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Mar 28, 2008 11:34 AM

Comparing Highland Farm to Longo's

If you had to compare Highland Farm to Longo's, how would you rate each? Take into consideration
1) Price
2) Range of produce, meat, international food, organic
3) Re-stocking
4) Cleanness of the store, lineup at the cashier, customer service, etc., and generally, the whole experience altogether.
5) price
6) price

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  1. Highland in every respect except for a tie in occasional stupidity, bitchyness and feigned concern which is really a personal thing.

    I have a particular thorn in my side about Longos resulting from a very expensive ~ $65 ~ average sized turducken breast purchased in December 2006 which was laughably assembled and incredibly deficient in proper ingredients. We delivered a polite letter of complaint by hand and never received a response of any sort. I have since noted that any of their prepared meat products like chicken cordon bleu-and excepting run of the mill things like sausages- are way too expensive for what they are. You will do ok though if you shop their specials, like this week pork tenderloin is $2,99lb.

    Oh, and one final complaint/confession-it is our default grocery store for light shopping because it is just a couple of blocks away.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scary Bill

      Disagree completely. They are entirely different types of stores. Highland farms is a mega supermarket that carries everything. Longo's is a cross between a supermarket and a small, gourmet oriented place. It doesn't aim to have everything. Highland farms is fine once in a while, but I much prefer the ease and convenience of shopping in Longo's. As far as price is concerned, Highland Farms is easily the most expensive big supermarket in Toronto

      1. re: wordsworth

        You must be a Longo.

        And you have never shopped at Loblaws either, as it clearly is the most expensive of the large chains, if one does not consider Bruno's or Pusateri's as larger chains-and they are true gourmet large grocers unlike Longos, which has a bit of an Italian flair-but not as much as Highland, as I can almost always find cardoons in season at Highland, rarely at Longos.

        Highland carries far more gourmet items, such as ethnic foods, speciallty oils. vinegars, a larger selection of prepared meats and cheeses, olives, etc, etc. I could go on but I can tell, just like me, you cannot be convinced otherwise.

        Such is a democracy.

        1. re: Scary Bill

          Actually, I have found both Dominion and Sobey's to be significantly more expensive than Loblaw's on stuff I typically buy. I have also found the produce and meat sold at Sobey's to be inferior.

          I recently found myself at the Longo's at Hwy 7 and Woodbine. While there's no way I would travel any distance to shop there (assuming my experience was typical - an assumption I can't actually make), they seemed to have adequate staff and full shelves. By Toronto standards, that's pretty good. Longo's is NOT a "gourmet" oriented place. However, they do a much better job than others with prepared meals.

          I don't get to Highland very often. When I lived in Greektown 25 years ago, Highland had a store at Danforth and Arundel (three minutes from my front door). The store was so awful in every way that I couldn't stand to go in. I would pay a convenience store premium to avoid the place. They have come a long way since then and I wish they had a store in my area. But they aren't a "gourmet" operation either. I always perceived them as trying to run a more upmarket Knob Hill. I don't feel that Highland and Longo's are even trying to run comparable stores. Highland has much more overall selection than Longo's and much less service. Highland's huge service departments seem to stock lower quality fresh foods. Paradoxically, they seem unwilling to provide much in the way of real personal service at their service counters.

          1. re: embee

            Embee, try the Highland on Hwy 10 a couple of blocks south of the 401 and you'll see how I have formed my opinion.

            The only area where Highlan-as well as Longo's) generally does not meet my expectations is in their seafood dept. Though Highland stocks a wide variety of seafood, we will typically go to a Chinese store, Costco, or SLM or a wholesaler whose name I cannot recall at the moment just off North Queen west of Kipling.

            1. re: Scary Bill

              I find myself agreeing with Scary Bill and embee, but not wordsworth. My nearest HF is at Lawrence east of Morningside, and it is small compared to most others. Seafood is poorly handled, even on special, so I go to Diana's, Sobey's (a few are good, and this week they have first of season Pacific halibut featured) and Costco, a store that takes back old, smelly fish with a smile .
              Highland's counter service is not particularly friendly, and they remind me New York deli counters, people who do their job, but avoid a friendly interaction much of the time. As I mentioned above, they won't cut a thick steak when requested. Their check out service is good, and I had the same, pleasant experience as Scary Bill, when their debit was down, and I went for cash back at a Beer Store. They turned an inconvenience into a positive experience.
              Fiesta is too far for me, but HF is a good second choice. Little things like bunches of Greek origano, Bulgarian feta in the can, taramasalata, mortadella always on sale, and buckets of cherries in season will keep me coming back.

    2. Highland wins in all respects for me. Never any bitchiness or line ups at the Lawrence East store. I combine a visit there with a trip to Soon Lee (a walk on the wild side!) every week or two. My only complaint about Highland is poor seafood, and 3/4 inch steaks or chops, which they won't adjust, so I buy roasts or poultry only.

      Longo's is too far, too busy, too pricey, and I don't need their upscale prepared items.

      1. When we lived on Ellesmere, we loved shopping at Highland Farms. Their prices, meat & vegetables were superior to anything we have in the Beaches area.

        Longo has very nice stuff, but very expensive.

        1. Highland Farms has the single best produce clearance area I've ever seen. The produce is just ever so slightly lesser quality than what they have out on the floor - but for a fraction of the price. Not everything is worth buying, of course, but once in a while you can get a gorgeous melon, gigantic bag of peppers, or a dozen artichokes for practically nothing. It's my first stop whenever I'm in the store.

          1. There is no comparison. Highland is by far the better. Excellent produce quality and selection. Fresh and clean store. Lot's of checkouts. Amazing bakery selection.

            But I do dislike the shopping carts that require 25 cents to release them. I often forget to bring change and then I have the annoying task of finding a quarter. And more than once when leaving and returning the cart, the retrieved coin falls on the floor and rolls away under the lines of carts. I really don't understand the advantage of inconveniencing customers in this way.