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Worst grocery store in Park Slope

The closest grocery store to my house is Steve's C Town on 9th street. Every time I've gone in the past month I walk into the store and every cart is gone...why? Because they are lined up five deep at the checkouts. You can't even move through the front part of the store because there are so many people lined up waiting to check out. What's the deal? It never used to be this bad. Is this the run-off from the closed D'Agostino's on Seventh? I wish a Key Food would open where the old Eckerd pharmacy was on 5th and 9th to give us South Slopers an alternative.

OK...that was my rant. But why can't they get their act together?

By the way- best groceries:
Key Food on Fifth Ave
Eagle Provisions
D'Vine Taste
Union Market (if a bit overpriced)

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  1. If it's a well-run Key Food, then yes. If it's a Key Food like the one we have down the road a piece in Windsor Terrace then you're better off with what you've got. Believe me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: HankyT

      The 5th Ave. Key Food is excellent. The one on 7th Ave. is mediocre at best.

      1. re: Bob Martinez

        Am I wrong or might the Key Food on 7th Ave. have new management? I noticed that there are a lot of new cashiers and it's gotten a smidgen friendlier in there.

      2. re: HankyT

        I believe the deal with Key Food is that the stores are individually managed, which explains not only the extreme variation but also the weirdly named "Jo, Brian and Joseph's" Key Food on Flatbush.

      3. I go to either the 5th Ave Key Food or Pathmark at off hours. Pathmark has consistently better meat selection and the veggies are starting to come around. They are also a lot cheaper that KF if you buy food on sale.

        1. Why do you go back if your shopping experience is so miserable? Vote with your feet.

          I am a big fan of the Key Food on Fifth Ave. I enjoy the oldies on the PA system, the employees who sing along, the managers, who are eager to talk and are more than willing to order a new item. The selection of organic and natural foods has grown through the years, to the point where I seldom need to stop at a health food store anymore.
          The imported and gourmet items are fun, particularly the British food area. You can get PG Tips tea, not to mention cans of spotted dick.

          Eagle Provisions is fun for Polish specialties: whenever I'm in the mood for pierogies, I buy mine there. D'Vine Taste has real character and I enjoy the middle eastern specialties. Cheese prices, both at D'Vine Taste and Blue Apron, have gotten out of hand (many artisinal cheeses are typically nearly $30 a pound now), but when I have a craving for cheese, those are my usual stops.

          1. I think that your frustration is due to the time of day when you go. If you go early on the weekend of around 4-5pm during the week, then the checkout will not be so troublesome. The cart situation can be a bit daunting, however it is not the largest place to shop and I think that there definitely is spill over from D'ag closing up shop

            1. I agree that C-Town is a nightmare (which is why I don't shop there), but below 9th street, if you're on foot there really aren't many alternatives... because they do have decent stuff and aren't priced like Union Market.

              I am convinced that the problem is their management/workers. I have never (except maybe at Pathmark) seen so many cashiers spend so much time socializing and texting instead of working. It's really disgraceful.

              I agree with everyone else that the key Food on 5th ave. is great, and they deliver.

              As for Eagle... they have gone way downhill in the past couple of years. Their deli is still fine, but the meats and produce - perishables in general - are very questionable. They re-wrap/re-package regularly. Grey meat. Pre-packaged poultry that is past it's "sell by" date. Stale breads and stale beers (a crime in my opinion) are all issues I've had there recently. For the Polish stuff, try Jubilat on the next block... it's small, but great.

              5 Replies
              1. re: detour

                I am still a regular faithful patron of Eagle and my hat is off to them for trying to cover so many aspects of the market in a small store. Most of their failings come from trying to do too much, have it all. Too many beers, too many olive oils, etc But the main thing that is killing them now appears to be loss of traditional clientele for their ethnic products as the neighborhood upscales and improved competition for specialty items, for which they used to be the only game in town, I mean, Key Food did not previously sell D'Artagnan. And the new folks dont cook like the old ones did. I am rooting for owner John to pull through this phase - he is a smart guy and always trying new things. It just pays to be picky when shopping there.

                ps I have never had a problem with the meats. produce beer and groceries, yes, you have to be careful, but not so far with the meat.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  All the new construction in their area could be an opportunity.

                2. re: detour

                  I second Jubilat. Not much variety in terms of what's on the shelves but their smoked meat and deli case is second to none.

                  1. re: bigmackdaddy

                    I love Jubilat! Great variety of homemade hams, a nice pate, headcheese, all kinds of great stuff. Stay away from the desserts on the top shelf though, scary stuff.

                  2. re: detour

                    So true...unless you want to go to Compare Foods on 5th Ave and 8th...scary stuff but a nice supply of microbrews from around the country and their meats are actually OK. The problem is they don't have a lot of stuff that is standard for other grocery stores (wheat breads, herbs, decent sodas).

                  3. There is a spanish grocery store on 5th avenue diagnol from Eagle that has great produce and meat, especially pork. I snagged some excellent beef tripe which was awesome. The name just escapes me now

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: slopeguy

                      I think it's Associated. It was bought out about a year ago. They do have good meats that are popular for Mexican dishes.

                    2. To me, the Key Food on 5th Avenue is the best mid-range priced grocery store in Park Slope. The Key Food on 7th Avenue has improved a little since it was spruced up, but I still don't like the meat quality and the produce is not fresh. I primarily purchase non-perishables there. I like Union Market for a quick gourmet purchase, as is it pricey.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: txfireant

                        when you say the Key Food on 7th, you mean Key Food Fresh! Just look at that new green awning . . .that says fresh.

                        Damn, I wish there was an irony button on my computer.

                      2. I can't believe everyone here loves Key Foods over Steve's. There's no comparison in my mind. I actually make the trek to Steve's b/c I can not stand how much more Key Food charges for basic stuff. Not to mention the price hikes since their unnecessary 'make over'. They don't have a fish department and the meats available suck. Their international food section blows. And don't even get me started about how you are forced to buy 5 zucchini's because all their veggies are saran-wrapped and nothing is loose... it makes me nuts. The only thing I like about it now is the self-checkout they put in. But, I'd wait in line at Steve's anyday over flying thru check-out at Key Foods (and it's only a block from my apt!). amy @ http://www.neverfull.wordpress.com

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: amysep

                          I don't have any opinion about Key Food, but I likewise can't see exactly what the beef is about C-Town. For the last few years I've been in there probably five or six times a week, and can't recall thinking a single one of those times that it was badly managed. And I rarely wait very long to check out (and have never seen cashiers texting each other while people were waiting). The cart situation I don't know about, since I don't usually use one.

                        2. I am also a fan of the Key Foods on 5th ave. There is another Union Market which just opened recently on 7th ave between 13th and 14th st(I think). Though its a little pricey, a great place for produce and specialty items. LOVE DVine taste.