with the crowd there, might as well deal with the one in rego park. at least i can drive to the rego park one instead of schlepping my tote on the subway. i'm sorry mother earth, but my back hurts from carrying all those groceries on the train back to queens!

                                            1. re: Linda

                                              I feel your pain. I was at the Manhattan store on a Sunday over the summer and the check-out like was at least 40 minutes long. And then a walk several blocks across 14th Street to get to the F train, dragging the grocery bags.

                                              Having grown up in the suburbs, I can do battle in the parking lots with the best of them. At least I have a car.

                                              1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                Peeked in the window tonight, and they were getting the last touches down it seems---I'll stop by there sometime before 3pm and check it out if it's not too much of a scene...

                                    2. Any early reports? How crowded is it?

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                                        I went this morning. Definitely crowded but not impossibly so. Plenty of parking spaces at Sports Authority (about 50 paces from door). They had all the usual suspects and were giving out free samples galore (choc. coated espresso beans--yum yum). Only two complaints: they didn't have the "choice" dried apricots that I like (a California type). The guy looked in back and said they were out of stock in the warehouse and would have them eventually. The other thing they lacked were balloons! I was told that there is a "helium shortage" and they haven't found a supplier yet. ha ha, honest! But everyone was so dang happy--the customers, the staff...Also, found the peanut satay sauce that we love and were told had been discontinued, so that was a bonus. Happy happy joy joy.

                                        1. re: jennielap

                                          Thanks for the report. I am going to go this evening and poke around. Maybe pick out something for dinner and then some. Some of the individual portions of salmon with different stuffings are pretty good and cook quickly. Given that this is day one and busy, I would not be shocked if a number of things go out of stock. I will gird myself for acting happy, happy, happy while driving over...

                                          As to the balloons, the guy may not be jerking you. My sister is an avid poster on a party planning (bar/bat mitzvah) message board and apparently some of the party decorators have for months been telling some of the posters that there is some sort of helium shortage. And if you google "helium shortage," you'll see these and other articles...


                                          1. re: Shayna Madel

                                            .I was there today. First timer.IMO I think Fairway's is so much better. Fairway's has more a a selection. But I will still shop at TJ ever once in a while. Queens needs a Fairways

                                            1. re: FAL

                                              I really like Fairway also and agree if I had to choose, I would probably pick Fairway, but it's really hard to make a direct comparison. Fairway is supposedly an upscale supermarket and has a deeper inventory, with the here and there typical supermarket sales, while TJ's projects a more bohemian image, with regularly cheap prices on certain items. It's just nice to have a choice.

                                        2. re: Shayna Madel

                                          Well, I made it there about 2:30pm, and I left at about 4pm, does that say I had a good time or what? What a blast to see so many people in queens excited! A few stomachs hanging into the refrigerated sections I had to dodge, but all in all, alot of fun! Bought lots of nuts, and prepared food stuff for quick meals,----great deals on cereal----bought a package of their organic free range chicken tenders to try (a bit expensive at $7 a lb though), and some salmon from the fridge section, and some shrimp from the frozen section. Crabcakes in frozen section look good, anyone ever try them? and lots of other items like tapenades etc---they were packed with lots of people, but the lines were only 2 people deep, and moved super quick...

                                          It's easy to get carried away there and buy more than you need or want at the moment, it's the packaging and the Hawaiian shirts that seduces you into it...anyway, yes, friendly and fun-------

                                          I love Queens.

                                        3. Got there about 5pm today. It was very crowded, but not crazy. They had enough employees to help out too. I noticed that they had a lot of help from seasoned traders who work at other locations on the island. The lines moved very fast too.
                                          Looks like i'll go to this one or the one in Hewlett until we get one in my part of Midwood Brooklyn.