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Trader Joe's Brooklyn?

So, it's my understanding that this branch opened on the 26th of last month. I'm surprised to have seen no posts on this...any reports? Is it as slammed all the time as the Manhattan outpost? I may go today, and will report if I do.

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  1. It can get fairly crowded but they move lines through the check out pretty quickly.

    Though the meat section is small (and pre packaged), we've had some great luck with their NY Strip steaks and pork loins. Wouldn't replace the local butchers for me but a good option when we're trying to do all our shopping at once.

    Good TJ's brand yogurts.

    Veg section is too packaged up for my taste and makes you buy more than you want (i.e. 8 onions, non sold single).

    1. I've been quite a few times now at a bunch of different times of day, and even when the lines have seemed crazy, they move fairly quickly, as they should with 18 - count 'em - 18 cashiers! One line is for 12 or less, which helps too. Fully agree about the veg (and fruits). Much better to head to Pacific Green or the place next to Sahadi's, depending on which way you're going next. Also agree that their meat section wouldn't replace the butcher, but it can be nice to have something pre-seasoned sometimes, and they have things the local supermarkets don't, and at pretty good prices.

      As other have said, they don't necessarily replace every other store in the area, but are a nice supplement, as they carry things others don't, or at lower prices.

      1. To repeat what others have said, the lines move so quickly, even when they look long, they really are not. The space itself is beautiful & the staff really friendly. Big fan of affordable cereal, dairy, grains. Have been weekly since they opened. To give just one example of why I am a fan: cereal alone is about $2 cheaper/box than the Met.

        1. There are a massive number of cashiers. What has been the effect on Sahadi's and other Atlantic ave retailers?

          20 Replies
          1. re: Geo8rge

            It doesn't seem to have hurt them at all. The things you find at Sahadi's (excpet for maybe the nuts) and Damascus cannot be found at TJ's. If anything, I think business has increased at those places, due to increased foot traffic in the area.

            1. re: jdf

              jdf-
              Do you know this as fact or are you just basing it on what products they sell - just curious? I do agree with you about the foot traffic, based unscientifically on the amount of people who have stepped on my feet within in a two block radius of TJ, and I’m curious to see what they’re building next door.

              1. re: MShapiro

                I don't know what you mean by facts (i.e. I haven't stood at the threshold at Sahadi's with a number counter :)), but as someone who has lived in the neighborhood my entire life, the stores I mentioned seem just as crowded as ever.

                1. re: jdf

                  What I meant is did you shoot the breeze with anyone at Sahadi's or any other retailers on Atlantic to see how they're doing; business is good, not good, sucking wind, etc? Even without TJ I’d be curious to hear how they’re holding up?

                  1. re: MShapiro

                    No. No conversations. Just from seeing how busy it was while either walking by or shopping there.

                    1. re: MShapiro

                      For Charlie and Bobby, business is always "great.. Thank God, no complaints", their usual comment. Same at Damascus, where they actually hand make their Pita Bread.

                      TJ's to me is just another Yuppie store where almost everything is hype, marketing and packaging.

                      In a neighborhood where everything is available fresh from local family businesses like Fish Tales, Staubitz, the aforementioned Sahadi's, Damascus, the Korean Grocery near Sahadi's, I don't see the big deal about TJ..

                      Mass produced goods sold by personnel with hokey titles and outfits to match . Personally I would rather buy my food from local merchants, not mass chains, from real people, not Captains and First Mates.

                      MMW, the novelty will wear off.

                      1. re: Fleur

                        I'm glad to hear Sahadi's is doing well, even with the new TJs open for a month. I agree about supporting the local places -- we are blessed to have so many fresh, high quality options available from local merchants.

                        On the other hand, for pre-packaged items like boxed cereal, nutrition bars, ready-to-cook refrigerated/frozen foods (where TJs shines), etc. I have no problem giving my business to TJs over a place like Key Food. The prices are generally better, the employees (real people, mostly real Brooklyn people, despite the funny titles) are generally more pleasant, and the store is about 10 times cleaner. I think the best side effect of TJs' arrival has been that the Key Food on Atlantic has finally started to clean up its act to compete.

                        1. re: Fleur

                          I've never thought there was a "big deal" about TJ. Esp since I lived in SF for 7 years, where there were many of them. It's a supermarket, like any other, just a somewhat niche one.

                          That said, I've found myself surprisingly enjoying having a one stop shopping place in the area, esp with a newborn at home. It's very convenient. But doesn't need to replace all the wonderful local merchants. And the prices, as JMH pointed out, are very good.

                          1. re: Nehna

                            I agree. I don't know why the mere mention of TJs always seems to result in angry posts from some people. Of course it doesn't replace the local merchants. For me it's an inexpensive source of certain items.

                          2. re: Fleur

                            Im fond of TJs (I shop at one in NJ) for certain items, fresh cream (non-ultra), their excellent greek yogurt (a bargain), very well priced frozen veg, key limes and meyer lemons in season, some of their private label goods, etc. Our store here sells Lyman Orchard (CT) apples in season, vs. the massmarket channels of ordinary supermarkets. No way would I view it as replacing local stores, or the farmer's market but it poses a real challenge , on price and service, to the local supermarkets if they have the smart, upbeat customer-oriented staff that most TJs do. Their packaged and seasoned tri-tip beef is pretty good too.

                            1. re: Fleur

                              You don't see the appeal of TJ's, and shop regularly at Staubitz? Then slam "Yuppies"? You clearly have a "yuppie" income, or family money, if you buy your meat at Satubitz. Yes it's nice, but we're not all rich. Sahadi's of course IS a bargain, but speaking personally, I've gone to Sahadis more since TJs opened because I hit both places. I rarely trekked there specially before. As to this romanticism of local merchants, many ARE wonderful, but i've received some of the WORST service from my Pk Slope "local, family-owned' hardware store, just for one example

                              1. re: bklynbiker

                                amen to that bklynbiker...tj's has been around long before the word yuppie was even invented, just as an fyi. all i know is if it weren't for tj's, i wouldn't have been able to eat half as good as i did when i was sporadically employed (then and now)!

                        2. re: MShapiro

                          I’m curious to see what they’re building next door. - I think the building nex tto TJ is going to be rental units. They have a rental office open.

                          1. re: Geo8rge

                            Next door on Court or next door on Atlantic? I meant next door on Court which has a lot of foot traffic.

                            1. re: MShapiro

                              Next door to TJ's they're supposedly opening a Brooklyn outpost of Turks and Frogs, the Manhattan restaurant/wine bar. I havent been to the original but I hear its very good..?

                              1. re: MShapiro

                                next door on court is definitely rental apts.

                                1. re: seb

                                  I think you mean next door on Atlantic, Seb. That's a big new rental building.

                                  Next door on Court is where the UPS store used to be and definitely does not look like rental apts. That is where I believe Turks and Frogs is opening.

                                  1. re: Nehna

                                    yes, of course you're right. just a typo.

                                    1. re: Nehna

                                      Didn't the empty UPS store have some sort of assinine sign saying that they were "closed forever" only to open up down the block a few months later?

                                      1. re: MShapiro

                                        Yup. The sign, I think, was still there pretty recently, long past when the UPS store opened between Book Court and Starbucks.

                                        This is off-topic for this thread, but I want to put in a plug for that UPS store. The people who work there are the nicest, most courteous, most helpful workers in pretty much any retail establishment I've ever been in. I am not affiliated with them in any way other than to be stunned at how great they are. Please consider them for all your shipping needs. End of commercial.

                                        (To get back to the topic - TJ's is certainly crowded at prime times, but the lines move, and I'm a big fan of lots of their stuff.)

                        3. I went Sunday and found the place to be fairly empty (by union square TJ standards). There was no line snaking around the aisles, so i was actually able to reach the cheese section. Only problem was that the entire freezer section was empty because of some warehouse fire. Oh well, i'll have to wait til next time for Indian veggie burgers.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SrulyLaz

                            Thanks SrulyLaz. This is the answer I was looking for!!

                          2. I went lunch time (12:30) on Tuesday -- well-populated but not crushingly so and no wait to checkout. A friend has gone twice after work (6:30-6:45) and said it was crowded, but not anything like Union Sq, and he waited less than 5 min to checkout.

                            1. Trader Joe's (Jose's, it says) habanero lime flour tortillas ... "medium hot with a hint of lime." So good! Never before have I been compelled to write about tortillas. Get some!

                              1. We've been to TJs three times in the past three weeks. Always on Sat at 9AM when they open. Nobody around at all. Prices are fantastic as is the selection of frozen and prepared foods. These items are particularly convenient for familes with two working parents who need a quick healthy flavorful meal. We like the frozen pineapple salmon and various pre-marinated chicken packs. Will this replace any of the local stores for us? No. We still go to Sahadi's, the produce place, staubitz etc. but as one poster said, I'd rather buy the bulk of my groceries here than Keyfoods. Also, their TJ Bock beer was tasty for $6 a sixer.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Ralphus

                                  Before 11 a.m. on the weekends is the best time to hit the whole strip--Sahadi's, Damascus, TJ's et. al.

                                  The frozen, marinated fish & meat selections make for interesting, healthy midweek meals (and of course give one ideas about prepping/freezing combos of one's own creation) for when all you wanna do is George Foreman something, do some couscous, fix a salad and crack a beer. Their versions of certain snacks and stuff are fun and way cheaper than, say, Key Food: frozen berries for smoothies are half the price, yogurts and granola bars way cheaper, etc. I'll still get my olives and stuff at Sahadi's, but it's a fun, non-bank-breaking supplemental store and since it's close by and not as crazy as the Union Square location, I'll probably pop in about once a week to see what looks good.

                                  1. re: jennitrixie

                                    Exactly. they are great for getting me through the week. If I want to make a nice dinner, I but my meats/fish from the great local stores nearby. But, for midweek meals, the frozen meats and fish are a great option at a cheap price. Also, a small but decent and inexpensive beer selection.

                                    1. re: jdf

                                      Personally, I don't see anything spectacular about the individual products Trader Joes has to warrant such hype. But, a big reason I think I will end up there over some of the other local markets is price. For the same brand and size of bread, milk, cereal, and some other products, the Trader Joes price was anywhere from $0.50 to $2.00 cheaper. That adds up in a hurry, especially in this economy. What's more, they have some products from their own brand that match favorably to more commercial brands. One example is their brown rice pasta, which compares in terms of quality and taste to Tinkyada. But, Trader Joes' brand is I think $2.00 cheaper.

                                      1. re: Matt M.

                                        I agree with everything you said.

                                        That said, our favorite purchase at TJ's has turned out to be their fresh pizza dough in the refrigerator area (by the cold cuts). It's really a decent dough considering the saved effort in our 'not huge' kitchen of not making our own. Bakes up beautifully in 7 mins on our pizza stone at 550 deg. It's not Lucali's but its a pretty decent substitute for most other pizzas. And we've had fun with creative toppings and learning to toss the dough.

                                        1. re: Nehna

                                          Thanks for the top, Nehna.

                                          I used to buy some pizza dough from Fascati, but now they refuse to sell it. They are so busy, they often have to close early because they run out.

                                          I haven't found much of interest at TJ, andtheir prices on things like Fage yogurt are more expensive than Garden of Eden and Fairway.

                                          I am looking forward to trying their pizza dough. We are having a dinner party next week, and I would like to make a Pissaladiere to serve with drinks beforehand.

                                          1. re: Fleur

                                            trader joe's does have some prices that are more reasonable but like every other store they have others that are more expensive also. this thought that trader joe's is THE place to go for great prices is plain and simple good marketing by their mktng team. i shop there for the same products and nothing more plus i'd rather shop at different stores for their specialties and support them which in the end this is good for everyone. give them credit they do market well, i.e. all their processed foods. yet constantly they talk about organic and natural.

                                          2. re: Nehna

                                            Maybe not the right board for this, but every effort I've made to use fresh dough on my stone has resulted in dismal failure. This leaves me with Boboli or frozen pies. What's the secret to stretching out the dough and having it stay that way??? Thanks!
                                            BTW, I did try the whole wheat dough from TJs. Same result.

                                            1. re: Ralphus

                                              Using rested dough at room temperature. If the dough is over worked, it will be too elastic to properly toss. If it's too cold, it will be resistant to tossing. If you've tried that, and none of it works, preheat your oven to 500 F with the stone in it. When it gets up to temperature, remove the stone to your stove top. Toss the dough as best you can, then lay it on the pizza stone and keep stretching it on the hot stone. You should be able to get it to a more acceptable size that way. Also make sure you're using enough dough to achieve the size you want.

                                              1. re: Ralphus

                                                resting is the key, stretch and let rest, then go and stretch again. i wouldn't recommend letting it get completely warm or removing the stone from the oven. make sure you preheat your oven well at 500f but make sure it's heated at that temp for 20-30 min. i also throw some water in a pan at the bottom of the oven for a crispier crust.

                                    2. Highly recommend - and the cause could not be better - absolutely first rate coffee:
                                      TJs organic fair trade GUATEMALAN coffee. so far have only checked out the LIGHT ROAST but I find it full bodied enough and delicious aromatic.
                                      About 7.99$/lb

                                      1. Not a big buyer at TJ but the standard items I've gotten there (bread, sliced cheese, canned tuna, tortilla chips, etc.) are cheaper and a bit tastier than the national brands at the Key Food across the street, and the specialty prepared foods are an addition to food shopping in the neighborhood. The vegetable masala burgers (frozen food) are sensational.

                                        TJ is very California and fills a number of niches that Californians care about - organic food, health food, food from environment/friendly sources, gourmet food, Asian and Mexican cuisines - at competitive prices. For most, the near/middle eastern stores on Atlantic are also niche stores, but there isn't much overlap with TJ, and I certainly wouldn't buy TJ's pita bread and hummus with better and cheaper versions just a few yards away.

                                        Incidentally, the trademark Hawaiian shirts were gone yesterday, replaced by rather sober T-shirts. And at ca. 5pm on a Thursday, the cashiers were waiting for customers instead of the other way around - just one couple ahead of me in line.