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Stew Leonards...an ongoing debate

I intend to open an ongoing debate about the various malfeasances which occur at Stew Leonards multiple times per week. Since many of us are dependent on this store, it is a debate worth having. Allow me to begin.

Early this week I bought some General Tso's chicken prepared to go, fully cooked. It was inedible. The chicken wasn't terrific, not completely fresh not stale, but the sauce was disgusting. It smelled gross when I opened up the container.

Having tossed the entree I emailed Stews to open an ongoing debate with them, too. I got an email back asking which location it had occured at, but not offer of replacement, compensation, etc....

This is but one of many, many gripes I have with this hugely famous store, where the "customer is always right" (propoganda) and all the dumb songs and country-kitsch are designed to take your mind off the food quality and fool kids Disney-style....

What problems have you all had at Stews? Let me know, and don't hold back......

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  1. Awhile ago, I caught one of the stores doing a very old butchers trick: Placing red/pink lights in meat section.
    Makes the meat look better.

    1. If you would just picked up the phone and told them you bought something from the hot buffet that you did not like they would have gladly offered you a refund or a credit. No need to "open an ongoing debate with them". Why do people want to complicate such an easy process?

      Now Jfood is not a huge fan as many of SL, but they do serve a purpose and their customer service is second to none (just pick up the phone, ask for customer service and poof problem solved). When jfood first moved to CT going to stews on the weekend morning before the family woke up was a tradition. Then jfood found pockets of much better stuff so it is almost a rare event these days.

      Here is jfood's current assessment

      - He HATES the pricing policy. 2 for $4, but if you only buy 1 it is $2.59. (Jfood also hates the buy one and get the second at 50% off that other stores use. Price the products for individual sale).
      - Meat - jfood finds the regular meats fairly tasteless. Good price but tasteless meat is not a good dinner. Believe it or not jfood likes their sausages.
      - Chicken - The chicken they always advertise at $1.99 for boneless breast is horrible. The texture is stringy and if you try to flatten them, they just fall apart. And they do not have that fresh smell that jfood requires.
      - Fish - jfood bought 2 pounds of shrimp the other day and he threw out about 25% of it. Reason was some shrimp were half-shrimp, others were soft and mushy versus firm when he went to de-shell and other were full of some disgusting somethin-or-other, not the normal red or black vein he has seen in his fish.
      - Deli - the jfoods eat a bunch of LOL American. For some reason the stuff he buys at SL seems to form crystals in the slices in a few days. Jfood has no idea why, but the same LOL he buys at a local deli does not have these crystals, even after a week.
      - Other Cheese - This is a great place to buy cheese. Jarlsberg right now is $3.99/lb. Great deal
      - Milk - They still sell in the waxed square cartons, thank you. Much better than the see through plastics that everyone else is moving to.
      - Bakery / Bagels - Never been overly impressed with the breads. the bagels are not traditional, but a little sweeter than what jfood grew up with, but he does like them.
      - Produce - yes they have everything you want at a good price, but jfood never says, wow what a great piece of fruit when he bites into it. In fact about four months ago he told mrs jfood to tell him to go to greenwich produce if he ever says he is heading to Stews. Basic salad fixings of OK to pretty good. Jfood did have some great corn from there the other night. Their bunched salads are horrible.
      - Lobsters - jfood understand they bring them down from Nova Scotia which is a good thing. Colder the better.
      - Pre-made soups - these are actually pretty good
      - Made on premises chips - these are also very good
      - Environment - Take a pill before going. It is a freakin' mob scene on weekends. The same people that stop at the top of escalators all converge here at the same time. Then the cash registers are like the pit at a NASCAR event. If you go, try during the week, not lunchtime, when it is civilized. If you go between 9 - 3 on saturday or sunday may the force be with you.

      But it serves the average consumer, looking to save money with a good product +/- one standard deviation. You will not get the same quality as yu can for different items in other stores in the area. But if you are looking to feed a balanced, diverse menu to a growing family, it is hard to beat Stews. And as jfod stated above and has seen in action, they absolutel, positively stand behind the "Customer comes first" theory.

      22 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        I agree with your take on SL. Is greenwich produce a fruit stand?

        1. re: scharffenberger

          interesting in that greenwich produce closed the greenwich location (a store near the theatre) but still has at least one store in Vista, NY on route 123 just over the border from New Canaan

          1. re: jfood

            Jfood, IIRC wasn't Greenwich Produce on Greenwich Avenue on the same side as the post office? They had perfect produce there --beautiful bibb lettuces, haricot verts, persimmons, etc. At least they haven't left us from the Grand Central Market .

            GCM, Greenwich Produce --> http://grandcentralterminal.com/go/fb...

            1. re: Cheese Boy

              do not know where the post office is but it was on the right at the bottom next to the movie theatre on greenwich ave. and yes that is them at GCT the first booth on the left.

              1. re: Cheese Boy

                I love Greenwich produce in Vista, I go there alot and love there prices and products. Very clean. Interesting things you can get there for a foodie, I got truffles once in a jar and it was inexpensive in comparison to other places.

                1. re: nbermas

                  Ditto. Greenwich Produce in Vista is spotless, and the quality of the produce is excellent. The prices are decent, too -- that is, on the produce. I think you lucked out with those truffles, because the non-produce items seem to be crazy expensive. But then, I guess it's worth it over driving to New Canaan, Pound Ridge or Ridgefield for a couple of items.

                  1. re: kingleer

                    oh, how I miss the days when Greenwich Produce still had a Greenwich location...

          2. re: jfood

            Ok Jfood,

            As uncomfortable as I am with people who relentlessly refer to themselves in the third-person, I have enjoyed your posts, finding them entertining and useful ....So here's a question for you, all knowing and all-seeing one.....Where anywhere in FFC are the best steaks, the best chops, the best roasts sold? Who's got the best meat?

            1. re: shark_attack

              It may not be "the best". jfood never refers to anything that way since the "Pizza Box War of 1982. :-))

              He buys his meats at Scotts Corner Market in Scotts Corner, on route 124 1 mile north of the New Canaan border. They have a website as well if interested

              www.scottscornermarket.com

              Not sure is The Food Emporium in New Canaan still has the fridge, but they used to dry age meats right on premises and they were also very good, but just the dry aged.

              Jfood also like Zeytinia on Route 7 in Norwalk just north of Walmart. They actuall have hangar steaks on occassion.

              Hope that helps.

              1. re: jfood

                add another admirer and high marks for scotts corner market

                1. re: foodlvrzen

                  Just avoid the rotisserie chicken and the precooked chicken cutlets at Scott's Corner Market. The other offerings? Excellent.

                2. re: jfood

                  I seriously cannot wait for you to have Fairway in Stamford. You will plotz.

              2. re: jfood

                BTW...

                The reason an ongoing debate is absolutely necessary is because the problems I experience there are ongoing, and the participation of others is crucial to attempt to cross-reference experiences. Hopefully a comprehensive understanding of the problems combined with lots of public participation will lead to solutions.

                JFOOD is certainly smart enough to appreciat that. Oh and BTW...The motto "the customer is always right" is complete B.S. JFOOD should be smart enough to appreciate that also.

                1. re: shark_attack

                  Is the "ongoing debate" between you and Stews or asking for various data points to cross-reference experiences amongst the contributors of this board?

                  Whether jfood is smart enough or not is inconsequential to the discussion. Jfood has made those phone calls and has never expeirenced anything other than complete and total satisfaction with the "please stop by the customer service desk for a complete refund."

                  Jfood would love to hear your reasoning behind your statement that the motto is BS. Do youhave any real examples?

                  TIA

                  1. re: shark_attack

                    Southern Italian wonders why you continue to shop there?

                    1. re: shark_attack

                      Shark_attack: "the problems I experience there are ongoing, and the participation of others is crucial to attempt to cross-reference experiences. Hopefully a comprehensive understanding of the problems combined with lots of public participation will lead to solutions."

                      Since when is it the customer's role to create "solutions"? This is their role as store owners. There are many places Ive been that ive been dissatisfied with but they dont change because I want them to. I go somewhere else. If you're not happy with your shopping experience, and you feel your concerns go unrecognized (although everyone here has said their customer service is great) then shop elsewhere...

                      What's there to debate?

                    2. re: jfood

                      I have always wondered the SAME THING about the LOL cheese! I'm glad to know I'm not going crazy!

                      As for Shop Rite in Stamford, I'm assuming that you are referring to the new(er) on by the Greenwich boarder and not the gross one on Cove Rd/Shippan Ave?

                      1. re: A avenue

                        Jfood tried to buy soda on sale at the shippan one, omg how can people shop there. reminded jfood of the grand union in nj when he thought he would starve before finding a place to buy lettuce.

                        jfood drove past the one near greenwich on his way to the big yellow truck and it looked like a hoppin' place.

                        so to answer your question, it is the one on west near greenwich

                      2. re: jfood

                        I know this is a side note, but how much do you hate those awful plastic cartons!!!!

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          I agree. I go out of my way to buy milk in the cardboard cartons. It's amazing how much faster it goes sour in the plastic. I used to go to Stews to buy the milk - but I hate the place so much I have resorted to buying organic milk in cardboard. I'll pay double to avoid giving my money to Stews.

                          1. re: demifast

                            I do that too. I also hate the little pieces of plastic that end up in my coffee from those awful plastic bottles!

                        2. re: jfood

                          My husband swears by meat from Grade A in Stamford on Newfield Avenue.

                          As for SL I hate most of the other customers but I really do enjoy thier frozen yogurt & home made potato chips.

                          I've gone to the cold salad bar several times for lunch and everytime I end up disappointed & throwing most of it away.

                        3. When we first bought our apartment, my dad did some painting for us and stayed there. he went frequently to home depot near Stew Leonards and would go to Stews afterward, at night just before they closed. He learned that you can cut through right to the dairy, would basically buy the milk and juice, cottage cheese, etc. and leave. At that time of day not too crowded. Is it worth making the trip just for that stuff, probably not.

                          I only like certain things, soups are great, salmon and fresh tuna salad too. Lately we have not been going there as I find I spend too much for very little. I liked them better when we had to drive to CT. I wonder if they over expanded and lost some quality control.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rolise

                            Why doesn't someone who has a concern about Stew's print out this thread and send it to them?

                          2. Hey there,. I stumbles on this page amd I have to agree....We have stopped buying their meat there and any pre-made food (especailly after 10am). We have bought many times Steak or some kind of meat to find a ton of fat on it ....Cickens also.....They present it well and then you have more woek when oyu get home! It seems their quality has gone downhill and they are not as cheap ad they used to be especially in the produce. I will usually get their chx breast only since I believe that it's fresh from Penn. I shop there still but depends what my needs are.

                            1. I like some of the stuff at Stew Leonards. Produce seems to vary in quality. I like the variety of meats and cheeses offered. I, like Jfood, really hate the 2 for 1 pricing. It might work if you're shopping for a large family, but I'm just shopping for 2. I often end up buying more than I need.

                              I find that both their soups (which usually are good) and all other premade foods are just too SALTY. Anytime I eat Stew's food, I'm drinking water by the gallon for the rest of the day.

                              1. If you believe there are continous malfeasances which occur at Stews, yet do not want to pick up the phone or walk to their customer service desk yourself, may I suggest you shop elsewhere? Your trying to make a point over food you got from a hot bar which most folks know is subpar to begin with.
                                There are plenty of other grocers in FFD County.

                                1. Just wondering why you are "dependent on this store"? Are there no other stores where you live?

                                  I am a somewhat regular shopper at the Yonkers store but I rarely buy the prepared foods (at any store for that matter). It always looks good and tastes awful, or salty, or stale, and I could probably make it better myself. This goes for most prepared food.

                                  I mainly go for the produce and the prices are generally good as is the quality. My husband and daughter drink a lot of milk and my husband has declared Stew's skim milk the best around. Their sales on Diet Coke are great (last week I paid 79 cents for a 2 liter bottle, which is CHEAP) and they often have Rao's Marinara on special 2 jars for $10. I buy 4 at a time.

                                  I have had only 1 customer service issue. Chobani Yogurt (normally 4 for $5) was on special for $1 each. They were out of the vanilla flavor. I asked someone on the floor if they offer rain checks. She said yes. I went to customer service and asked for the rain check. This woman said they don't offer rain checks. I left, annoyed.

                                  I went to the website and sent them a complaint via the customer service page. Within a day or 2, I got a response, asking for some details, and after a few pleasant emails back and forth, they told me that they were going to send me a $15 gift card. It arrived within a week.

                                  Not really much to debate here. If one doesn't like the place, shop elsewhere.

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: valerie

                                    I live an hour away from the nearest Stew's but still occasionally make the trek if he has a good sale on a couple of particular items. I used to love his fish department -- and still do, sort of -- but found a local, superfresh source for fish so the trips have become less frequent.

                                    That being said, the one time I did have an issue with Stew's, their customer service was exemplary. I bought a package of tortillas or lavash or something, and the package was either mislabeled or short a couple -- not a big deal in my book but I sent off an e-mail to them just in case it was a manufacturing or packaging snafu. Within a day or two, I received an e-mail saying "Ten tortillas (or whatever) is what you paid for, and it is what you are entitled to. Please find attached a coupon for a free package for you to use next time you come to the store." I didn't even ask for any kind of compensation, but got it anyway.

                                    I dunno, if I was as upset as shark_attack sounds, I'd probably just stop going there and hit Stew's in the cash register, where it hurts.

                                    (sorry, I meant to reply to the original message, hit the wrong reply button, and apparently can't fix it)

                                    1. re: harrie

                                      I've never been to SL and probably will never go. I just want to know where I can buy me some D'Artagnan chicken around here? Here being the Stamford area or close by. :D

                                      1. re: Syphrite

                                        The Food Emporium in New Canaan and Scotts Corner Market on Route 124 just over the New York border from New Canaan both carry D'Artagnan. The latter has a bunch of Dartagnan products.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          Thanks Jfood! I need to satisfy my D'Artagnan craving. :D

                                          1. re: Syphrite

                                            Please check the dates on D'Artagnan carefully before you buy at F.E.

                                            I bought some small chickens at the Stamford store without checking the sell-by date. Imagine my surprise when I got the chickens home and found the dates were from TWO WEEKS AGO!

                                            Perhaps there's greater turnover in New Canaan, but still... be wary.

                                            1. re: wookiedoodle

                                              I hope you brought it right back and complained.. that's yucky AND dangerous.

                                              1. re: Nancy C

                                                I went to the FE in NC and it was ok. Really wasn't impressed with the selection or the store overall. I did pick up a chicken there, but it was a couple days out from the sell by - I always make sure to check dates on everything I buy.

                                                I'm going to take a trip over to Scott's in Pound Ridge to see what that's like. Finding a good butcher - with good prices - would be really great.

                                                1. re: Syphrite

                                                  Scotts is jfood's go to place. the butcher will do almost anything you like and the meat is very good. check the flyer before you go.

                                                  www.scottscornermarket.com

                                        2. re: Syphrite

                                          Don't know if there is a Hannaford near you but they sell a lot of D'Artagnan products.

                                        3. re: harrie

                                          harrie says: " dunno, if I was as upset as shark_attack sounds, I'd probably just stop going there and hit Stew's in the cash register, where it hurts. "

                                          HaHa Irony!! Isn't Stew Leonards where the owner went to jail for tax evasion because one of the cash registers wasnt linked to the central computer systems and the totals weren't recorded?

                                        4. re: valerie

                                          I was at Stew's today and Rao's Marinara, 32. oz jar, was on sale $4.99. Didn't matter how many you bought, it was still $4.99 a jar. I bought 4.

                                          1. re: valerie

                                            and it's the 32oz and not the 24oz that lots of super markets try to offer on "sale"

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              Definitely 32 oz.

                                              1. re: valerie

                                                many people fall for the 24oz bottle for $5 thinking it's a steal when they are paying at the $7.50 rate. gotta read the lables.

                                                Nice job V

                                        5. maybe I'm odd, but I think it seems a bit silly to start an "open debate" about not liking a prepared meal at Stews. If I could count the number of bad meals I've had in FFC, I'd have about 500 open debates going on. I agree with jfood. Just call them. And if it isn't satisfactory, heaven knows we don't have a dearth of grocery stores or prepared food shops around these parts.

                                          As for Stews... I'm much more positive on Stews than most. But I mostly rely on it for dairy. And for dairy, it's impossible to beat Stews quality for the price you pay. The milk is great, and so is the butter and cream. I've got a brood of little kids, so for that reason alone, SL is my go to grocery store. But that's what it is... a grocery store. You get grocery store quality meat and grocery store quality fish. Sometimes it's good, sometimes its just average. Sometimes you get a good deal, and sometimes you don't.

                                          Same with the prepared foods. I wouldn't rely on ShopRite for prepared foods... not sure why Stews quality would be any different (and I don't think it is). So seems to me that if it's bad, then I'm at fault for ever thinking a grocery store could prepare a dish that's sometime more than just edible...

                                          1. Another side of the coin: I love Stew Leonard's. Their chicken sausage is so tasty ! I've tried both the pre-made patties and made my own patties from their chicken and apple variety. YUM!

                                            I'm also fond of their dumplings--I picked up a pack of chicken dumplings and pan-fried them for lunch with my mom. DELICIOUS! So are their pork dumplings. They make veggie and chicken teriyaki varieties, too. We threw a little hot sauce in the soy sauce/dipping sauce to make it even tastier.

                                            Sea scallops are on sale this week ($7.99 a pound) and I made a killer dinner with them last night.

                                            No complaints here. My only b*tch is when they first opened the store, there were chocolate chip cookies available for sampling, and now, no more. So a mild BOOHOO there. One less thing to graze on in the store while passing through--really not much of a b*tch at all in my book. ;) And I thoroughlyl enjoy the singing chickens, the singing Chiquita banana and the singing cheese that sounds like Patti LaBelle (she's my favorite). I sing along with her while shopping. Who can resist? "I'm tellin' you that dairy's good!!!" Oh, and I dig the Boar's Head guy, too. "It's not just what they put in...it's also what they leave out..."

                                            It is not my primary grocery store, and I don't live in Fairfield County. My Stew's is on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington and a trip there is always a good time...though I tend to try to avoid it on the weekends when it's a madhouse. One day Stew Leonard himself even greeted me personally as I made my way through the store.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Singing cheese? What, no singing fish? You are just a kid at heart and like the "Disneyland" atmosphere, I think.
                                              Your scallops were about a third the price I paid for diver scallops recently!

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                No singing fish but a button to press for to sound the foghorn in the fish market. ;)

                                                See what I mean re the scallops? I make a beeline for Stew's when they're on sale like that--can't beat that price and they are oh so tasty.

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  jfood should have made a bee-line for the scallops versus the shrimp on sale last week. Jfood threw out 25% of the shrimp.

                                                  Were they dry scallops?

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Not sure what you mean by dry scallops--they were not in any sort of liquid if that's what you mean. Please clue me in on that term. They list them as "jumbo sea scallops." Filet mignon is on sale this week, too. I've read mixed reviews of it on this board, but we love to get a whole filet, trimmed, then sliced to order and portion 'em off in the trusty Food Saver (or bag sucker as you would say). ;)
                                                    http://www.stewleonards.com/html/spec...

                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                      i believe "dry pack scallops" are unadulterated and therefore more expensive .wet pack scallops are injected with a saline solution and leak water when you cook them making it impossible to get a good sear on them. poorly handled , frozen ,or old dry scallops will have the same problem

                                                      1. re: mrporkbelly

                                                        also my fish guy told me Stew's can sell cheap lobsters because they buy new shells (they are in season in the summer months)in bulk from south carolina. new shells are freshly molted lobsters light on meat and heavy on water because they haven't grown into there new shells. some people think the new shell lobster meat is sweeter and more tender, and it is . you can tell if a lobster is a new shell if the shell is soft. fully grown lobsters will have a very hard shell sometimes with barnicles on it. hard shell lobsters are harder to come by in the summer and are more expensive.
                                                        I have bought hard shell lobsters at new wave in stamford and fish tails in new caanon at about 9 to 10 dollars a pound retail.

                                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                                        If the scallops are not dry, you're paying for "pump" (water plus Sodium Tri Phosphate to hold the water in there, you won't see them sloshing around). I think it adds around 35% liquid, so add that to the price you pay. And the filet mignon is exactly the price it should be right now, about $1 over wholesale. Nice profit actually. It's good to have marketplaces that share the deals with the consumer.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          Please clarify. "Pump" holds water in, but if they are "dry" (= best/better/more costly) why or when would you see water sloshing around? Are you referring to (sloshing around), in the plastic tub they put/sell them in? This is "natural" moisture released, at some point, from "dry" scallops?
                                                          Thanks

                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                            You don't see water either way: but if they're dry, they are not pumped full of water. Hope that makes sense. They look the same to the naked eye. You have to know/trust your fish store.

                                                            1. re: coll

                                                              I trust and patronize my fishmonger*, #1 Fish Market, 2239 State St, Hamden, CT 06517 (just beyond the city limits of New Haven). Fish mongering is all they do!
                                                              *I have not received, nor have ever been tempted by, remuneration in any way.*
                                                              I've only bought +$K worth of fish there that has been perfect and "as advertised". They sell to finer restaurants in the area.
                                                              Thanks, coll, for the clarification!

                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                I agree, the best fishmarkets also wholesale to local restaurants, I find.

                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                  I, too, am a regular shopper of the Berlin Stew's, and it is my go-to store for meat. After way too many bad meat experiences at the Stop and Shop on Rte. 372, I now shop at Stew's exclusively for meat and the Berlin S&S for everything else.
                                                  The SL sea scallops have been great as are the crab legs, but I have had some no-so-great raw shrimp from them, so I've found their seafood dept. to be pretty inconsistent. Never anything causing me sickness, but now, if I'm going to buy shrimp, I'll make a special trip to CityFish in Wethersfield.
                                                  I do enjoy Stew's overall, though.

                                                3. This is all about prepared food from a grocery store? Prepared chinese food to boot?
                                                  A few tips:
                                                  Don't buy prepared food from grocery stores.
                                                  If you want general tso's chicken, check out a chinese restaurant, not a grocery store.

                                                  As for my shopping at Stews, I use to use them alot for meat and fish and produce. These days however, I find MUCH better quality from my butcher (A&S in Fairfield), my fish monger (Swanson's in Fairfield). I'll still use Stews now and again, especially for produce that I can't find at a farmer's market, but my trips down there have become far less common these days.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: foleyd7

                                                    Sorry, but no complaints here about Stews. I LOVE this place. The dairy is TOP rate! You are hard pressed to find fresher and better dairy products. And when they did one of those surveys where they checked to see what grocery stores had past due stuff on their shelves, Stew's had NONE. Not one item. That is pretty frickin amazing in my book.

                                                    And I love their soup (chicken corn chowder rocks!) their homemade p. chips, their AMAZING donuts!, bread, muffin tops, etc, etc........

                                                    The free samples! The singing cow! The REAL sheep! The birds or ducks or whatever they are! The lobster roll! Eating outside and hearing the Stew Leonard song over and over and over again!

                                                    The singing banana!

                                                    Shall I go on?!

                                                    Yeah, I kinda get all sorts of happy thinking about Stews.

                                                    Oh, and customer service is amazing.

                                                    And why an "ongoing debate" about prepared food?! Just bring it back, walk up to the counter and return it. Pretty simple. I don't that they will laugh at you.

                                                    1. re: chloe4ever

                                                      <<Yeah, I kinda get all sorts of happy thinking about Stews.>>

                                                      Me, too. And I haven't had a single customer service issue either. Their staff is responsive and people actually seem to enjoy working there. The folks in the wine store are very helpful and informative, too.

                                                      Oh, and I also get a kick out of watching the guy make fresh mozz in the store (with Miss Diva Cheese overhead).

                                                  2. well the results so far show that
                                                    - everyone likes the dairy
                                                    - mixed reviews on the meats, poultry fish
                                                    - most like the singing animlals
                                                    - some mention and like the chips
                                                    - some have mentioned the employees

                                                    but interesting is:

                                                    - Customer service has received perfect scores from all the posters.

                                                    Wonder if the OP will return and let us know the results or if this will become another Ribs BBQ thread.

                                                    1. I've only been to Stew's a handful of times. I'm not too much of a fan for the most part, but I know they do handle complaints well.

                                                      A few cons about the place are that they use partially hydrogenated fats in their pies/other baked goods. I actually left a note in the suggestion box they have about the fats being in their products, and I had someone personally call me back from the bakery section telling me that they were working on it and thanking me for letting them know what I thought. I also really hate the "buy 2 for $6.99" type of thing. Their chicken breast can also be a complete disaster (falls apart and gets all stringy).

                                                      My grandparents shop there a lot. I know my grandfather absolutely loves their ice creams, especially the strawberry and he loves going to the cheese section as well. My grandma really likes their soups, especially one of the mushroom ones. I know that one time they got a really bad item (forgot what it was) but it was so bad they had to throw it away, and my grandparents complained and they received a full refund and a handful of apologies.

                                                      I don't think it's one of those places that you go to all of the time, but it's nice to stop in once in awhile to see what kind of deals they have and listen to all the singing fruit and animals.

                                                      1. Oh, you mean that Stew Leonard's is OPEN for LIQUOR sales and doing TASTINGS today in CT (and not many places are)? Not sure what happened, but I agree--I think this may be helpful to other posters this 4th of July!

                                                        1. Oh Boy... many from "the city" are out in "the country" today. The local grocer, normal so civil, is filled with some very diffeent peeps today.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            I was at my near-by A&P at about 9:15 AM and there was just about no one there-YET???
                                                            Store was doing major re-stocking in meat and bread sections.
                                                            There where people behind me getting BBQ stuff.

                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                              Hamptons, yes, Jersey shore, yes, but Yonkers? Probably not. I lived in "the city" for 17 years and never spent July 4th at Stew Leonards. Now that I live in Westchester, we are the regular peeps that go there on holidays. In fact, I am waiting for my husband and kids to come back from there. They are picking up a vegetable platter, fruit platter and 7 lbs of chicken fries (what can I say, all kids love these things). I'm sure it was a zoo, but my husband slept until 9:30 today when I was up at 7, so this is his payback!

                                                              1. re: valerie

                                                                Yonkers is not the only Stew Leonard's outlet in the tri-state :)

                                                            2. wow 50 replies in 4 days... shark, you hit a nerve. Here's a booster ... best samples, Stewies or Costco? Cast one vote for SL.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: louuuuu

                                                                guess when you start with Gen Tsao chicken from the hot bar at SL what can you say?

                                                                your team is playing a heck of a lot better than jfood's Single-A's at Citi Mr Louuuuu. Steaking to the bottom. :-((

                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  Yes, but that brings no happiness. am in philly and the fans here are obnoxious, But wow what Italanio cuisnie... I'm not not talking south philly red gravy, but authentic Italian pastas and fish. Beats Arthur Ave

                                                                2. re: louuuuu

                                                                  +1 for your vote for Stew Stew's samples, but I'd like my chocolate chip cookies back, dammit! ;) Right near where the little cuckoo clock bird comes out and says, "Stew Stew! Stew Stew!" And why are Stew's samples better than Costco's? Because they're not a bunch of frozen, processed, prepackaged garbage.

                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                    I also give a vote for their lobster dinner at "Hoedown" (their Yonker's restaurant area with picnic tables). For $12.99, you get a 11/4 lb. lobster, corn on the cob and french fries. I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet the lobster was and the price was right. It was better than some seafood restaurants I have been to and at double the price. I will defintely be back, even if I do not have any other shopping there. By the way, I only buy my fresh fruit/vegetables there occasionally.

                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      Don't they sell the chocolate chip cookies? Or are they only available as samples? Sorry but I've never been there, I'm sure I'd check it out if they were local.

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        They do sell the chocolate chip cookies. It's my own little joke about them no longer being available as samples since there were cookie samples aplenty when the store first opened. I'm happy with my own chocolate chip cookies and don't need a whole batch of calories lying around like that ('cause I also hate to waste food). If I'm going to buy a baked good, I tend to go for things I don't make at home (such as a croissant or almond macaroon)...and for those I go to a local mom & pop bakery, which--fortunately for my waistline--is 30 minutes away. ;)

                                                                  2. Just had the steak sandwich, fries and drink today at the Yonkers branch. "Steak" was more than half fat and grissle which I threw away. Fries were tasty but VERY greasy. NO bargain at just under $10. Last time I eat lunch there.

                                                                    28 Replies
                                                                    1. re: budinado

                                                                      Today I went to Stew's Norwalk location. These are my observations. There was, I noticed a few months ago a sign hanging from the left-hand section of the beef display announcing that food in that section originated in one of the 3 countries of North America, The U.S.A., Canada or Mexico. I've seen similar vague signs at Shoprite in Norwalk also, so I figured that the meat labeling law is very lax and requires nothing more. Today when I arrived at Stews even that insufficient information had been removed. In other words, there were no country of origin designations at all. I don't know about you, but I am not interested in eating beef raised in Mexico. Just my opinion. Does anyone know how the meat labeling law is supposed to work and if these stores may or may not be in compliance?

                                                                      Stew........Could you help us out here? Wouldn't it be great if you put the country of origin info on EVERY package of meat so that there would be no conrusion about what is what?

                                                                      Another tale of today involves the on-sale chicken breasts which JFOOD had referenced in one of the above posts. Stew advertises the meat at $1.99 per pound "family pack". So obviously you can't buy a pound. A package weighs approximately 4 pounds or more and contains enough boneless chicken breast to feed how many? If combined with, say, mushrooms, wine, butter, served on a bed of spinach this amount of chicken could conceivably feed 5 or 6 STARVING adults, or maybe 8 or more normal-appetite adults and potentially an entire playground full of children. And if you made chicken parm? Fuggettaboutit. How many people are in your family? There are two in mine, one in the lady's next door and an average family size around here of maybe 3, 4 people TOPS.

                                                                      Now I know what you're gonna say....JFOOD, I can almost hear you now..Saying that I'm a bit of a nitpicker and that I don't appreciate the concept of the "value" pack. That I should just freeze the rest and use it later, not my style.

                                                                      I would respond by saying that I cook for 2 people. I need one pound of chicken, maybe a pound and a half. I am not going to eat chicken breasts 2 nights in a row. I am not going to freeze it and cook it later. So here's a question...What if you want to buy the chicken but you want a smaller pack, maybe half the size, 2, 2.5 pounds? What happens to the price? It MORE THAN DOUBLES. And that's not fair, and it's not right, it's not even good business because I didn't buy the things. It is an example of the customer being always right except for when it comes to satisfying his ACTUAL needs.
                                                                      Stew is, in short, pricing his "family pack" for a hypothetical family, one that really doesn't exist.

                                                                      ......Stew..... This is suburban NYC. We don't all have big, enormous families to feed. We don't live all live on farms, where our 6 children play happily in the yard before sitting down to a good old fashioned Rockwellian chicken dinner. We don't all have kids. Some of us are single. Some of us are not that hungry. So why should we get hosed when trying to satisfy our actual needs? I'm a customer...Aren't I always right?

                                                                      I can't buy your family pack. Heck, I can't even lift it.

                                                                      1. re: shark_attack

                                                                        Shark_Attack: Every store I shop at, I repeat-EVERY STORE, that has +/- $1.99@lb has it as a family package. It is NOT only Stu's.
                                                                        And while I cook for only 2, I buy a pack (or even 2) & then even cut them down in size w/flilet knive!
                                                                        Then freeze it in 1 lb. packages.
                                                                        So while I too may have to wonder if the amount of labor & matterials saved in larger packaging matches pricing, I have yet to pick out one store out of many to ask.

                                                                        1. re: shark_attack

                                                                          That policy and pricing is in no way unique to SL.

                                                                          Costco, Sams Club, even Stop and Shop offer economy prices on bulk items.

                                                                          I sure don't think of Stews as a supermarket.. In no way does it offer the selection and choices of a full grocery emporium... 10% according to their website. So you should not expect the arrary of products and portions of a Shop Rite, etc.. And with all the animatronics and petting farm, they do cater to families.

                                                                          Guess anything Stewies is chum on your waters, Shark Attack. He sure gets your jaws working!

                                                                          But you're a fun read.

                                                                          1. re: shark_attack

                                                                            shark attack...why do you keep going back to Stew's if you hate it so much?

                                                                            1. re: shark_attack

                                                                              I don't know anyone who goes to Stew's for small amounts of anything -- that's generally not how his store works. Moslty, I go there for corn when it's on sale and get a crate (48) or bag (60) -- and they're very accommodating to my special request.

                                                                              We usually buy chicken from a local farm; but when we're in a pinch, and Stew has a good sale, we (the hubby and I, no kids) buy the family pack and freeze it into meal-size portions. If you don't have to economize, good for you -- I'm jealous. But say you pay $4 for a pound of chicken, you're still ahead of the game because you haven't paid $8 for four pounds, three of which you just don't want to use.

                                                                              If you hate Stew Leonard's that much -- and apparently you do -- just don't go there.

                                                                              1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                "Stew is, in short, pricing his "family pack" for a hypothetical family, one that really doesn't exist."

                                                                                Really? Maybe in your world the "family" doesn't exist. I have 2 kids in my family, many of my friends have 3 kids, and I have 3 friends that even have 4 kids and we don't live on farms. Why do you think that Stew Leonard's has all of the amusements for kids? Do you think that the adults like the dancing banana or singing cows? Maybe they have all the entertainment because people bring these "hypothetical families" there.

                                                                                Once again, if you don't like the place, why do you go there?

                                                                                1. re: valerie

                                                                                  First of all, I appreciate the perspectives outlined by you above. The answer to the question being asked...... "If you hate it so much, why do you go there?"
                                                                                  may surprise you.

                                                                                  I don't hate it at all. There are times, not frequently lately but times when Stew puts the Kansas steak on sale for about 7 bucks a pound, for example, and shark_attack spends the week grinding his own top quality hamburger and aggrivating his gout. During those sales, I love Stews more than anyone....I love it enough to criticize it when it diverges from it's own lofty standards. Ok, it's own standards. (has anyone noticed, by the way, that the quality of on-sale-items, particularly beef seem, oddly enough, to be of higher quality nearer the Wednesday start-of-sale date and the quality of the beef often, not always but often deteriorates toward the Tuesday end-of-sale date. I'm not talking freshness here, I mean the steaks are actually better steaks)

                                                                                  Primarily though, to answer the question, it comes down to a dirth of supply. If you want to buy beef within 15 miles give-or-take of the store, Stews beef, sometimes veal, and occasionally lamb are of nice quality/price in comparison to what is sold at Stop and Shop. Balducci should sell great beef, but the flow in the Westport store can be slow and freshness can be an issue.

                                                                                  In general, Stew isn't in many cases offering a compelling price/quality equation. Many, not all but many of his "regular" prices are too high. Why should the above referenced steak cost 16, 17 bucks per pound "regular" price, and 7 on sale? Couldn't we meet in the middle somewhere? Usually only the sale prices are attractive. I don't mind spending good money on food. But it's gotta be a good deal price/quality wise.

                                                                                  I intend, by the way, not only to criticize but to compliment as well, to announce with great fanfare that which Stew does right as well as wrong. Ultimately, a continuing in-depth discussion of this issue can only be helpful to all interests to this matter, as this forum shall serve as a conduit by which information can be conveyed and dichotomies between the various interests lessened.

                                                                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                    Gotit...you like the steak you buy on wednesday if it is the forst day of a full week sale when it is $10 less than the regular price assuming that it has the country of origin and it is not Mexico.

                                                                                    You dislike everything else.

                                                                                    Glad to see it you not only criticize but compliment.

                                                                                    Double OY

                                                                                  2. re: valerie

                                                                                    Ummm.....as an "adult" I really, really like the dancing banana and singing cows and the animal farm and the "Stew" song.........but then again, I usually eat at the kids table at any holiday buffet and I will push any kid over to get my chance to slide on a slip and slide......but I am just sayin'

                                                                                  3. re: shark_attack

                                                                                    Yup, jfood would say buy a bag sucker and freeze the rest after breading and frying. But jfood does not even like the brand they place on sale as they are too stringy and do not accept a pounding all that well, so jfood does not buy them (he is a B&E person).

                                                                                    But here is an intereting thought to prove to you, or maybe confirm your preconceived idea of their customer service. Buy a family pack, and use what you need for you and your wife. Then return the rest with the receipt and tell the customer service department you did not need all of the chicken in the pack and ask for a refund. See what they say. Hopefully when they start writingthe credit slip or taking cash out of the drawer you will say you reconsidered and leave. It's an interesting idea from jfood's perspective and may change your view of the customer service at SL which, in jfood's opinion, is second to none.

                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                      Just curious, since I think I've been in a Stew Leonard's one time: Is the chicken previously frozen. Much of what is sold in Stop n Shops and elsewhere was frozen at one time.
                                                                                      I would not want to re-freeze bargain buy chicken once thawed. I believe that's sort of a no-no?

                                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                                        Scargod-While I do not recall ever buying chicken at SL's, I have never had any problems with freezing what I have bought elsewhere. As I posted above, flillet it, wrap it and seal it.

                                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                                          Not being sassy, can you tell me how you know this about S&S (or anywhere)...is there actual wording on the package that states, "previously frozen" or what? I only ask because since we're just two, we do plenty of freezing of all sorts of meat.

                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                            I've seen plenty of the cheaper brands of chicken put out and they were obviously still thawing. I think some say previously frozen, but perhaps someone else knows the answer, since I don't even look at them nowadays.

                                                                                            Years ago, I used to like to buy them still frozen or partly frozen. A sign they were just put out. You are sassy..., in a good way.

                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                              I have noticed frozen meats at the S+S in Stamford. I try to avoid them if possible. The problem with buying packaged meats is that you don't know where it comes from or where it's been. I currently buy beef at Whole Foods, but am looking for a reliable butcher I can buy meat from. I pretty much don't like to buy supermarket meat if I can help it. I've seen too many expose's in my time to think that every supermarket is on the up and up.

                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                I did not find any statement that any chicken in S&S was pre-frozen. However, yesterday I did find a Nature's Choice whole chicken, where the back was hard, while the rest was unfrozen. I saw packages of chicken (like Tyson's), where they were sweating profusely from condensation that was forming; indicating that they were very cold. Some were firm but not hard and I did not see crystals like I have seen on occasion.
                                                                                                I finally found a butcher (seemed they all disappeared for at least 20 minutes while I made the rounds), and he said that the pallet of chicken was often placed as close to the refrigeration unit in the delivery truck as possible, so they did get partially frozen on occasion. I wonder if this is legal?

                                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                  The few Nature's Choice (S&S's organic brand) items we've tried were not to my liking. The only one I remember offhand was boxed chicken stock. Kind of a hard thing to mess up, but no sir, I didn't like it. So I've stayed away from NC. BAWK!

                                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                    Poultry is often sold "fresh" but feels frozen. I believe the stipulation is that anything over 28 degrees is considered fresh. So while it feels frozen (and technically is) it's not deep frozen, thaws quickly and is still considered fresh (i.e., not deep frozen). I'm guessing that what you found is "fresh" chicken that is somewhere in between, with the front being at or above 32 and the back being below 32.

                                                                                                2. re: Scargod

                                                                                                  Info about/on re-freezing meats:
                                                                                                  http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ciq-ref...
                                                                                                  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Can_you_def...

                                                                                                  1. re: Jon1856

                                                                                                    If it's Tyson brand, it was frozen, but most grocery stores use CVP chicken parts, which is fresh but gas flushed to give it 10 to 14 days before opening. If it gets up to that without selling, then they probably would throw it in the freezer so as not to throw it out.

                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                      Just returned from Stews, Norwalk. I was able to determine that in addition to the bone-in rib eyes which were advertised as being on sale and which ARE from Kansas but which did not look fantastic (4.99/lb), there were strip steaks, packaged in 3's and 4's which were also from Kansas and did look fantastic (6.99/lb). I was even able to find a fairly small package (2 pounds) containing 4 really great shaped well marbled little strip steaks. I plan to grill them extra rare and smother them in gorgonzola butter which I will make this afternoon. I'll let you know later tonight or tomorrow how they taste. But all systems seem to be go. Let the grilling begin!

                                                                                                      1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                        8 oz strip steaks sound very weird and very small S_A.

                                                                                                        be careful grilling them if you want them extra rare.

                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                          Jfood,

                                                                                                          Good afternoon. The package is actually a pound and a half, more than I need but i am willing to have sliced steak and salad tomorrow. Three of the steaks are VERY attractive shape-wise, I know you know what I'm talking about here; the classic strip-shape. The 4th one doesn't look bad, maybe it's from the wrong side of the strip, but I have a much beloved cat who will have no trouble helping me eat that 4th steak. Now I know what you're thinking...I should be giving my cat the BEST looking steak.

                                                                                                          I will do nothing more than sear the outside, maybe 2 minutes then a flip and another minute is all.

                                                                                                          Lovely weather we're having today:)

                                                                                                          1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                            actually jfood would recommend giving the cat the gen tsao chicken and buying a dog. :-))

                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                              THE STRIP STEAKS ARE AWESOME

                                                                                                              Good evening everyone,

                                                                                                              I grilled and consumed the steaks here with a close friend and a hungry cat, and I can gladly report that the steaks are AWESOME. I'm talking about the strip steak family pack here, can't speak for the boneless rib eye. These looked better. They certainly have that nice Kansas flavor. They are also quite nice texture-wise, even containing a fair amount of marbling which informed each thin slice of rare steak with an unctuous flavorful fattiness. You'd be darned happy to be served this steak in a restaurant, even at many steakhouses. This experience was actually up there with about the best steak I've bought at Stews, or anywhere around here really, for anywhere near 7 bucks a pound.

                                                                                                              1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                I've been buying strip steaks for $3.99 all summer but don't know that I could get so rhapsodic describing them. After some Adolfs, they're OK, and my cats don't complain about the leftovers, for sure! The only Stew Leonards we have is a liquor store, so I've always been curious.

                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                  typo: Sorry...The package was 2.5 pounds.....average size more like 3 pounds.

                                                                                                              2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                After the cat died? I agree with getting the dog. My dog has great food related intestinal fortitude!

                                                                                            2. I go to SL seasonally. Track record not good. Pumpkins at Halloween rotted within about a week. Christmas tree dead (i mean DEAD!) in 10 days (despite my care & watering). I swear their produce spoils faster than anything I buy at Stop & Shop, Mrs Greens, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I tend to go there before parties to stock up on soda, Perrier, chips, milk, etc. I do like their fried chicken. So unhealthy but finger licking good! I also despise their pricing schematic. Unless you are a family of 6 big eaters, who needs 2or 4 of everything? Just a waste of precious money, especially in this economy. Also, I have enjoyed their lobsters and they are competitively priced.

                                                                                              1. I guess I am in the minority with this, but I don't always mind their policy of offering a better price when you buy 2 of something. And I do not have a family of 6. I have a husband and 2 young kids (my kids both happen to be fantastic eaters).

                                                                                                For example, we like Near East couscous. At Stew's, it's 3 for $6 (not sure of the individual price, maybe $2.59?). We eat it, it doesn't go bad like produce, so why not save a few cents by buying 3 when we will eat them. Or sometimes they have the Nabisco 100 calorie snacks when you buy 2 for whatever (can't remember exact price). They don't spoil, I pack lunch for my kids, and they are good to throw in there, so again, why not buy 2. And as I have mentioned, I can never pass up any deal on Rao's marinara. If it's cheaper to buy 2, I will buy 2, usually 4. It does not spoil.

                                                                                                Admittedly, on produce I don't always like this deal. I don't always want 2 pints of grape tomatoes. So I go to Trader Joe's and buy them there instead.

                                                                                                Unfortunately, there is not one store that I can go to for everything that I need in a given week. I go to Stew's probably every 2 weeks, but I don't consider it my regular grocery store, since that is not what it is. I also go to Trader Joe's for select things and for "regular" groceries, I go to Stop & Shop (I used to go to A&P and then realized that Stop & Shop is much cheaper).

                                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: valerie

                                                                                                  I'm there with you, valerie. I don't always mind their pricing policy--I make out just fine with it many times and we are just two adults (occasionally three adults)...with a Food Saver, so that makes a big difference, too.

                                                                                                  <<Unfortunately, there is not one store that I can go to for everything that I need in a given week.>> Me, too (me, either?). Stop & Shop gets a decent chunk of our business since it's closest to home, but if you have a Price Rite, check them out for produce, meatloaf mix, canned tomatoes and other staples--there are some fantastic bargains there! And I throw Whole Foods in the mix for certain specialty items I can't find elsewhere. I wish we had a TJ's--ours are farther than I usually drive for groceries.

                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                    Kansas Porterhouse on-sale.....

                                                                                                    Bought 2 great looking ones....Will report after grilling and topping with mushroom butter.

                                                                                                    1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                      Steak very nice......A very good buy.

                                                                                                      1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                        So...basically you only like steak-on-sale from Stew's?

                                                                                                        1. re: Elisa515

                                                                                                          Elisa515,

                                                                                                          Steak, when it's the American steak, and when it is on sale is one of the better offerings to be had there. There were times when the NZ lamb was going for 10 bucks a pound, around Christmas last year I made a few of them and they can also be very nice.
                                                                                                          Sometimes the chicken is nice, usually the whole birds, once again , when they are on sale for about 3 bucks each I will buy a couple...

                                                                                                          So I guess I do like to buy good products when they are on-sale. I know. That makes me a bad guy:)

                                                                                                          1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                            <I know. That makes me a bad guy:)>

                                                                                                            No, I just think the abrupt turn-around from hating to loving has some posters confused...glad you are finding something good there...just watch out for the life size chicken...

                                                                                                            1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                              Reading this thread it does indeed strike me as a bizarre 180 from the OP...not sure I get exactly where this thread is heading but steak saves the day and trumps awful service in the end. So there you go! As for my experiences, I think I ended up in this place one late saturday evening when everywhere else was shut looking for a pumpkin pie for my wife who was craving PP badly. It struck me as some sort of theme park...quite hideous but maybe enjoyable for those with young kids. As for the pumpkin pie, absolutely dreadful and I've never been back. Oh well.

                                                                                                              1. re: Scotty100

                                                                                                                the bakery stuff is bad, agreed

                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                  EXCEPT for the cookies...the formerly free, tasty chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and those apple pies from Lyman's are tasty...unless those are specific to the Newington store since Lyman Orchards is in Middlefield. Do you FFD hounds get pies from Lyman's, too? It's a fall thing.

                                                                                                                  I like their tortillas--wheat and white. Tried them?

                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                    sorry K but jfood thinks the Triple-Cs are way too sweet to the point of biting on sugar. It is like people like those enormous cupcakes from Costco, not to jfood's liking.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                      Perhaps it has been too long since I had a free sample (or they were a tasty snack when I was hungry). I have to say, I'm not one to buy 3Cs because I bake and nothing beats my own cookies (or my mom's)...well, except these almond macaroons I get in Deep River. Those are mindblowingly wonderful (Patisserie du Glace). Too bad we're not remotely neighbors. They're exquisite and you'd woof for one!

                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                        Today is the first day of the new sale. After determining that their on-sale filet mignon (9.99/lb) is from Kansas, as is all their other beef at all times, I am now told, I bought 3 filets and grilled them, topping them with a classic bernaise sauce. Stew even had fresh tarragon, although he could sell individual shallots, instead of bags big enough to literally run a restaurant with.

                                                                                                                        The steak was AMAZING. Top quality stuff. This is what makes Stews great.

                                                                                                                        Bear in mind, on-sale beef tends to be of better quality nearer the start of sale than near the end, for reasons totally alien to me, but I have noticed the correlation.

                                                                                                                        1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                          Wait a sec -- aren't you the OP who has huge problems with Stews? This sounds like paean to the store now. Have you changed your opinion?

                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                            I compliment when appropriate, as well as criticize. Now go buy yourself some filet mignon.

                                                                                                                            1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                              Naw, my DH gets prime beef at the Restaurant Depot. We don't do filet mignon...

                                                                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                I grilled the filet mignon 3 different times this week.

                                                                                                                                Let's see what's on sale tomorrow:)

                                                                                                                                1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                  What was once a fairly minor inconvenience is now a major hassle. After expanding the Norwalk store yet-again, Stew has turned the store into a maze of sorts, funneling foot traffic down this corridor and that, to the left and then right essentially making the store a one-way pass through in which it is now far more difficult to take a meaningful shortcut. By far the quickest way to most of the store is now by going "backwards", past the registers first. Is this really the best way to do things?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                    You gotta learn the shortcuts. Since you only go for the beef, go right, left, straight, right, left , left, grab the beef on the right then straight, left, cut through to the registers. No biggie.

                                                                                                                                    Been that way for at least 12 years.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                      Yet you continue to shop there...

                                                                                                  2. I lived in Westport when the Norwalk store opened. We loved it, but we were, admittedly, young and stupid. I hated parking there- every time a space opened, someone would swoop in and steal it. Once I tested the Rules on the rock about the Customer Is Always Right... when I needed 6 eggs for a short boat cruise with a small fridge, and they only sold packages of 12 (who eats 12 eggs?). I suggested that they should allow me to break up a container... well, the customer isn't always right. I met Paul Newman, who was hawking his new salad dressing! The variety of meat offered was appealing and I brought the kids there quite often. Their chocolate, chocolate chip cookies were great!

                                                                                                    Then we moved to Ridgefield and I went to the new Danbury store. Parking was less stressful and the aisles were less cramped. I liked certain kinds of seafood (the lobsters were cheap and good) and meat, as well as the dairy products. They stopped offering a choice of in-store soda sizes and I filled out one of those in-store "suggestions" asking them to reconsider this decision. They never did, and now all you can get is a really huge serving. The food was good though, as in Norwalk. As the kids got older, I went less and less. It was hard to get in and out with everything I needed- there always seemed to be 1 thing they didn't have...

                                                                                                    Then we moved to West Hartford and I really missed Stews! I told my friends about this store that was really fun to shop at. They asked about the food and I told them that it was OK, but the experience was fun-especially around the Holidays. Then, they opened one in Newington! I was so excited I went right away, and wasn't disappointed. Stew Jr. told me where the fish counter was (he's nice, despite the fact that he went to jail for the SAME tax finagling his father did- you would think they would share info or something!) Anyway, I have noticed a major decline since the store's opening. For instance, the large diver scallops were sitting in a LOT of white, milky liquid. Yuck! The single lobster I bought was full of water and so soft I just used my hands to dismantle it- it's skin was like tissue paper. Never mind that I asked for a female and I got a male. Double yuck. The veggies were wilted and fruit flies were everywhere. It was so gross- the stock guy was throwing out produce right there in front of me. Let me re-iterate this, the stock guy was throwing out gross produce AND CUSTOMERS WERE BUYING IT AT THE SAME TIME! What's wrong with these people?! If the produce is bad, get rid of - do not sell it! The cheese counter is inconsistent, with no good brie or camembert, but great cheddar choices. Also, cheese packages were too large- 2 pounds of brie anyone? There was no person at the cheese counter to cut it down so I brought it to the deli- where (after a long wait) they did cut it. I also wish they carried more local produce. Another good thing about SL is that for awhile COSTCO stopped carrying StretchTite- the ONLY kind of plastic wrap anyone should EVER use. The stuff is great. Anyway, SL sells it and I bought like 20 rolls. Pathetic, maybe

                                                                                                    Anyway, it looks like my affair with SL is coming to an end. I found a great fish guy, a decent local grocery store (still looking for a good butcher), and other places to buy quality dairy products. I'll miss the Twiinkie Guy... and the Chiquita Banana Lady...and the ice-cream. I think I'll go back for Christmas, though, for more StretchTite... and cookies...

                                                                                                    26 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                      I grew up with Stew's from the begining, too -- and I still make the occasional hour-long trip to get a good buy on, say, corn (which didn't happen this year!) or butter. He makes a heavy cream that's only pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized, which is also worth the trip. But with our finding two good, local-enough fishmongers and a source for local, grass-fed beef, Stew's has lost some luster at my house, too.

                                                                                                      Now for what I really wanted to say (without going totally off-topic and getting zapped):

                                                                                                      If you have an Ocean State Job Lot near you, they carry Stretch-Tite. At least the Milford and Seymour stores have it, so I think they all do.

                                                                                                      1. re: harrie

                                                                                                        That wonderful extra butterfat, mildly pasteurized Stew Leonards heavy cream is worth it's weight in gold...

                                                                                                        1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                          stuck in Hartford County,

                                                                                                          I love your posts and am sorry you're not here among us here in Unfairfield County.

                                                                                                          In the interests of both fairness and accuracy, I want to voice the belief that Stew Jr. never faced charges for anything tax related. Do you know anything different?

                                                                                                          Adamclyde, you are right, one of the top items in the store is cream, milk also, and the good black angus steak when it's good and hopefully on-sale, and seasonal fruits and veggies basically.

                                                                                                          1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                            Sr. was convicted of tax fraud in 1993. Tom Leonard (Sr.'s son) was indicted by a grand jury on charges that he, like his father, had skimmed receipts and under reported income from 1992-1994. However, the company reached an agreement w/o admitting any wrongdoing... As for Jr., you are correct, although papers pertaining to Sr's situation, state that "authorities maintained that Stew Jr. was aware of the conspiracy and altered records to cover it up". The conditions of Stew Sr.'s plea bargain guaranteed Stew Jr.s immunity from prosecution.

                                                                                                            Had a great (HARD) lobster from Gulf Shrimp Co. last night, but their giant shrimp prop in the parking lot doesn't dance and sing as a proper Stew Leonards one would. Bummer.

                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                              I think that one practice that is at SLs is pre-sliced coldcuts placed in a large vertical stack. This lessens the buyer's shelf life due to slow bacterial growth and increased oxidation, that happens after the meat is cut.

                                                                                                              ~Fred19

                                                                                                              1. re: Fred19

                                                                                                                Again, this is an example of the way Stew's takes $$$ advantage of the customer- it's a rare CT family that needs a 4" stack of pre-sliced ham- I know that a lot of it is going to be thrown out when it goes bad (at which time you are, presumably, going to return for anther 4" stack...). They probably trumpet that they are "making the customer's lives easier by helping them to avoid the long lines at the deli counter". I actually don't know if it's safe to freeze pre-sliced deli meat. You don't have to look far for other examples of the store suckering customers whose "eye's are bigger than their bellies" (see the size of the salad bar containers!).

                                                                                                                1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                  I'm not sure I understand at all what you are talking about. They sell deli meats in any quantity you want. You go up like any other deli counter on earth and ask them for however much you want. 2 ounces or 2,000. How is that an example of stews taking advantage of anyone? So what if they sell prepacked deli meat in large quantities too. Costco does too. Are they taking advantage of people?

                                                                                                                  If their deli meat is of inferior quality, then that's a different story and worth discussing here, but let's not try and criticize places for things that don't matter, aren't relevant or aren't true.

                                                                                                                  1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                    You guys are grasping at straws now. You can go over and ask for 1-1,000 slices. Let's go through the difference in SL and the local grocer.

                                                                                                                    SL - Slice - place in deli case - order - fill order
                                                                                                                    Grocer - Order - Take from deli case - slice - fill order

                                                                                                                    The difference in timing from slicer to customer is probably <30 minutes. They go through multiple pounds of deli meats and cheeses in the course of a day.

                                                                                                                    Jfood does not like the deli counter because their cheese develops crystals in 24-36 hours in jfood's refrigerator. That is something that should be discussed, not the presentation of the meat and cheese in the deli case.

                                                                                                                    Jfood is not a big fan of SL and fact he does not even like them (other than the propane refills), but let's be fair, complaining about the flow of traffic and deli meat sliced and then sold is a bit disingenuous.

                                                                                                                    1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                      My store slices to order for me, but if it's on sale at a good price like $2.99 or $3.99, I buy twice as much as I need and freeze half. If you're just making sandwiches with it, you'll never know the difference: although some things like ham and cheap turkey are pumped full of water, so when they thaw, I wrap them in a paper towel for a few hours, because they purge. But definitely it's safe to freeze, been doing it for years.

                                                                                                          2. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                            < and they only sold packages of 12 (who eats 12 eggs?)>

                                                                                                            Seriously? Who doesn't sell packages of 12 eggs? You buy a dozen eggs and use them over the course of a couple of weeks...you're making it sound like you've never seen a package of a dozen eggs before.
                                                                                                            Yes, the "customer is always right" is their motto, but you are asking them to break up a container of something. If you only need one roll of toilet paper would you ask to open the package and just take one? Who uses 12 rolls of toilet paper??? ;-)

                                                                                                            1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                              What I am suggesting is that at the very least, the flow of traffic through the store is so belabored by carts clogging small serpentine "aisles" that we are talking not of mere inconvenience but rather, of a full-blown fire hazard. Of course, since typically important business interests such as the Leonard's usually are given every consideration by local enforcement bodies, my opinion is valid, if at all, on a non-contextual basis:)

                                                                                                              1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                I think you are responding to the wrong person/post...I wasn't discussing the layout of the store.

                                                                                                                1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                  Snarky posts...
                                                                                                                  The flow of a food store/the quality and packaging of items/the customer service and a multitude of other factors affect the overall quality of the shopping experience. My point was that I think SL's offers lower quality food and packaging in order to make more more money. The circus-like atmosphere may counter some of SL's very blatant attempts to ensure that the customer buys more than they need, thus ensuring more $$$ for the chain. It's the American way- isn't it? I don't like many of their practices, but some of their food items are OK. So I only go now on Holidays, when the visit is more enjoyable.

                                                                                                                  Stew Leonards is not like any other store. If you are reading these posts and haven't visited, go now and let us know what YOU think. That's the beauty of Chow- you can state your opinion andhear others'. Everybody's experiences are DIFFERENT. If we all liked the same restaurants and food, we'd never get a table or thru the check-out line!

                                                                                                                  1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                    No snark...your comment about the packaging of eggs in 12 packs struck me as really strange, so I commented on it.
                                                                                                                    SL's is not my favorite place. I go there for certain things on rare occasions. I don't buy large amounts of anything as we are a small family. However, I do think that some people are complaining about the "large" packages as being some sort of unfair business practices or coercion, when in fact they sell different size packages of almost anything. Of course when you buy a larger package you get a discounted price...as in most stores. That certainly isn't something only SL does.
                                                                                                                    I don't see how a "circus like atmosphere ensures that you buy things you don't need". It's not brainwashing, just some dancing vegetables.
                                                                                                                    As for the layout, yes, it's a maze, but there are ways to cut through if you need to. If you hate the store, don't shop there, just as if I hate a restaurant, I don't eat there.

                                                                                                                    1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                      In the old days you could break a dozen eggs and only buy 6, but jfood has not seen that in a long time. But you asked them to break a full package apart. The toilet tissue may have been a bit hyperbolic, but it is a very good analogy.

                                                                                                                      And would you also say that the Motto is false if they did not agree to sell you a full tenderloin priced at $28 for $14? Jfood has experienced their customer service 5 times in 13 years, and they absolutely stand behind those words.

                                                                                                                    2. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                      That would be jfood's post.

                                                                                                                      And the idea that SL has paid off the officials to create a fire hazard borders on slander.

                                                                                                                      Hey if you do not like the place do not go there. Jfood has instructed mrs jfood to whack him on the side of the head if she evers hears him say, "I'm going to Stews." Jfood does not like the quality compared to other places available to him so he shops elsewhere, but stating that it is a fire hazard and the town of Norwalk has turned a blind eye is reprehensible.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                        And there are lots of us who don't shop there because of the "maze" and the zoo-like atmosphere.

                                                                                                                        I do go to SL from time to time - ALWAYS when we have guests from other countries because SL is definitely an only-in-America experience! (Our biggest oh-my response has been from guests from France and Israel, with South Africa following close behind.)

                                                                                                                        Even if they had the best food/prices in the world, you couldn't pay me to shop there...although I admit that the last time we walked through (with guests from Ohio - granted, not another country, but they found it outrageous and amusing, too) we did purchase a case of ready-to-be-frozen ice pops...

                                                                                                                        1. re: hungrykids

                                                                                                                          Now that Fresh Market has opened in Westport, it has become clear that much has changed at Stew Leonard's, and elsewhere, in response.

                                                                                                                          Competition, we are told, is what makes Capitalism the best economic system, because it encourages product providers to compete for the retail dollar. With the arrival of Fresh Market, the oft stated yet little realized dream of vigorous producer competition is now a reality, and the competitive juices of those existing retails have been awakened.

                                                                                                                          Balducci sent a coupon to the house offering prime N.Y. strips for ten bucks a pound. In response, Fresh Market immediately put their aged Hereford strips on for ten bucks per pound also. So all of a sudden the price of good steak dropped by half. Competition indeed. But the most miraculous revelation was yet to come.

                                                                                                                          Yesterday at Stew's an all-out effort to modernize and to compete was in evidence. First of all, the entire latest store expansion seems inspired by the coming battle Stew knew would be waged. How did he know? He sent employees to existing Fresh Markets and found that he would need to:

                                                                                                                          A) Package deserts in individual portion sizes for $2.99 per, just like Fresh Market does (in addition to expanding and beautifying the desert section itself)

                                                                                                                          B) Do what I have often asked be done, which is to sell the good beef at attractive prices. By good I am referring to the Black Angus Kansas meat known around here as Naked Beef (did anyone catch the very short lived but hilarious advert tie-in featuring Times Square's "Naked Cowboy" pitching Stew's "Naked Beef"? Priceless. But at any rate, the "naked beef" is what you want. Not sure if you capitalize "naked". Anyway

                                                                                                                          I bought a top round roast for $2.99 per pound that looked and cooked and tasted FANTASTIC. Half price. Sliced it thin with au jus gravy, some nice rye bread, a little mayo on the side (Heinz 57, if you prefer).

                                                                                                                          I also bought a "naked beef" chuck steak for pot roast, also $2.99. I'm cooking that tomorrow, but I've had them before, and like the rest of the Black Angus, they're fantastic.

                                                                                                                          And the moral of the story is....?

                                                                                                                          It is true what the economists wrote, all those years ago about good vigorous competition being the driving force that creates value all throughout the economy. While often avoided, and while discouraged whenever possible, natural, organic competition does occasionally break out and yield for the once hapless consumer what should always have been his....namely, great food at great prices.

                                                                                                                          I'm sure discussions will be be had, or perhaps the competitive urges will subside on their own and some good old fashioned price fixing of the passive variety will evolve out of this chaos; until then, enjoy the bargains.

                                                                                                                          I'm actually looking forward to Thanksgiving:)

                                                                                                                          1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                            Interesting. Does the Stew Leonards in Westport sell "naked" beef? I doubt the Newington store will- they seem to carry cheaper brands and choices in general. Then again, naked anything sells! Brilliant naked cowboy spot.

                                                                                                                            What is Fresh Market? Is it near the old Wild Oats store in Norwalk? There used to be a really good organic market between Wild Oates and Stew Leonards, but I can't remember the name of it. It was very close to Wild Oates. One day I saw 'Wild Oates' on the reciept and knew their time would be up soon. The cashier said they had been bought by Wild Oates, but they would remain open and separate. Are they still there? Food For Thought, maybe? Does that ring a bell?

                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                              Fairly sure I've seen the "naked" products in Newington, too.

                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                I'm SO there!
                                                                                                                                You know, someone suggested Stew Leonards when I posted today looking for a good butcher. Maybe it's time to re-visit the meat dept. there and see what's new.

                                                                                                                                1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                  I dunno, see below. We pick up filet at Stew's and have them hand-trimmed/cut and also like their chicken sausage...but I don't recall picking up the naked product. I love to get their filet on sale, but that's 'cause we have the Food Saver. :)

                                                                                                                              2. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                Food for Thought turned into Wild Oats which then turned into Whole Foods, all in the same space.
                                                                                                                                Fresh Market is new and is in the old Shaws spot on the Post Road in Westport.

                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                Whole Foods
                                                                                                                                905 River Rd, Edgewater, NJ 07020

                                                                                                                                1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                  Didn't The Food Emporium turn into Wild Oats which turned into Whole Foods?

                                                                                                                                  Food for Thought was smaller, in the strip mall one down from the Food Emp/Whole Foods one - now it's maybe a Kinko's or something, I think.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: harrie

                                                                                                                                    Yup, you are right...I think...it's all a blur...but yes, Food Emporium used to be where Wild Oats/Whole Foods is so Food for Thought must have been where Kinkos/Panera is now.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                      Yes, That's it. There is a Food For Thought in East Hartford- maybe it's like the old one. I'll check it out!

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Food For Thought
                                                                                                                                      1 Riverview Sq, East Hartford, CT 06108

                                                                                                                2. I just read that Stew Leonard's has never laid off a single employee! Now that's a reason to patronize a place.

                                                                                                                  1. Everyone seems to love Stew's steaks, but I've been underwhelmed. Every time I've had the "Naked Beef," it's been really tough and stringy, even when cooked to rare or medium rare. Even the stuff I get at Stop & Shop, while not of great quality, is never that stringy. Am I missing something?

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: PPPPP

                                                                                                                      Jfood is with you. Fortunately he has better and closer options. The Stew's meat has always been flavorless.

                                                                                                                      1. re: PPPPP

                                                                                                                        I agree, tough and stringy.

                                                                                                                      2. Jacques Pepin will be at Stew's this friday if anyone is interested.

                                                                                                                        http://www.thehour.com/story/477549

                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                          You guys are way off base calling Stew's naked beef flavorless, tough and stringy.

                                                                                                                          Yes jfood, the regular beef is utterly devoid of flavor and character; I would never buy it. The naked beef is black angus kansas beef, and is, across all cuts and at most times really darned good steak. Really it is. Recall that I authored this post originally to blast Stews, but I also owe it to the truth at least to say it like it is.
                                                                                                                          Am I asserting that never has a tough and stringy piece of meat left the store? Of course not, it probably happens everyday. But when buying the good stuff on sale, your odds are better than even of having a very satisfactory experience. When you buy beef at Lobel's, you don't have to think about whether the beef is good, you merely for over 30, 40 bucks per pound and the Lobel's take care of the quality issues for you.

                                                                                                                          Out here in nowheresville, you've gotta use your brain.

                                                                                                                          1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                            Jfood the Scarecrow checking in. Gotta use that brain material for something other than a hat rack. Thanks for the head's up.

                                                                                                                            Jfood tried the Naked beef and it was flavorless. Maybe it was one of the outliers as you so profess. But in defference to fairness, jfood will give them another shot.

                                                                                                                            And to your last comment, you went to Stews and bought General Tso Chicken and are the ONLY person jfood has ever heard of who trashes their customer service. Two points:

                                                                                                                            1 - Please feel free to stand in front of the Scarecrow on the line at Oz and
                                                                                                                            2 - You must have used the diplomatic approach of your posts here to garner such a response.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                              Stuck in Hartford also had a small (inconsequential) "beef!" w/Stew's customer service (refusing to read the 10,000 or so "suggestions"She made that they offer smaller drink servings and 6 egg containers". Stuck in Hartford also thinks the quality of MOST of the food at Stew Leonards sucks. However, Stuck in Hartford was happy to learn from this thread that no employee has ever quit Stew Leonards-pretty impressive! Stuck in Hartford is having Stew's naked beef this weekend to check for "stringyness and toughness" and will report on her findings soon. What kind of cut did jfood purchase? What wasjfood's method of preparation?

                                                                                                                              1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                jfood is a PH/Strip person. May try a Naked Beef as well this weekend. It appears that you and he had similar experiences and did a snagglepuss. It will be interesting to see the change. BTW - Naked Sirloins at $4/lb.

                                                                                                                                Welcome the the world of writing in thris person. It gets a little painful at times.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                  I forgot to say that I've actually enjoyed their regular (clothed?) steaks in the past. Last weekend I bought a giant Naked porterhouse -- it looked beautiful but was so disappointing. Who knows, maybe I'm just a rube who prefers cheap steak.

                                                                                                                                  That said, I am actually a fan of Stew's. I live in Danbury, and it's the best everyday option around here. At least they have local produce. Most of their meat is a great deal when it's on sale -- two 1.5-inch-thick pork chops for $5, a turkey breast for $4, etc.

                                                                                                                              2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                Just had to weigh in on the Stews debate. I have enjoyed different cuts of Norwalk's Naked Beef, most notably the Porterhouse and Rib Eye (when on sale), and my dinner guests have complimented them as "restaurant worthy." Also enjoy the lamb when on sale, as well as the Naked Whole Chicken (not fond of cut pieces, freshness-wise). It IS a godawful maze, and I never go during peak hours, nor do I use a cart, but prefer to barrel through with a hand held basket, giving the lookey-loos a wide berth. Butter on sale always a great buy, milk a staple. All-in-all, this is a place for selective shopping, where good, tasty bargains can be had with some thought, per Scarecrow. When in a pinch, I have had the prepared soups for lunch, not great, but as others have mentioned, what do you REALLY expect from the prepared foods section. Asparagus on sale, always a bargain, but I do tend to stay away from the other produce. Avoid live lobsters (when on sale, pre-bagged and died quickly) and deli meats (pre-sliced compromises freshness). Lastly, the few times I have "complained," customer service was efficient and responsive.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                  RE: naked beef... the porterhouse and strip steaks from the Yonkers store over the past 2 weeks have been tougher than usual with diminshed flavor and little marbling. Picked up a few for DH since he wanted steak but neither of us were thrilled with them. I'm sure we'll buy them again in the future, but the quality lately has been spotty on the beef.

                                                                                                                                  I will admit to have gone there solely for a dish of vanilla soft serve, though the chocolate sprinkles they've been offering lately are crunchy, almost like the cookie bits at Carvel.

                                                                                                                            2. OK. Here's my updated and unbiased re-review of the Newington Stew Leonards (11:00am) today:

                                                                                                                              As usual, no parking issues (unlike Norwalk). There is a HUGE new Sam's next to Stews now.

                                                                                                                              I like the new entry to the wine shop just into the store entrance (bought a nice, inexpensive white wine for tonites pork roast). I also liked that there was some produce from a local farm displayed as soon as you enter(bought some fresh looking cauliflower). A little further in, they were selling fresh lemonade and it looked good, too. Then I almost booted due to the overpowering smell of donuts- it's REALLY intense, and I hate the smell of donuts. I'm sure some people like it, but me- not so much. Thank god for the wider aisles, b/c there were lots of moms there with these double cart things that have no maneuverability AT ALL- seats for 4 kids, and most of hte kids were walking alongside the cart, anyway.

                                                                                                                              Produce is Stew's biggest problem here- items are just sitting in wooden display cases! They are not cooled, and they are not misted at all. Bunches of asparagus are just laid on top of crates w/o their stem ends in water. The bags of carrots have loads of condensation inside them b/c they are just sitting out in the warm air. The squash bends and looks withered and gross. The herbs were so wilted and pathetic looking Stew should be ashamed of himself! Bleech! The only veggie that looked edible was the fennel. I bought 2 bulbs for tonties pork, also. I liked the local apples and bought some of those, too. A huge bag of tangerines was $3.99 and a pretty good deal- ther e were bags of oranges and grapefruit also a good deal. Moving on to a HUGE selection of bottled drinks. I don't remember so many in the past. I bought a nice blood orange soda.

                                                                                                                              Next, I picked up some naked hotdogs (no hormones!no nitrates!) but then I put them back b/c in the light they looked like a really unappetizing shade of greenish-brown. Yuck. The meat area is next, and Stew's really does have quite a naked beef selection. There's this flat-screen TV with Stew visiting "his ranchers" somewhere out West where the naked beef comes from. I watched the whole thing. Stew excitedly declares that the cattle are "grain fed!". Why is he bragging on this? My favorite part of the video is when Stew (who reminded me of Dubya (cringe) in his "outdoorsey getup of jeans and wild west shirt) asks this little kid if he's ever eaten his grandfathers (one of Stews ranchers) meat, and the kids looks down and mumbles "no". He does make a naked joke, but I would have liked to have seen the naked cowboy here! Anyway, naked beef is a lot more expensive than the other beef they sell. Most of the meat looked fresh, w/a little less marbling than I would have liked, but it did look good. Beef kebobs had a very red color and absolutely NO marbling. They just screamed "TOUGH & CHEWY!!!" The smallest bone-in ribeye was over 1 pound and some were very large at $13.99/lb. I bought a strip steak w/bone for $15.99/lb. Again, kinda pricy if it's not as good as advertised. The meat guy even tried to convince me to buy the regular strip (today's special at $5.99/lb). Maybe it was my cheap, fleece jacket even my daughter hates when I wear it...

                                                                                                                              The olive bar looks great and I bought several varieties. On to fish. Again, they like to leave out (plastic!) bags of clams in the open-they are on some ice, but were not NEARLY cold enuff in my opinion. The scallops ("Fresh, never frozen!") were sitting in the dreaded white, milky liquid that says "preservative" all over it. Stews sells "fake" Snuggies in the fish section...

                                                                                                                              The cheese section has very little interesting cheeses. My advice is to turn and run from Stew's cheeses and head to Whole Foods instead.

                                                                                                                              On the way out, I bought pea soup from the salad bar and a mozzarella, tomato and basil sandwich to go. The soup was good. The sand. sucked. 3 tiny sundried tomatoes, and 3 tiny basil leaves on a footlong overly chewy roll? Should have gone to Subway.

                                                                                                                              In the end, Stew's failed to "wow" me, but not a total loss. I missed the pictures of people holding their Stew's bags all over the world. I liked the naked beef idea and selection. I liked that portions seem smaller than in the past (smaller soup cups, smaller meat cuts). I liked the wine store selection and prices. I liked that the store isn't pushing all the Christmas stuff yet (just a few things in evidence). I I bought two really nice and inexpensive veal cuts for a couple of meals in the future. But the condition of the veggies and some fruit was really atrocious. And if the produce is in such bad condition, what does that say about the rest of the food there? How can they just leave so much produce (and fish) out in the (very) warm aisles? The stuff is withered and bendable!

                                                                                                                              So I'll continue to go just for special items, or if the beef's good I'll give that a go. The lamb and veal selections looked especially good. Hope they add more locally farmed items. If I come down w/swine flu I'm blaming Stews b/c I was coughed on by several little kids- they're everywhere. But then again, it is a store that kids love. And that Snuggie might come in handy... Maybe Stew is smarter than I gave him credit for.

                                                                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                jfood enjoyed that, thank you. BTW he was expecting that your avatar would have been less than a happy face at the end of the thread. He was going to head down to SL for a Naked Steak, but will probably head over to scott's for a veal chop and strip and over to greenwich produce for some greens and fruits

                                                                                                                                1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                  1. What are Snuggies?
                                                                                                                                  2. You forgot to pick up the tasty chicken sausage. Stew does chicken sausage right!
                                                                                                                                  3. I also like the pomegranate blend juice.
                                                                                                                                  4. Their gyoza or dumplings (I forget how they label them) are also quite good for a quick meal or an addition to the meal--pork, chicken--all good.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                    Snuggies are either the dumbest things ever invented and marketed, or the smartest. I laugh myself silly everytime I see that ad- "You don't even have to take your arms out to change the channel on the remote!". They are basically a blanket with arms. I'm still waiting for them to add leg holes... but I digress. They are something (completely unnecessary) that you might expect Stew's to sell.

                                                                                                                                    Do you mean the Stew brand chicken sausage? They also have sevreral kinds of naked sausage. I'll try one next time I go there.

                                                                                                                                    Whose pom. juice? You mean "POM"? Or does Stew sell their own version? I like pom. juice, also, especially with vodka or in a drink on the weekend.

                                                                                                                                    You mean like perogies? Those cresent shaped, filled Polish things? I LOVE those! There's probably a ton of places that sell them near you, w/all the Polish folks in New Britain.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                      Oh, OK...gotcha on the Snuggies. It threw me off because you said they were near the fish section. I guess because you need one there (it is extra cold by the meat and the fish)--HA HA! Those things crack me up. Can't you see the choir-robed throngs of shoppers winding their way through Stew's and dancing along to all the animated foodstuffs? :) But I digress. Thanks for explaining.

                                                                                                                                      Yes, the Stew brand chicken sausage. I love the stuff and have tried both the "regular" and the one with apples in it. Very tasty. I made patties out of the apple one and served it on a bun with chili mayo. Nice!

                                                                                                                                      Yeah, Stew's also sells their own "pomegranate juice blend"...it is tasty on its own (but I prefer to cut it with water) and also a great mixer for drinks.

                                                                                                                                      No, not pierogi--though they sell those, too--these are Asian-style dumplings or gyoza...past the deli on the right, after you round the corner of the cheese counter. You are correct there are tons in New Britain...as well as kielbasa, of course.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                        Don't hate on Snuggies! I love mine :)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                                                          But you wouldn't "wear" it to Stew's would you? ;) I don't know, it reminds me of the Helsinki Complaints Choir...and everyone on this thread would show up wearing a snuggie (choir robe) to voice complaints abouto Stew Leonard's. HA HA HA! I so love this video (though I don't speak a word of Finnish!).
                                                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATXV3D...
                                                                                                                                          There can be a whole "all choir" part to sing about the naked beef and argue about it! :

                                                                                                                                          )

                                                                                                                                          Edit: Maybe someone clever can write the English verse to the Stew Leonard's version of this song. I'd be happy to join in...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                            Haha, I wouldn't WEAR it ANYWHERE! Part of the fun of the Snuggie is how supremely ridiculous they are. I say Kudos to Stews for selling Snuggies! :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                                                              Haha! That video is hilarious. I could totally see a bunch of CH's walking thru Stews w/those things complaining about "tough, stringy" naked beef and all the rest of complaints here. Which got me to thinking... Do you think Stews looks at these things? I wonder if there's some Stews PR guy whose job it is to i.d. and intercept bad PR.

                                                                                                                                              As for the Snuggie, I think Stews marketing manager should get a promotion for the idea of selling them in the fish area! Now all they need is a dancing and singing Snuggie!

                                                                                                                                              I'm making the naked (strip!!!!) steak tonite- so let's hope the thing was worth $20 (could have bought TWO snuggies for that price!).

                                                                                                                                              OK, for the record I will say that our house is, and will forever be, a Snuggie-free-zone. But I said that about Uggs, too.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                mrs jfood bought a pair of Ugg slippers last winter...awesome. can't wait to hear the naked report. No snuggies at casa jfood either.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                  Ah, see, you are an Uggs convert. In all seriousness, the Snuggie is great in the middle of winter when your husband (or wife) will not allow you to turn the heat up to what YOU find a comfortable temperature (I'd keep the heat at 75+ if it were up to me). Curl up on the couch in your snuggie and enjoy a nice glass of wine, or a good book (hence the sleeves) - after a good home cooked meal from Stews of course! ;)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                                                                    Look guys. the Snuggie WAS lame. Until Weezer came out with one. Check out the Weezer-Snuggie infomercial. Hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXqHfH...&

                                                                                                                                                    Now... well... I want one. And if Stews carried the Weezer Snuggie, then they'd reach immortal status. Sadly, all I saw there were Sponge Bob snuggies today. How lame is that?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                      jfood just brought it up at dinner and little jfood wants one and is working hard on twin set for mrs jfood.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                        THAT is fab! Does it come with the guitar player to massage my tired feet after schlepping through the carefully thought-out maze that IS Stew-Stew's? :) I love that it says "You can enjoy a snack!" Right, because dammit, you just can't enjoy a snack with an afghan or blanket, nooooo!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                          What is there left to say? We're still laughing-is that ad for real? I want that foot massage! Of course, no leg holes yet...

                                                                                                                                                          Delay on the naked beef review, as kids are down w/flu and not hungry. Oink, oink!

                                                                                                                                                          Where was that Weezer Snuggi?

                                                                                                                                            2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                              I love the Stew's Pom blend juice too - its one of my fave things to sample (and buy- I mix it with seltzer and lime) when I'm there. I like them for certain things, but it could never by my primary store. I've gone much les sfrequently since Fresh Market opened. They do often have fish selections that other stores don't, like black grouper. Other than that, my fave Stew's items are:

                                                                                                                                              1)The whole tenderloin when its on sale (but Fresh market's is better and worth the extra couple of bucks per lb when its on sale

                                                                                                                                              2)King crab legs on sale

                                                                                                                                              3)Picked lobster meat for at- home lobster rolls

                                                                                                                                              4) a few produce items- namely corn, watermelon- both consistently much better than Stop & Shop and pineapple (they sell a 1/2 peeled and cored pineapple)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JenJeninCT

                                                                                                                                                After watching that Deadliest Catch show I can't bring myself to ever buy king crab again!

                                                                                                                                          2. Put on your Uggs and get in that Snuggie- my son (11 y.o., home "sick") and I sat thru a "Die Hard" Marathon and grilled up our naked beef! Here's our review:

                                                                                                                                            We had a 2" (plus some) thick strip of naked beef purchased Friday afternoon, and intended to gill it on Sat. nite. Unfortunately, the kids got sick and refused to participate in my naked test. So it sat in the bottom of my fridge for 3 days while I ate mac&cheese and pizza w/them. Today (Monday) my son and I decided to grill it for lunch while we laughed at how silly cell-phones, hair and suits looked in the eighties. I was very suspicious of the meat's freshness, but it emerged from the butcher paper looking and smelling perfectly fresh. Yipee!

                                                                                                                                            Grilling a more than 2" (bone-in) steak can be a challenge- I worried about over or undercooking the $20 thing. We let is sit for 40 minutes to reach room temp and fired up the Weber gas grill. We agreed on peanut oil (for high temp grilling), salt and pepper as the only rub.

                                                                                                                                            5 minutes on each side at 550 deg. Perfectly dark-brown outside, but not nearly ready inside. I hated to poke the meat and lose juices, but the probe reported it was only 83 deg. in the middle. Indirect grilling next, for, like, FOREVER. I mean I was freaking out and sure the probe was broken and the meat would be overcooked... Anyway, after what seemed like an eternity, it finally reached 120 deg and we removed it to rest.

                                                                                                                                            10 minutes later, we sliced it. It was perfect! I could not believe it! Bobby Flay himself could not have produced a more perfect strip steak- and please note that we did not use any of the dang CHIPOTLE that he's currently enamorated with. But I digress...

                                                                                                                                            I ate an end piece and a middle piece. My son chose two middle-ish pieces. I have to be honest and say that the texture was amazing. Just the best, ever. Not tough, not stringy, not anything but soft and tender and just right. My son reports, "This is great! The best! I love this- it's so soft (but NOT mushy, folks) it's the meat to eat if you have no teeth!" Ha ha, he actually said this. I should e-mail Stew w/their new ad slogan! I would even help them develop the automatron- i'm thinking a dancing, toothless old couple grilling these things up... Anyway, I'd like to report that I also thought it was the best, but even though it's texture was perfect, and it looked beautuful, the taste wasn't my favorite. In fact, it was really bland, and, well, boring. Not as yummy as grass fed beef. Not beefy enuff for me. I FELT SO CHEATED!!! What a gyp. It looked perfect, it smelled perfect, it felt perfect. BUT IT HAD NO TASTE. Of course, that's probably why my son loved it. He believes that it's the perfect beef for kids (and toothless folks). Maybe a little pricey for him- I mean, he is also just as happy w/ the $2.50 burgers at Five Guys.

                                                                                                                                            So that's our review. He loved it and rated it 11 out of 10. I loved everything about it but the bland taste- so maybe 5 or 6/10. But then again, Stews IS a store aimed at making kids happy, and if Stew's can do it by selling bland (but otherwise tasty) meat at $15.99/lb to mom's, than power to them! Next time we'll try the rib-eye to see if it tastes beefier. But only if it's on sale.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                              fantastic feedback...thanks SIHC

                                                                                                                                              1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                Do try the Ribeye. The Porterhouse, too (on sale this week). And the Rack of Lamb (on sale last week at $7.99/lb.) is a favorite.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jadelise

                                                                                                                                                  the PH on sale this week is the regular, not the Naked. jfood would vote against even a $5.99 regular PH

                                                                                                                                              2. SPEAKING OF NAKED (since we just can't seem to stop), has anyone tried Stew's naked bacon? It almost made the trip home with me last shopping trip but I was trying to take it easy on my bacon consumption. Next time for sure unless one of you can talk me out of it. I never noticed their bacon before, period...now naked. Hmmmmmmm.

                                                                                                                                                P.S. Last visit, the animatronic chickens were silent (they're stationed near the bacon in the Newington store)...they popped up and everything, but didn't cluck or sing. Hope they're "feeling better" now!

                                                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                  OK I'm not in Stew territory, but why is it "naked"? I can see their marketing dept works overtime.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                    http://www.stewleonards.com/
                                                                                                                                                    See promo for Stew Leonard's naked rotisserie chicken and naked salmon, too--"no antibiotics, no hormones added"--lots of nakedness!

                                                                                                                                                    As to the bacon, I believe it's similar to other organic bacons--same as above and no nitrates/nitrites (? other than naturally occurring ones) because it isn't cured. I would totally LOVE to work for their marketing department (DUH, how much more fun would that be than my current day job!).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                      Kattyeyes, I presume at your current job you never get to go naked...?...

                                                                                                                                                      You're in the wrong line of work!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                        LOL, no only when I bring nakedness from home as leftovers. ;)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                          Last year, Stews sold Nodin'e Applewood Smoked Bacon and I was thrilled to see them adding "local" foods. It just figures that now they produce "their own" bacon! I swear, the Pres. of ConAgra must have quit and bought Stews. Next, Stews will be selling tires. In the seafood section.

                                                                                                                                                          Naked sells. Duh! Any nakedness at my school of employment results in a visit to the principals office! And a phone call home!

                                                                                                                                                          No singing chickens?! I hope you complained to management!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                            It appears that Stew's new floor plan is complete; I was waiting until it was to post this comment.

                                                                                                                                                            Stew's always took the approach that they would direct you through their maze, one-way only and with few alternatives (aisles or shortcuts) by which to speed ones way through the store. All that was, in the past, all well and good but the thing has taken on bizarre and potentially dangerous dimnensions.

                                                                                                                                                            Upon entering the store one is subjected to a number of gratuitous and unnecessary zig-zags, the negotiation of which is onerous, distant, a pain-in-the-butt, whatever term you care to apply. One "shortcut" is available in I believe the second zig, but if you want to buy milk, you have to go further, into a 3rd zig I believe. This action forces you into a fouth and then a fith direction change, and it is here, at this juncture just beyond the milk and cream but befere the meat department that has me concerned.

                                                                                                                                                            Apart from the obviouos inconveniences etc concomitant with being treated like a rat in a maze, the place where another shortcut should be, HAS to be is blocked off with an english muffin dispay blocking egress in case of fire or stampede. Does everyone understand where I'm talking about? Having the store set up the way it is folks is a potential DISASTER IN WAITING as far as fire, stampede as I said, or any other emergency scenario breaking out. When one turns the blocked-off corner and turns right toward the meat dept, one actually feels claustraphobic, as if entering the further reaches of a cave. If you've seen the store when busy, it's as clogged with carts and impassable as can be, normally. But now? If a fire broke out before a big holiday, you could have hundreds killed. I'm serious. I'm asking you guys to go and check out what I'm talking about and tell me what you think...Ok?

                                                                                                                                                            I realize the seriousness of what I'm saying....And that's precisely why I'm saying it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                              you'd never catch me in the place anyway.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                So what did you buy? The only "naked" stuff on sale this week is salmon and bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                  I stopped in for the milk and cream, which is some of the best around. What began long ago as a dairy store is, at the end of the day, still really good for milk. And it's on sale right now 99 cents wow:)

                                                                                                                                                                  Thing is, I will consciously plan to go to Stew's during off hours, wearing tennis sneakers and running shorts, and I will not let my 70-something year old mother go into the store anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, I forgot to mention that at the turns of all these cart-clogging zigs and zags, they put the girl who gives away free samples, literally blocking the only small pathway and actually encouraging people to stop right there and to take samples, when they know darn well that when a critical mass of carts are present traffic literally stops....I'm sorry, but how stupid can you get?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                    I actually went to stews today to stock up on a few things I like. First time since the new layout. I didn't fear for my life as sharkattack did, just went with the flow. I saw plenty of cut throughs, no claustrophobia and no free samples blocking me from egress, totally disagree that its a "DISASTER IN WAITING" and I'm sure that the fire department had to have signed off on it.
                                                                                                                                                                    Bought a couple of lobster rolls, 4.99 each, hubby and I had them for lunch, very fresh, lemony, filled with lots of lobster meat (mostly claw) and surprisingly good.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                                                      I agree, sibeats. Everyone knows enough about Stew's by now to avoid it if they fear for their lives.

                                                                                                                                                                      I like the place for what it is.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                                                        Totally in agreement: the new set-up feels neither claustrophobic or dangerous and I was there on a Saturday morning. Definite improvement, and if its because of Fresh Market -- then capitalism in this case has served the consumer. The new aisles are far wider and selections expanded. It is a longer trek, tho,

                                                                                                                                                                        Grilled the PH over lump wood charcoal and hick chips, which flavored up what could have been a bland piece of meat since it wasn't marked even Choice. Texture great... and I like my beef black and blue so nothing was masked.

                                                                                                                                                                        Also after a sample, bought some Kettlecorn. Best ever -- and the guy was way out of the traffic flow.

                                                                                                                                                                        And yes the 99 cent half gallons of milk are a deal. You can't go wrong with dairy in quality and prices than Stews, tho their soft ice cream in cones and cups tastes synthetic. But then I grew up on frozen custard, and there's no comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                        Also overated are their vaunted cinnamon doughnuts.

                                                                                                                                                                        Love it our hate it, it's Stewies being Stewies. As McNamee said to Clemens -- "It is what it is."

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: louuuuu

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh the thoughts of a scene in Animal House where John Belushi is eating in the cafeteria and spits all over the footbal star.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                      If Stew's was to ever to encounter a titanic disaster, I definitely feel better knowing the animals would "go down singing!" The rest of us would be stuck in the aisles with unrefrigerated produce, unwieldy carts that seat 6, and aisle blocking Snuggies in the fish area. Thank god for the Wine Store!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                        bad news SIHC. In norwalk the wine store is across a very busy street.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                          Not in our neck of the woods, tho'--they're right next to each other.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Stews serves a purpose, it provides great revenue for Norwalk(thank you Stew) and some really good stuff, but some exceptionally overpriced stuff. Fresh fish, they move alot of it so it always appears fresh. Their produce is overpriced BIG TIME!, and the new maze at the Norwalk store makes me want to buy an automatic weapon. Their pizza dough is excellent, and it makes me sad because I dont want to like it. Their lost leaders on butter, and filet, and Bounty paper towel, make it worth the stop. If your from Norwalk and go on a weekend you get what you deserve.....rammed ankles and pissy surly New Yorkers who are pissed your there. Their fresh Mozzarella is excellent and their fresh herbs are exactly that, fresh. NEVER EVER go on a holiday weekend...im not kidding.

                                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                                          New Yorker Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                          RR 44, Millerton, NY 12546

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jillcooks

                                                                                                                                                            Speaking as one who makes the weekend trek (from New Haven County, not NY), it's not too bad if you get there before 8am. The butter sales alone make it worth the trip for me, since I bake a lot. The fresh mozz is nice, and sometimes the Naked Chicken if I need boneless breasts. Plus the Stew's knock-off of Bear Naked granola, which doesn't bother me since BN sold out to Kellogg's, isn't too bad. But I would never go during "normal" hours, even on a weekday.

                                                                                                                                                            With all the talk about fire safety, though -- if I see someone hanging around with a gas can and a match, trying to look nonchalant, I'll assume that's shark_attack testing out his theory.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Note to Stew:
                                                                                                                                                            I like what seems to be more CT foods in the store.
                                                                                                                                                            Produce still an "area of relative weakness". (Note the use of non-judgmental teacher speak, here?!)
                                                                                                                                                            Better cheese selection since last visit.
                                                                                                                                                            Naked rib eye very good.
                                                                                                                                                            Mukies hot dogs were good.
                                                                                                                                                            Donut smell not as strong, thank gods.
                                                                                                                                                            Love the Turkey Whistle video from years ago. Very "Down Home On The Farm".
                                                                                                                                                            The chickens still do not sing (they just open and close their mouths in a disturbing, needy way).
                                                                                                                                                            And now you sell those STUPID giant, rubber, cupcake, (As Seen On TV!!!) cake "pans". My son is furious w/me for not buying one- thanks a lot, Stew!

                                                                                                                                                            P.S. I stuck close and eavesdropped on 2 guys in suits, who were taking copious notes and making comments like, "Note the use of double marketing techniques." --Referring to how Stews has many items marketed in more than one place in the store, often w/very different "sell by" dates, and refrigeration techniques. They bought nothing, but enlightened me re:marketing strategies. I wonder how often this happens in Stews?

                                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                              If they were wearing dark sunglasses, maybe they were Belushi and Aykroyd for a new film..."Stews Brothers."

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                Let's hope they can sing better! (than the automated animals, of course.).

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                <<The chickens still do not sing (they just open and close their mouths in a disturbing, needy way).>>

                                                                                                                                                                Hysterical!! Restore their voices, dammit, and while you're at it, Stew Crew, bring back the free cookie samples. I have no need for your rice cakes regardless of my amusement by the muted gunshot-like noise they make when they exit their maker. POOF!

                                                                                                                                                                Have I mentioned their store-made tortillas are a fave?

                                                                                                                                                                P.S. I have to look for the Turkey Whistle video...no idea what that is.
                                                                                                                                                                P.P.S. Have you tried the pork or chicken dumplings yet from the Asian section (near the sushi)?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                  Since you brought it up, I hate the way the wandering duck seems to be forever trying to shake my hand, to spread all the germs accumulated from pawing children. Ecoli? H1N1? Who knows...All I know is, when I see the duck coming, I go the other way.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                    You mean you duck and run? :) I've not seen the duck. I'll be on the lookout!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                      I wear hearing aids if I want to hear stuff (like my students or good music or "House" episodes), although I can also read lips from, like, a mile away. Anyway, I was in the Norwalk Stews years ago (back when you could buy liquor IN THE STORE!)on a milk run w/o my aids in. Usually, I'm blessed w/amazing powers to detect motion, but I was so focused on that damn milk that I never noticed that the kids had gone silent. That cow-person nearly scared the living *heck* outta me! I mean, I screamed worthy of any b movie actress. Everybody was laughing w/me (at me?), even the cow. To this day, my kids still remind me about that stealthy cow.

                                                                                                                                                                      I shudder to even THINK about the possibility of a duck lurking...

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                      @ shark-attack: Since this store seems to TERRIFY you; perhaps it would be best if you stayed away in order to avoid the fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and h191 spreading ducks that all live/wander/are about to occur at Stews.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                    Today's visit to Stew's. Tried the chicken & corn soup they were offering as samples just inside the door. Very creamy! We took a quart home.

                                                                                                                                                                    Stopped to watch the "Turkey Whistle" video. Funny to see the one turkey who kept pecking at Stew Leonard Jr.'s backside. Too bad their naked turkey can only be purchased as a whole. We bought a breast, but it's not the naked kind...it's Shady Brook.

                                                                                                                                                                    Chickens still eerily silent. I think with the holiday season upon us, they're more nervous than usual. Poor things.

                                                                                                                                                                    Picked up some alcoholic eggnog at Stew's Wines: Pennsylvania Dutch made with real dairy cream, rum, brand and blended whisky. Am sipping it as I type. Mmmmmmmmm! Not thick like Hood, but extremely tasty, and, hey, already liquored up. What more could one ask for for $9.99? It really is quite nice!

                                                                                                                                                                    Picked up Stew's Organic Chicken Stock to use later in tortilla soup. Will report back later to let you know how it was.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                      Thumbs up on Stew's Organic Chicken Stock! It made a mighty fine tortilla soup. I used Stew's chicken & spinach sausage instead of chicken in the soup and very much enjoyed the depth of flavor! Cheers to you, silent chickens!

                                                                                                                                                                      Only thumbs down for me, I should've held out for Ugly tomatoes at Stop & Shop. Stew's herbicide-free hothouse tomatoes were horrible...but what was I expecting at this time of year? I will stick to Uglies from now on. My fault.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanksgiving

                                                                                                                                                                        Stew's free-ranger, right around a ten pound bird brined nicely dried and into a nice hot oven.

                                                                                                                                                                        I made my own turkey stock this week with parts from Shop Rite, a store I don't usually buy meat from but which is great for a lot of other stuff, and used it to create a really nice gravy, which is kind of essential I believe. If you know another way to get great gravy, lemme know.

                                                                                                                                                                        The bird was really really nice. It's turkey, so it's ........turkey.
                                                                                                                                                                        It 'aint prime rib, it's turkey, but I had a great meal and a really nice time. Served the Alto Moncayo 07 Granache 25 smackers at Zachy's, a really really great Spanish.

                                                                                                                                                                        Is anyone going shopping at 4 am?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                          Glad to see you gave Stew's turkey a try. Have to ask if you found it gamey? I tried Whole Foods Free Range (which seems to be the same turkey Stew's was selling, but at $0.70 less per pound), and although pre-warned by other posters, found the gaminess alittle off-putting. Is there a brine you know of to tame the gaminess? Will say the shopping experience at Whole Foods Westport was 1000% better than Stews on a holiday. Pre-order, check in at the "holiday table" near the front door, shop for last minute items, they call you when your turkey is ready, and you cary it away in a free eco-friendly reusable bag. Their produce is also 1000% better, no rat's maze or H1N1 carrying wandering theme characters.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jadelise

                                                                                                                                                                            We had the Whole Foods Free Range- it was terrific! Juicy, tasty, and easy to cook. Just wish they had omitted the "temp" button thing. I threw it away, but it had punctured the meat. Such a great bargain!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I had thought they discontinued one of my favorite salad dressings; however, they still carry it, just in a different area. They were sampling it today so I couldn't miss it: Cindy's Kitchen Raspberry Nectar Vinaigrette. YUM!

                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, and I'm happy to report the Newington chickens are singing again--holiday tunes, of course!

                                                                                                                                                                      Am I the only one who likes the new (I think new?) chicken and corn soup? So tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the recommendation! That chicken and corn chowder is terrific.

                                                                                                                                                                        Skip the clam and chicken pot pie chowder (I swear, I'm not the one who bought it and brought it to my house!).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                          It is pretty good, but I'm partial to the split-pea soup. You can eat it up in the "restaurant" watching down on all the "action". Quite a show! Glad to hear the chickens are back to doing what they do best. I am craving a Stew's vanilla soft-serve and will visit this week to check out the Christmas vibe and trees. And the Snuggies (a top Christmas item, I hear (sadly).).

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Annual pilgrimage to Stews for the tree!

                                                                                                                                                                          We chose a 7 foot balsam fir that is perfect-and such a bargain at $35.00! The needles are fresh, it smells great, they trimmed the bottom, put it on the roof rack and we were out of there in like 20 minutes! I did get (sort of) suckered into buying some "magic" tree saver stuff that comes in a milk carton (2/$5.00!). The lady behind us raved and raved about it 'till I caved and bought some. The tree likes it, but I have no idea what it is-there is literally no ingrediants on the label. Nothing. Odd.

                                                                                                                                                                          They don't sell dog Snuggies, yet. The birds were chirping. The produce was a disaster, as usual. Business as usual in (Newington) Stew Land.

                                                                                                                                                                          21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                            That's funny. If they told you what was in the "magic" tree saver, they'd have to kill you. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                            No eggnog samples yet? Did you get the alkie eggnog in the wine store? Mmmmmmmmm! Only a couple of weeks to go till all this holiday temptation is out of our way!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                              @ stuck ... I'm still laughing to myself over that 'stealthy'
                                                                                                                                                                              bovine encounter you mentioned upthread. Ha ! Thanks for that.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                                                                                                                I bought my tree at Stews also, paid $35, happy. I also used to refill my propane at Stews before I switched back to charcoal.

                                                                                                                                                                                Want to hear a funny thing, BTW? The real reason the "little farm" is still at the Norwalk location has something to do with a long-ago promise to someone or other, I forget whom, to always maintain the farm. So even though there are few animals there, and even though they really need the space for cars, the little farm remains. And while there may be a fact or two that I have missed, (such as all the details), that is the essence of it. Then, or course, in new locations where there's plenty of space they have, I think, duplicated the "little farm" concept.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                  What a nice story on the animal farm.

                                                                                                                                                                                  No matter what Mr. Leonard did and how he runs his place, it is still unique in all of NY, and I am grateful to him for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't know that! Now I have to find out the details-there's no "farm" in Newington. About 13 years ago, we went to a birthday party @ Stews. The kids got to make pizza in the actual store kitchen! Then they went on a real "behind-the-scenes" tour. Then they got to feed the animals and had a nice party. Times change, and they don't let kids make the food now, nor do they let them feed the animals or tour the kitchens. Too bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                      When I was little, which was a looong time ago, they kept a brown pony, a calf and goats at the Norwalk farm setup. I hung out there while my mom shopped (in the very small by today's standards) store.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I bet the kitchen tours are no more because of insurance costs or health department regs. Which is a bummer, because that sounds really fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: harrie

                                                                                                                                                                                        O.M.G. You were little when the Stews opened? I think I just had my first senior moment. It wasn't pretty. *groan*

                                                                                                                                                                                        OK. It's interesting to hear from "grown-up" Stew kids. I'm dying to know what you liked the best. Spill, Harrie!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                    We used to get out tree at Stu's, but we found that it was impossible to tell if you were buying a really nice tree or not. They have the trees all bundled, and even if they remove the plastic webbing, there is no way to jude the tree since it remain tightly furled. We would have to put the tree up and let it sit for a day before we knew what the tree was like. We now go to Liebs, a nursery in Eastchester, that has all of the trees unfurled and standing upright. It is such a great way to decide which tree to get.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                      I will agree that buying a tree at Stew's may not be the most pleasant holiday experience; cutting your own would be more "Christmassy"...

                                                                                                                                                                                      I am writing to report that yesterday, for no good reason at all, on the first day of the sale, I bought and roasted one of the on-sale rib roasts, a small one from the better end of the ribs, cooked properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                      In fairness, this was not the Black Angus beef, it was not prime, was not aged at all and was not really very well marbled. As you can imagine, the results were far short of spectacular. In fact, although the outside pieces were nicely burnt and flavorful and even better marbled, I found that the rib-eye portion was completely flavorless, completely tough and undesirable, and I was really very disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ok, so it's 2 days after Christmas, allow me an observation or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Christmas really IS magic; it's annoying relatives, contrary to popular lore, who make you want to fly to the Bahamas and skip the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I bought a "naked" rib roast 15 bucks per pound, roasted it rare, rested it well and served. Although the process of buying the roast was extremely challenging (just getting into a parking spot at Stews is enough to make you want to give up and start celebrating Kwaanza) when it was served it was PERFECT. Meaning, the flavor was SO beefy good, the marbling more than adequate for it's grade. These nakeds, the good ones anyway, are kind a cross between choice and prime, for the most part, depending on which one you select), and are LOADED with the true, fantastic, steakhousey flavor we all love come Christmastime. Now if I could have found my popover pan I would have really been in business.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                          Glad to hear your feedback on the naked rib roast, sharkie. Though, I have to tell you, I'm sure your second sentence nailed it for more people you'll ever know. Happy New Year, guy!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                            Second that. Bought a naked roast a Stews at 3:30 pm Dec. 24th ("annoying relatives" situation causing last minute change in plans...don't ask). Found most of what we wanted, thank goodness, and the meal was wonderful. Even if I had to host at the last minute. We actually took the whole "gang" there to choose their favorite side dish and the ingredients needed to make them. We forgave Stews for the lousy condition of the "herbs", b/c we really needed them. The atmosphere was nicely festive (no parking problems in Newington!) and the staff were all going "have a nice holiday..." and all that to each other as they left the store. It was nice. Happy holidays, Stews and Stew lovers/haters!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                              What is a 'naked rib roast'?

                                                                                                                                                                                              It sounds like a trip to Stew's in 2010 is warranted from the description of this hunk of meat!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: anonymouse1935

                                                                                                                                                                                                "Naked beef" is Stew's name for the beef produced from the cattle ranches he owns in the MidWest-there is a video explaining the whole "Naked" concept in the Newington store (and presumably in the others as well). For all the fun I've made of Stews, the naked beef is actually really good. And really expensive, so budget accordingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                We just took the out-of-town-kiddos yesterday. They loved the store! The produce was somewhat better, but they ought to fire the produce manager. The naked tri-tips were a hit w/the kids last nite. The automatronic chickens still cluck for their feeding, but mother bird continues to withold those delicious looking worms. She clearly needs help, PRONTO! And where's Twinkie The Kid? Maybe I'm confusing Newington w/Danbury. I had the kids all psyched for the Twinkie The Kid thing. It's probably the single best fraternity/senior prank-in-waiting in the entire world. Can you imagine that thing on the frat's front lawn popping up and shouting, "HI, I'M TWINKIE THE KID!!!" in that silly fake "Texan accent"?! It's only a matter of time...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks, stuck. After the crowds die down, this sounds like a must-try item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, we don't have Twinkie the Kid in Newington...but I don't think the FFD county store has Miss Diva Cheese!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Happy (early) New Years, Katty! Thanks for the info-next time I'll not push specifics. Miss Diva Cheese is an inferior substitution for the Norwalk "Country Bear Jamboree", but the kids loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                        HA HA HA, a very Happy New Year to you, too, my happy face friend...and to ALL the Stew lovers and haters on this thread! Keep up the good recommendations (and animatronic intel) in the year to come. This was one of my favorite threads this year. Cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whoa! Does Stews sell Tri-Tip? As in real tri tip? Or was it steak tips? That would be a massive awesome find. As far as I've found the ONLY place you can get tri tip roasts in the Northeast is from Trader Joes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, but the tips were really just steak tips. The kids enjoyed them. The adults had the Long Island Duck (although WHERE in L.I. they were actually from was not indicated on the package. Typical, Stews.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                          bummer. You almost made my week. Almost. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Just made my annual Stew's New Year's Eve supply pilgrimage yesterday- for the $7.99 King Crab legs, natch! Alas, I still had to go to the Fresh Market and Stop and Shop- saw the same size KC legs at S & S for $16.99.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't tell anyone, but I sure am enjoying the zebra-striped Snuggie I got for Christmas!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JenJeninCT

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah Jen! Snuggie high five!
                                                                                                                                                                                            Hope everyone has a happy & healthy new year!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Now that CT is on one Board, keeping up w/Stew's News is EASIER! Just wanted to post that the condition of the Newington, CT Stew's produce section was MUCH IMPROVED! We visited before vacation last week, and the produce looked pretty good- and that's a HUGE improvement over the persistent sorry state of that section of the store for the past year.

                                                                                                                                                                                            And the chickens are all clucking, now!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. By now, you've figured out I like Stew's for certain things and actually get a kick out of shopping there. But I did notice something strange the last time I shopped there, so I'll share.

                                                                                                                                                                                              My plan was to make chicken tikka masala and, since we were already on the Pike, I thought why not get the ingredients I need at Stew's? Specifically, I needed one serrano pepper (they don't have them, so I bought a jalapeno), some fresh ginger, heavy cream and whole milk yogurt. I thought it would be nice to buy the yogurt and cream there since they make their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, what kind of food police are afoot--there is only lowfat and nonfat yogurt...where does the fat go? Is it banished from the store? They don't have any issue selling heavy cream or butter or bacon. What gives?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, as you also know, it's near impossible to make Stew's a one-stop grocery shop as, inevitably, there'll be something on your list they just don't have...but I thought the yogurt issue was an odd one. Thankfully, "regular" supermarkets (in this case, Big Y) happily carry whole milk yogurt, so that's where we ended up instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                i thought they carried Yo Baby, which is a whole milk yogurt. They do have the Greek style, also, but i think it's 2% or something. It's so frustrating to have to p/u one ingredient elsewhere. Hope your meal was good. We're making hamburgers w/Stew's chuck that my son and I ground by ourselves in the food processor. It looks great, but we haven't cooked them yet...Go Saints!

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I'm sorry but this is funny. Buying prepared Chinese food from a grocery store and then surprised that it sucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I go to Stews for the produce and dairy, especially the variety of cheeses. Knowing what a store is good for and then using it only for that purpose saves time and pain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                BTW great prime meats are at Butcher's Best Market in Newtown and Prime Meats in Greenwich. Expensive but then it PRIME.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: claregirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "I'm sorry but this is funny. Buying prepared Chinese food from a grocery store and then surprised that it sucks." YES! Agree with you totally. On all your points (what it's good for and what it isn't).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  FWIW, I really like the prime meats at Crisfield's meat market in Rye too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. coffee beans.....they roast every 24 hours and have some of the best light roast flavored beans I've found
                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. pizza slices.....they're good, albeit greasy
                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. fresh baked bread varieties.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. that fig spread from Croatia...pair it with hard cheddar and good red wine

                                                                                                                                                                                                    a lot of Stu's is just common sense....avoid the pre-made dishes that you can tell are made from the different recycled components of other things in the store

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the buffalo bleu chicken patties. Have you tried them? Sooooooooooooo good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Was back in Stews again last week. I cannot get the produce problems out of my mind. How in the world do they keep the produce properly hydrated and cooled when they are just stacked on those wooden display shelves (things...whatever). Unlike the grocery store (where veggies are misted and kept cool), Stew veggies just sit out and wilt. To make matters worse, there always seems to be an employee throwing out ___________ (insert veggie) whenever I need ___________ (insert same veggie). What does it mean? The ___________ are no good (and we're throwing them out) but you can buy ___________ anyway (if you need it THAT BADLY, you sucker!!!). Why don't they just invest in some sort of "country charming" style veggie cooler/shelves to keep the stuff fresh?! They don't even put the cut asparagus in water. Or the "fresh" herbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yet I find myself strangely drawn to the store every few months...I think it's the intoxicating 1/2 pina colata/1/2 berry smoothie from heaven they now sell near those smelly donuts. Rum (in the liquor area only a few feet away!) screams to be married with this smoothie...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    But that would just be wrong. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                      LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      stuck in Hartford County grabs a nip of rum in SL Wines and makes her way to the smoothie stand. Carefully looking over each shoulder, she discreetly spikes her smoothie, then finds herself dancing her way through the maze of aisles singing along with The Chiquita Banana, chickens and MISS DIVA CHEEEESE! I have to look for the smoothies--how did I miss that? :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ha Ha Ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        uh...
                                                                                                                                                                                                        the animals ARE singing?
                                                                                                                                                                                                        and dancing?
                                                                                                                                                                                                        and communicating with us?
                                                                                                                                                                                                        RIGHT?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Insert hanging head...jfood broke and went to Stews for some food for dinner last night. He was in SONO and it was late so his regular grocer was closed, so he wandered over. There were few children but the adults all acted as if they had never been out alone, OMG...staring pointing, walking sloooowly five abreast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jfood bought a Naked beef strip and 3/4 pound of sea scallops.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      First the good news...the price of the milk is still great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now the rest. The steak was as tough as shoe leathe, but did have some nice flavor. The scallops were completely water logged and you know what that tells you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As he wandered around he saw the prices were higher than Greenwich Produce, go figure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just do not understand what draws people here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Just do not understand what draws people here."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        milk, butter, cream, repeat. And not just the cost. The quality of it. And the ability to actually get a full grocery shopping session in with 5 kids under 8 in tow is another strong reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, and did I mention the milk?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the meat... it's no worse than shop rite or stop & shop. In fact, it's a touch higher quality. Not prime. Not as good as higher quality meat markets. But not crap if you look for some decent marbling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        So, if my choice is 1) Stop & Shop or 2) Stews. I'll usually go for Stews because the milk is MUCH better (and we consume 5-8 gallons a week) and the meat is often better. Produce... well... that's a competely mixed bag on both fronts. Sadly, ever since Greenwich Produce dropped the Greenwich location, Grand Central Terminal is as close as I ever come to the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Grand Central Cafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                        76 Quinnipiac St, Wallingford, CT 06492

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                          yeah the dairy...maybe that's why they are in Guiness...worlds largest dairy store. once you make that left turn from the dairy it is all downhill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          here's a hint for your produce & meats since jfood thinks you live in STM. Take the Merritt to X38 rt 123. drive 1 mile over the border to NY and there is still a Greenwich produce (nice bagel place as well.). The head south and as soon as you cross over the border make a right on Puddin' Hill Road. Take across to the stop sign (1.5 milkes) to route 124 and make a right. 1.5 miles on thye right is Scotts Corner Market. Then you can cut across the reservoir to High Ridge or back down 124 to the Merritt. Better & cheaper than SL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                            yeah, I'm in Stamford, not far from the bulls head area. I just never happen to be going way up high ridge that direction. About as for north of the Merritt I go is to Lakeside Diner. about 100 yards away. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But... I did drive through Scotts Corner about a month ago... and wanted to stop in. But was Sunday, alas...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Are the Grand Central Terminal prices of Greenwich Produce the same as they are up in pound ridge/scotts corner/south salem or wherever it is? I'm at GCT few times a week... I just hate carrying bags home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cannot compare to GCT. Some items are more at GP than SCM, i.e. strawberries. likewise Scotts has weekly beef specials, last week was rib-eyes for $5.99/lb, can;t beat that, this week flank steak at 5.99. Checkout their brochure on line. great people, for produce ask the balding guy there for help..really good guy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              www.scottscornermarket.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've been buying my milk from SS&S b/c they carry CT Cow products (eggs/milk/juices). Milk from CT farms, yay! Whole Foods sells milk from a farm in Litchfield for less then all the other brands. So, once again, yay for CT milk! And eggs! I also like the butter SS&S has from VT callled Kate's. It's terrific, and kinda local. So I don't buy Stew's dairy stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do go to SL for an interesting break from my norm (SS&S/farm markets/gourmet markets), and to laugh at the tackiness of it all. I can't even blame this behavior on my kids, who are teens, now. Over the years, I've found so much to laugh at there, and purchased some really good food and treats. I even met Paul Newman in the Norwalk store, years ago, extolling the virtues of his "new" salad dressing. Pretty cool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                              To be fair, Stew's cows live in Ellington, CT so that's a CT farm, too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.stewleonards.com/news/dair...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I buy milk from a dairy farm directly, so I'm not a huge Stew fan - in fact, haven't been there in a few months. And I hear you on the tacky factor - my old-enough-to-know-better husband has to pull the rope or push the button on every display he sees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is that Litchfield milk at your Whole Foods (my WF doesn't carry any Litchfield milk!) from Arethusa Farm? And did you know that farm is owned by the Manolo Blahnik guys? Just a trivia note....
                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do prefer CT Cow to Hood and other generic or mega brands found in Supermarkets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                BUT, I personally far prefer Stews milk over CT Cow. As Harrie mentioned, Stews cows are all local too. but the bigger benefit in my mind is that the milk is about 1/2 the price of the CT Cow products. Oh, and I think it tastes better. Add that to the fact that the other dairy products are awesome too (Stew's cream is just pasteurized, not ultra pasteurized, and the larger cream container is a full 42% butterfat... and just smell Stew's unsalted butter. Makes you want to take a bite). OK, enough waxing poetic about dairy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I went to Stews today and surmised that they're not selling enough of the crappy, no good for you and generally just plain not good baked goods, right out of Bethy's bakery (If that woman ever actually put flour to butter to pan into oven personally then it's news to me. I have never once seen her in "her" bakery, more of Stews B.S IMO, but anyway...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you know what they've done? They've positioned the baked goods so that you actually walk right into them. This is a retailing tactic I've seen used in a lot of places.....Go to Renovation Hardware for another aggregious example. But quite literally, you can no longer even enter the Norwalk store. For real. It's nutso. Now call me a contrarian, but that kind of B.S. doesn't work with me. I will not buy something that almost just broke my leg:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a page from the "People are a Herd of Mindless Morons" book, one that Stew refers to a bit too often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the funniest/most annoying things about the Norwalk SL's are the narrow aisles. It cracks me up/enrages me to see the very same nannies/mommies who can't park their huge SUV's (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!) navigate their huge carts thru those tiny aisles. And just like they take up 1 1/2 or 2 parking spaces, they shove those carts wherever they want to and block the shelves from anybody else until they have chosen the MOST PERFECT apple. Or they abandon the cart in the middle of the aisle, thereby blocking passage on both sides.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Stews is aware of this problem and has, apparently, tried to enlarge the aisles (the Newington and Danbury stores have wider aisles). Better yet, they should have employees give out rude cart driving "tickets" and charge them $20 for blocking an aisle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It was interesting to find out that that Stews cows are really CT cows- I didn't know that! Yes, the Litchfield milk is from Arethusa farms. Didn't know about the Manolo connection. I don't own a single one of those shoes b/c they're too expensive and way too high-heeled (not practical for a teacher!). Very interesting, why a dairy farm in CT? I feel so...idk...manipulated?...by the farming industry. Just when I think I've found a really nice farm product I feel good about buying, I find out I've been mislead or outright lied to. I'm convinced that CONAGRA actually runs our country. It's not a good feeling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: stuck in Hartford County

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Stuck, check out Matt Damon in "The Informant" on DVD.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Based on the shinangans of AMD in the 90's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      shark - I'm not sure I know what you are talking about. You've always passed the baked goods at Stews. It's just a bigger section now. When I go to Trader Joes, I HAVE to pass through the big floral section at the entrance... darn them. is that different? And when I go through the entrance at Costco, I HAVE to go past the flat screen TVs. Totally lame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree that Stew's bakery is pretty poor, but the fact I have to pass by them doesn't annoy me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess my point with all of this is... Stews has some crappy products, and some really good ones. go for what it's good for. But if the layout is frustrating, thankfully there are lots of other options around. I just don't get the angst.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      BTW, Stuck in Hartford, you'll be pleased to know that, for the Norwalk renovation has helped widen a lot of the aisles. That said, it still has annoying bottlenecks, but there's been some definite improvement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        AC,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Go back and check out what I'm talking about re: the baked goods presentation, it only happened a day or 2 ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Before we moved to the CT river valley we visited SL on many occasions, usually for dairy products, and never had any problems, though I understand others may have.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, I happened to be going past their Norwalk store yesterday and stopped in to check out their cheese department. Found a pretty good Brie (I think it was called Baby Belletoile or something similar) for $4.53 a pound. Try and find that price in your local supermarket!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DonShirer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Adamclyde makes excellent points....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                To add my own take on the Stew's experience....The Hammurabi-like carved stone visible upon entry stating that "The Customer Is Always Right" is an expression of unabashed Orwellianism, one right up there with "All Animals are Equal", and of course who can forget that farm favorite, "Four Legs Good, Two legs bad"! No, not THAT farm. Keep your lawyer on his leash:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Stew looks upon his customers as being dupes to be fooled, if possible, but the reality of the market interferes with Stew's ultimate vison... And so, because many people but by no means all actually have taste buds and also possess a hazy, vestigal memory of the days, mostly bygone when food tasted like food, and just about any pork, chicken or beef that you bought, back in the 1970's and before tasted good for the most part....And for that reason, Stew does have SOME good meat. It is for the greatest part referred to as Naked Beef, although certainly not every piece of which is good but as adamclyde said you gotta be selective. I have not found a negative correlation between price and quality; in fact some of the best steaks are the ones they get a lot of and put on sale, particularly the Naked porterhouses and strips, when, and this is the key, when the quality is right, which is not consistent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do not know, as I have asked before, why they don't just "right price" everything and sell the same good stuff always, but hey.....It's their store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And don't miss my point...The Naked beef CAN be exceptional, much better than most supermarkets by far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And do any of you remember the way pork chops used to taste back in 1973?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                They were AWESOME. Now pork tastes like nothing most of the time. And chicken? Don't get me started.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I LOVE their new buffalo chicken salad. Just picked up another container of it today. Sooooooo tasty! And those cute little "petite toasts"--well, now you can have 'em white OR wheat...2 for 5 dolla!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Did I already mention the (relatively) new jumbo lump crabcakes they're selling are mighty fine, too? They were sampling 'em a month or so ago when they were new.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I stopped in Thursday to pick up a couple of Porterhouse steaks which were on sale for 4.99 lb. Tried a sample of the buffalo chicken salad for the first time. It was very good, have to pick some up next time I go. The steaks were also good. You just have to search for the ones without the tenderloin removed. I don't know how they can remove them and still call it a porterhouse. Isn't it a t-bone with the tenderloin removed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hotwing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No a Tbone has a larger sirloin and a Porterhouse has a larger filet. Both have some of each.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the info coll. What I meant was that many of the porterhouses in the meat case have no fillet at all. I don't know why some of the steaks have the fillet totally removed and others have a large fillet still attached. But they still sell both as porterhouse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hotwing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would mention it to them, that's false labeling. Porterhouse vs Tbone, you can get away with, although I often see it labeled as "porterhouse/tbone" so you have to examine it yourself. It all comes from the same subprimal, each end is proportioned opposite of the other. But both ends have an edible portion of each.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Now that you mention it, sometimes at grocery stores, I've noticed there is a filet but you need a microscope to see it. Maybe the butchers have it for lunch ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Has the new Whole Foods in Darien had any impact on Stew's?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't shop at Stew's but I do shop at Grade A in Stamford, or at least I used to. My wife has taken over the Saturday shopping duties so she can shop at Whole Foods. I still buy the mundane stuff at Grade A but I have to say that traffic appears to be way down there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What have you observed?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Having suffered many indignities at this store, including veal scallopini so old and smelly that I had to bring it back AFTER cooking some of it, including on-sale strip steaks with a consistency, when ground up into hamburger of soft red mush, and today, when I went there they didn't have any of the Amish chickens, whole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However, here ARE 2 of the treats awaiting you at Stews this week...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Limes from Mexico for 50 cents each.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Garlic from Mexico for $2.99 per pound.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Considering that many of us depend on this store, and considering that Stew and his old man live like the kings Farouk, I think a little responsibility on their part is long overdue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cmon Stew....Give us a break!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What do you depend on this store for? Aren't there any other options for you? Given how many problems you have with it, I'm surprised that you would spend a dime there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is this really your only option? I got limes this week 5 for $1. Which means there should be some place near you with the same. I think we're both in the same radius of Hunts Point?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Blood tests are now a matter of pass or fail? Geez, that's rough!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But what I really wanted to mention is that I get uber-fresh, locally raised, free range, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken direct from the farmer for $3 a pound. Sure, it's a whole chicken that I have to cut up, but that's, what, 5 minutes of work. There are options; you don't have to pay the supermarket markup. If you choose to buy your produce from local farmers, any xenophobic issues might also be eased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My chickens come from Shelton and Orange, not too far from Westport. You may have options even closer to you. Stone Gardens (in Shelton, one of my chicken sources) supplies a number of Westport restaurants, including Le Farm, The Boathouse and The Dressing Room.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://06880danwoog.com/2010/08/23/rs...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bottom line: You have options. You don't have to go to Stew's. You don't even have to go to Whole Foods or Fresh Market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dressing Room
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          27 Powers Court, Westport, CT 06880

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: harrie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Interesting stuff Harrie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I will take a drive to Shelton:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shark_attack

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you're going for chicken, call or e-mail first. Birds are by pre-order, and they slaughter on Friday morning. The current price is $3.50 - it varies at times. Sometimes the Stone Garden chickens run a little small. But they're delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.stonegardensfarm.com/index...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At Cedar Hill Farm (the place in Orange), the birds are $3/llb, and at my last purchase, they ran from about 4-7 pounds. Very, very tasty bird. These are also pre-order also - 203-795-4531 or email sbespuda at optimum dot net to order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: harrie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I guess it's the old story of wanting what you can't have as it relates to Stew's. For us in the New Haven area, we think Stew's is Nirvana, and because of some imbeciles in Orange (a town that willingly accepts adult stores on Rt 1 but would not accept Stew's right off an I-95 exit!), it is a treat for us when we can get down to Norwalk. I agree that not everything is as good as it could be, but when they run specials on things like whole tenderloins, skirt steaks, lobsters, plus a lot of their other products, we have nothing that compares in the New Haven area.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know....Whole Foods has opened in Orange, but frankly, I have found it to be way overpriced on many items and not uniformly high quality. For years, I have gladly paid high prices for the absolute best seafood at Number 1 in Hamden, and when I first visited WF, virtually all of the prices were at least 10 - 20% higher for quality that was certainly above average, but definitely no better than Number 1.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                When you are pretty much forced to shop either at Stop and Shop (yech!) or Shop Rite (or get a second job to afford WF!), Stew's looks better and better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Shop Rite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1990 W Main St, Stamford, CT 06902

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lsnhc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm sort of in the New Haven area too, and have followed the Stew's/Orange story for years, wishing and hoping the store would happen. I grew up in Westport so knew all about Stews's -- a high school friend paid her own way through college working there, in fact - and for years made the schlepp down to Norwalk at 6:30 Saturday mornings. Most of the appeal was the inexpensive but good quality dairy, the fish, and the occasional whole tenderloin or other hunk of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the last year or two, we found a great local fishmonger whose merchandise has never disappointed; and since then, we have hardly made the Stew's pilgrimmage. I don't have anything against Stew's and have defended them earlier on this thread. We may go there again, if something makes getting up at 5:30-6am on a Saturday worthwhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Basically, though, I can't figure out why shark_attack hates Stew's yet keeps on going there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lsnhc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hear you. Now that I have moved to the West Coast, I would KILL for a Stews. I can't find milk anywhere out here that tastes even remotely as good. Be happy for what you have...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      adamclyde-- Don't know what town you're in, but is there a Hows near you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.howsmarkets.com/Locations.htm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      less evil than Gelson's and Ralphs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Adam - How will the yellow truck survive without you? (Or did you move them to California with you???)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And to stay on topic: I agree with Harrie - after following this thread for what seems like forever, I can only surmise that sharkattack is a glutton for punishment. (Who said that the definition of insanity was continuing to do something that wasn't working?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We passed Stew's on Federal Road today while on a back-to-school shopping trip. The hungrykids pointed out that we hadn't been there in ages, to which we replied, "Thank G-d!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hungrykids

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Albert Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well said hungrykids!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I went to Stewie's last week because I have an obsession with their poppy sesame flagels...they didn't have any and I was very sad. I didn't even see any signs for them and wonder if they've stopped making them. Boohoo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sibeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jfood has kicked the urge. three weeks ago walked through the store with his basket, lookled at items, saw the quality of the veggies not up to Greenwich produce, saw the meat was less quality and more expensive than scotts and left an empty carriage right before the check out. Yesterday drove right by it on the way to Pennzy's and even the high def sign did not sway him into the lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And as empty nesters the milk is not as important any longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              jfood, did you get anything new and interesting at Penzey's? I haven't made the pilgrimage in far too long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wookiedoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                nah, pretty boring, just a refill run. garlic, pepper, salt, shallot pepper. he was looking for a Morrocan, Indian or a Mid-eastern blend if they made it, but they do not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hmm, any of those additions would be good, I'd expect. I enjoy the shallot pepper blend. But I really need to go back for more Fox Point blend, Chicago steak house and... oh, Paris something or other. It's been too long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wookiedoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sunny Paris--one of my favorites!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      what do you guys put the foxpoint and sunny paris on?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      new like is florida pepper, but be careful since pepper should be in CAPS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My fave use of Sunny Paris is on cheesy eggs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Am also a big fan of California Seasoned Pepper. I'll hafta see what makes Florida different from California...as regards pepper, anyway! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          both have pepper, cali has red and green peppers and florida has lemon and lime zest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Likewise use Sunny Paris in omelets and we just ran out, and we have eggs every day. But I have to send away for my Penzey's and don't really know anything else to order to come up with the free shipping. (sorry to be staying off topic here). Maybe I should start a new one. Any suggestions?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: junescook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes! Did you not know they have storefronts in both Norwalk and West Hartford center? Take a little road trip! :) While you're there, don't forget to pick up vanilla or almond extract if you're running low.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            jfood, I put it in everything from eggs (as noted by the kat) to stews to chicken with dumplings. Can't go wrong; it's all-purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              stew's milk really tastes better?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i always thought that was a myth

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              was there the other day

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              got excellent prices at the deli but of course steer clear of anything that isnt on sale you will pay above and beyond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bloo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No myth. Their milk is wonderful.... Miss it greatly...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I knew that Happy California Cows ad campaign was a crock!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: harrie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    and the pink elephant in the room question...is adamclyde now officially a duuuuuude? :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I find the meats at Stews to be terrible. Good for dairy only!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. In the latest Fairfield County Business Journal, cover story about Stewies vs Fairway -- which is slated to open first week in November. Thrust of the piece is that Stewies faces strong competition from Fairway and recent improvements have been made in anticipation. The most telling comparison is that Fairway carries 80,000 different items, Stewies only 2,000. Stews tries to make this a virtue (we "can focus all our resources) but unlike Fairway, Stewies is not one stop shopping. Fairway should blow away Shippan Grade A, though maybe it will force the Cingari family to makeover the store to the quality of their Commerce Park location. I anticipate Fairway will up the game throughout Fairfield Cty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: louuuuu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I realize that I'm replying to an old thread but is it just me or have Stews prices LEAPT up recently? Not many competitive prices left here other then for meat. I'll stick to S+S and others for whatever I can purchase there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Every visit to Stew Leonard's is a disappointment. It's convenient to my home in Norwalk CT and I have to train myself to remember that one should shop there ONLY for specific items. It is not a grocery store. It is a frustrating shopping experience largely because it's maze of a layout does not offer a full list of grocery store items. EG. Today I went there because they really do have the best bagels in the area. My mistake was I went late in the day and while they had bagels they did not have a full selection and so I made do with 5 of the poppy & sesame variety. Next I enjoy their "Made Fresh Daily" Tuna Fish Salad. I had 3 containers to choose from and that felt somewhat disheartening. But then I remember I needed red wine vinegar. so the search began. 3 employees were queried, none knew where it would be and only the third declared "We don;t have it." And they did not. Their prices for staple like milk are very good, but a package of Hebre National Beef Franks was marked $5.99! Stop and shop often promotes this item at 2 for $6!. Their cheese and their bacon is overpriced. Their meat and fish are excellent though and so now I have promised myself I will only: Go in the AM. Only for Bagels, Tuna Fish, Milk, Meat and Fish. For all other goods I require to cook, my first choice is Trader Joe's and in an emergency Stop and Shop. Stew Leonards is a marketing phenomenon and there is no chance of acquiring all necessary items necessary in the kitchen. And for get the aspect of bargain pricing. some items (eg.milk) are well priced, but the rest of what they have is easily 10 - 20% than any grocery store and 30% higher than Trader Joe's. Stew's is a bummer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. "Here is jfood's current assessment

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - He HATES the pricing policy. 2 for $4, but if you only buy 1 it is $2.59. (Jfood also hates the buy one and get the second at 50% off that other stores use. Price the products for individual sale)."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is a tactic stores use to sell more product off their shelves when they are pressed for time - usually the directive of a manufacturer who has more than enough product sitting in their warehouse and wants the retailer to sell it off quickly (so they give the retailer a better profit margin if they move the product quickly). They are not interested in selling the product singularly, but by quantity. They would rather sell 6 of the items to one customer (at a Buy One - Get One at 50% off) than sell one to one customer at half price. If ten customers stocked up and bought 6 items each in a half hour, they just cleared 60 off the shelf in 30 minutes, rather than just 10 if they priced it for individual sales.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I used to own a store which sold a 'famous line' of women's handbags. The manufacturer would always give us retailers an incentive on our next order if we took in some 'dead stock' out of their warehouse and priced it to move ( 2 for $149 or $90 each...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Wow this is a trip down memory lane... Shark Attack, Jfood, Adamclide, Louuuuu, Amanda....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are missed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stamfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          stumbled on this. And I miss Stew Leonards! The weather (and mexican) is better here in southern CA, but I miss my CT dairy store!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But now you have Disneyland, adamclyde. You can have a big glass of milk or an ice cream and pretend. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: adamclyde

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi Adamclyde. We moved from Westchester to New Mexico. Yes, climate here is way better and Mex/New Mex food is beyond super-fantastic! Do miss Stew's but what we really pine for is Johnny's Pizza!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I'm a regular Stew Leonard's shopper in their Norwalk, CT store. They have some good stuff but buyer beware they are unscrupulous, unrepentant merchants! Stew Senior fell on his sword for the whole family doing a stretch in federal prison for tax evasion. When interviewed he wasn't apologetic, he only regretted that he got caught. The acorn apparently didn't fall far from the tree as Junior has a pretty bad reputation too. As Billy Martin, NY Yankee manager once said about Reggie Jackson & George Steinbrenner, "one's a born liar, the other a convicted one".