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Trader Joe's Coming to West Windsor, NJ

Saw this annoucement this morning. No decision yet as to whether the new store will have a liquor license.

http://www.centraljersey.com/articles...

For the geographically challenged, West Windsor is very close to Princeton.

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  1. This is great news. I usually stock up at the store down in Columbia, MD, where I spend alot of time, or trek up to Westfield. This is a great location for them - they will be very successful.

    1. Never been impressed with their vegetables but maybe that is just the Westfield NJ store.

      Interesting article
      http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com...

      2 Replies
      1. re: shabbystorm

        Hey, shabbystorm, I don't know anyone who goes to TJ's for veggies. I certainly don't. People flock there, however, for numerous other items. See the following for a few of them:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3007...
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4932...

        The NY Times blog is interesting but, strictly speaking, the ownership that is described is not quite correct. It doesn't really matter though. TJ's may have been started by an American but it has been in German hands for thirty years.

        BTW, people should not confuse Aldi stores with TJ stores.

        1. re: ambrose

          Usually buying stuff to make a salad on my way home, so if I stop at Trader Joe's would have to make another stop...

          Do like their Sesame Honey Cashews and inexpensive lavender sachets.
          I do not eat frozen food...

          The article was just something I didn't know, like learning.
          They are providing jobs in New Jersey and that is good.

      2. This is arguably the best news my wife and I have heard since moving from California six months ago. It might be enough to redeem the general lack of good food in Central Jersey...

        4 Replies
        1. re: glutton

          Funny thing - I worked in Southern Ca for 12 years and have the opposite view . California vittles were drab and uninspired compared to NJ !
          And produce - those beautiful looking tasteless Ca strawberries !
          And the sweet corn - what we here would call horse corn !
          Only really consistently good food in LaLa land were the cheap Mexican places !

          1. re: arpad

            In total agreement, arpad!
            For those in the know, this state and the Central NJ region, is crammed with excellent food!
            Glutton, you might check out this thread for a few eye and mind-opening experiences:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6020...

            1. re: choco_lab38

              I've been working off that list and there are some tasty things on there. The sushi has generally been less-than-inspiring, but some of the guilty junk foods have been good. I've been a fan of some of the more traditional european ethnic foods, which weren't as common in California.

              The commentary about fresh fruits and vegetables in California vs. Central Jersey just doesn't hold water, in my opinion. With a 12-month growing season, a commitment to farmers markets that is unmatched in the country, and a regional cuisine based on freshness, California's fruit and vegetables are the best in the country. Sure, that cannot be said for every last fruit and vegetable they grow in California and there are many industrial farms in California turning out lousy produce to be shipped around the world, but a walk through a farmers market in California would surely be more appetizing than what I generally see in NJ. I don't think I'm alone in making that statement.

              1. re: glutton

                California produce is appearance over quality .
                I'll take a gnarly NJ strawberry any day over the beautiful plastic Ca stuff .
                Twelve years living there was more than enough .
                And yes I tried ' Farmer's Markets ' out there - mediocre at best .
                Fruits ? Try Washington and Oregon for good stuff .

        2. *happy dance*
          they have great snax and such
          it's not one stop shopping, but a great once a month fill up for me

          1. Some of my favorite TJ's things:
            - Grade B Maple Syrup (Much better than Grade A, trust me)
            - Truffle Brownie Mix
            - Chocolate and Sea Salt covered Almonds
            - Those tiny crispy chocolate chip cookies that come in a tub
            - Freeze-dried Mangosteens

            I could go on and on...

            2 Replies
            1. re: cranrob

              dark chocolate-chipotle hazelnuts..
              oil-packed sundried tomatoes
              brown rice pasta
              all the nut butters

              1. re: aklein

                The nuts and dried fruits are the best deal going, especially their marcona almonds.

                Their dairy products are well-priced. Their chicken tends to be very good (for grocery store chicken, that is).

                The veggies in the stores out East have not been all that great -- much better in other parts of the country.

                Their lavash is pretty good, which is nice because it's been hard to find decent lavash in this area.

                Their almond and cashew butters are outstanding and all-natural.

                (I don't think they're just selling frozen, sugar-loaded, processed, junk food, as some people below are suggesting.)

            2. Clearly in the minority here, I've tried TJ's a number of times and fail to see the attraction. The selection is very limited, and the quality of the goods I have tried is just OK. And it's usually way too crowded. I guess it's probably good for a hand full of items you can't find elsewhere.

              But I am also the kind of person that thinks Wegman's is just an over-priced, over-crowded, and over-hyped grocery store with a nice food court.

              I actually wish I bought into the buzz of these places more, but I just don't get the hype and loyal following.

              24 Replies
              1. re: frackit

                I tend to agree with you in general. If you notice above the main things that people mention are the sugar based products. The rest of their selection is rather limited and only average in quality. Even the wine seltection, if they happen to carry it, is limited. It may be priced right but the old saying you get what you pay for comes to mind.

                All that said there is one redeming thing that I would take the 35 mile drive over to West Windsor for and that is Double Rainbow icecream, one of the best products of it's kind in all the land. Notice that I too have a favorite sugar based pruduct at Traders...

                1. re: JerzeyShore

                  No need to drive all the way there for that ice cream. Days in Ocean Grove has it. Well, once they open for the season...

                  1. re: ejdb

                    Thanks for the mention and I do realize that and have been to Days many times. Mother's Day is right around the bend and that is their opening day ...

                    1. re: JerzeyShore

                      Just doing my best to give props to a favorite

                  2. re: JerzeyShore

                    I agree with frackit and JerzeyShore. It's not for lack of trying, but I've been to the TJ in Marlton a number of times and fail to see what the appeal is. Am I just seeing a poor example of the franchise?
                    The produce is astoundingly poor in selection and quality and the meat selection is limited--with some items, such as bacon, looking as though they were past their expiration date.

                    The items that people seems to rave about (taste and price) are prepared or processed, boxed, canned or frozen food--snacks, cookies and candy. Definitely not a store I'd shop for staples.
                    That being said, it's not bad to have another choice in the area when I need a quick frozen lunch or dinner, and hopefully the store will be larger and better than the Marlton store.
                    As far as the liquor license goes, I've never been a fan of "Two-Buck Chuck (Yuck!)", so that makes no difference to me.
                    Of paramount importance: get the parking layout right! Never seems that the planners in this area are prepared for parking or traffic needs--there will be a heck of a lot more traffic turning into that little shopping center once TJs is open...

                    1. re: choco_lab38

                      I've yet to find a TJ's with a good parking scheme. That's after visiting dozens of stores all over the country. They must take perverse pleasure in offering lousy parking lots.

                  3. re: frackit

                    I agree about TJs but Wegmans does have some things I like - such as the bulk foods and their baked goods .

                    1. re: frackit

                      I just tried TJs today and it's pretty much what I remember from California . With Wegmans a mile down the road I can't see the sense of TJs at all . Limited selection and prices seem comparable to other local stores .

                      1. re: arpad

                        Once the initial crowds thin out, it'll be far faster to go to TJ's than Wegmans. Avoiding that mess of a parking lot and all the traffic snaking through that Wegmans shopping center will be worth a lot. Add to that the fact that there are many items, especially dried fruit and nuts, that are available at TJs, but not at Wegmans.

                        1. re: glutton

                          You haven't found the dried fruits and nuts at Wegman's ?

                          Couldn't have looked very hard ... I just bought a pound of shelled walnut halves and another pound of dark chocolate cashew turtles .there yesterday . As for dried fruits ... apricots , apples , pineapples and plenty more .

                          1. re: arpad

                            I'm not Mr. Magoo -- of course I found that section at Wegmans. I just like the section at TJ's better because it has more variety, lower prices, and always seems to have some new discovery that keeps things interesting.

                            Experience tells me that even the slightest question about the superiority of Wegmans in all matters food will get me shot on the Mid-Atlantic board. I would be better off announcing that I club pup seals in the Arctic for sport than doubting the wonders of Wegmans on this board...

                            1. re: glutton

                              Glutton, you are too funny!, and how true. I have two friends who INSIST that Wegmans is the cheapest grocery store around on every single item. This because they give you a 'Club Card' and do discount some items. Gee, I wonder if all the other grocery store chains have discovered customer loyalty cards, coupons and weekly specials? They are indeed, a very nice store, but not everything is the best there, imo. And who can deal with walking that huge store when you only need 10 items? TJ offers convenience and a fast exit if you hit it at the right time. I like many of their items, not just the food products. I do love their body wash and lemon verbena soap!

                              1. re: mschow

                                Totally! And there's a lot there that I can't get at Wegmans. Like the frozen brown rice I like. And I just discovered TJ's multi-grain mini chocolate chip cookies, which allow me to delude myself with the idea that they are actually "healthy" cookies. But every grocery store has their strengths and weaknesses. I rotate between the Shop Rite near me in Hamilton (for basics), Wegmans, Whole Foods, and now TJ's. But glutton's seal pups comment cracked me up:D

                                1. re: mschow

                                  Love their Chinese Food.. far better than what is around the Bridgewater/Hillsborough area!

                                2. re: glutton

                                  OMG!!! Glutton, you had me rolling on the floor...."club pup seals"..To funny! You made my day with laughter!!

                                  1. re: glutton

                                    Glutton,

                                    Do you happen to know if they carry Double Rainbow ice cream at this store?

                                    1. re: JerzeyShore

                                      I did not check when I was there, but my general impression was that they had the full freezer selection that they had at the stores I knew so well in California, so that would make me think that they've got it. The next time I go in there, I'll check. I'll probably stop by this weekend at some point.

                                      1. re: glutton

                                        Thanks much...

                                        1. re: glutton

                                          I saw a half dozen flavors. That's a somewhat more limited range of flavors than what I used to see in California, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

                                          1. re: glutton

                                            As long as they have my favorite which is ultra chocolate a deep dark and creamy chocolate I'm in heaven. Thanks again for your reply.

                                            1. re: JerzeyShore

                                              I'm nearly positive I saw that flavor. Welcome back to heaven.

                                              1. re: glutton

                                                Good news, thanks.

                                        2. re: JerzeyShore

                                          They do... a few days ago they had about 4 flavors.

                                          1. re: cranrob

                                            THANK YOU!

                              2. So does that mean you're getting an Aldi too?

                                1. This discussion just reminded me of this must-see video - The TJ's Song:
                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdB7GD...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cranrob

                                    LOVE that video and it's all so true!! Why oh why do they have products that you fall in love with and then they disappear? And the parking lot issue: I've been in at least a dozen different TJ locations and each of the parking lots are scary as hell. What's up with that?

                                  2. In terms of products, Friends brought us wine from Trader Joe's, 2005 Project Happiness California Syrah. Not Italian wine but a HAPPY bottle!
                                    See Picture

                                    1. Has anyone heard any recent news regarding this opening? The Trader Joe's site still doesn't have any information.

                                      I doubt that liquor will be sold; in this area, stores that have liquor licenses require separate check out counters and entrances/exits.

                                      They're more of a winter store for me--things I can't get from the Farmer's Market (love the French Green Beans), as well as dried cranberries, raw sunflower seeds, mini toast, and the 3-pack of goat cheese. I used to like one of the sealed pouches of guacamole (to keep in the refrigerator for when we were out avocados), but the version I've seen recently haven't been worth it.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Caralien

                                        drove past the shopping center on Friday, no signs yet. The articles I had seen had said they were planning on opening in July, so maybe late July...

                                        1. re: BeeZee

                                          I'll keep my fingers crossed. It's just strange that it's not even on the TJ's site yet.

                                          1. re: Caralien

                                            Below Google Search info, looks positive, that it will indeed come to fruition, it has a store number in line with those currently operational on the TJ website..

                                            http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp...

                                            1. re: Caralien

                                              Now listed as "coming soon" on TJ's web site.

                                              http://www.traderjoes.com/locations.asp

                                              1. re: retchef

                                                finally! okay, I'll sit and wait now. Thanks for the update!

                                                1. re: retchef

                                                  and they posted a sign outside the new location that says "coming soon." Looks like a late July opening at the earliest. Can't come soon enough.

                                                  1. re: glutton

                                                    Opening is now August / September time frame and no alcohol to be sold.

                                                    http://centraljersey.com/articles/200...

                                                    1. re: FrozenSTIFF

                                                      last I read on various blogs was September 25th, no booze. My current plan is to go there to get nuts for the birds to eat (and for me too), as birdfood is more expensive than dog, cat, or people food.

                                                      1. re: Caralien

                                                        Trader Joe's website location page http://www.traderjoes.com/locations.asp links to Google Maps and clicking on the icon for West Windsor brings up a window for directions, hours, etc., and notes "Alcohol:None" so it seems pretty official.

                                                        Most of TJ's tri-state area stores don't have licenses, with the exceptions of NJ's Westfield store, and some NYC stores which sell beer only (different license necessary in NY state for wine and liquor).

                                                        1. re: Caralien

                                                          caralein:
                                                          I am a huge bird-lover and have more than a few feeders. You can get decent birdseed any number of places. I have bought decent birdseed at Ace hardware on sale recently and added some black oil sunflower seeds (also from Ace), and I get TONS of birds. Also try doing the same at Walmart. Friends of mine swear by a feed store in Hopewell and they feel the birds, deer, and other critters with what they buy there. Just a heads up on this, because I have priced the nuts at TJ and if you are even a casual bird feeder, you will go broke!!

                                                          1. re: mschow

                                                            thanks!

                                            2. I know some people just like the sweet things, but we have some things that are our staples at TJs, and are generally cheaper (sometimes much cheaper) than most other grocery stores (not to mention better).
                                              Just to mention our TJ stand-bys: coffee, cereals (for kids & adults), salsas, fruit/granola bars (for school lunches), jams/preserves (especially the low-sugar strawberry), marinara sauce (for when it's not convenient to make homemade), nuts (fresher and cheaper than other stores -- peanuts, walnuts, almonds), dried fruit & trail mixes, and probably more that I'm forgetting.
                                              One of the things I like is that when you read most of the labels (especially the marinara and the salsas), the ingredients are the "real thing" -- not chemicals or preservatives.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: eamcd

                                                According to TJs website, the store will open Sept. 25. We are very excited!

                                                1. re: ElaineL

                                                  Thanks for the update ElaineL, will definitely be around that weekend to check out the store.

                                              2. Now that it's open, has anyone been? It's on the other side of Route 1, so I may not go as often (I am not used to having to turn right, wait at a stoplight to make a left, just to head a mile south, spoiled as I was in the midwest and CA). I've gotten lazy or fuel efficient--if there's a turnabout involved during evening traffic, it's too much of a bother.

                                                That said, I'm down to 2 bottles of olive oil, from the 12 I purchased last year. So it's likely I'll stop in during the next month or so. Possibly sooner for the minitoasts, the omega infused dried cranberries, the pine nuts, and other non-locally sourced things I crave. hmm

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Caralien

                                                  Went last night, around 6:30 pm figuring it wouldn't be too crowded...wrong.
                                                  They were slammed. Restocking shelves like crazy.
                                                  I'll go back when the gawkers are all gone.

                                                  1. re: BeeZee

                                                    good to know; I may stop by during lunch tomorrow, but there's really no rush, as I still have 2 bottles of olive oil!

                                                  2. re: Caralien

                                                    It's crowded but efficient. I just walked out the door and found everything I needed. Only spent about 30 minutes in the store. They have all the standard goods. It's a fairly large store for TJs. From Princeton I go Alexander to Canal Point to Meadow. There's no backtracking.

                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                      Trader Joe's is the ONLY grocery store on Route 1 North for at least 50 miles! Route 1 South is full of them. But from the Pennsylvania state line up to Edison (at least), there are no other grocery stores on Rt 1 North side. Trader Joe's being on that side of Route 1 is exactly why I'll be going often. I commute to South Jersey for work from Princeton, so on the way home, it' Rt 1 north. And if I need to pick up a quart of milk on the way, there are NO options without crossing to the other side and crossing back, until now. I predict they will do extra well for this very reason.

                                                    2. If you are a fan of Trader Joe's, or even if you've never been, I thought you might be interested in what others like to buy there. Lots of duplicates in these threads and there's no guarantee that all items will be available at the West Windsor store.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493206

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/300713

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/546755

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/404393

                                                      1. I haven't been to this store yet, but my wife has stopped by on a few ocassions. With out busy schedules, sometimes something frozen is convenient, and we love their apps to throw into the oven for guests who pop in on ocassion for a glass of vino with us. I really love the thin pizza they have that has ham and caramelized onion on it. This is a treat for the money!

                                                        Lots of people will rant and rave about their wine selection, not at this store obviously, but I have not found their prices to be all that great, nor have I found any of their sub $10 selections very good. Best wines I have every purchased from them is their Sanford pinot noir, but I can get better pricing at Glendale...or similar pricing at Canal's. I do however stock up on their "Two Buck Chuck" to pour for the parents on Halloween and during the Bordentown Christmas House Tour. Amazing to see how many people say it is great when they have no idea what it is! Chuckle! ;-) -mJ

                                                        1. The wine is being loaded onto the shelves right now in the Princeton NJ store. I was in just before closing time and two tractor trailers were waiting beside the store and people were ready to stock the shelves and the shelves were labeled with the names of the wines.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: nancy6l

                                                            Yeah, they were rearranging the store this weekend. Oh wow. I have friends who will be on the path to alcoholism because of this:D