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Jan 23, 2008 09:41 AM

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).