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Jul 1, 2009 06:26 AM

Stew 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 -->

            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


              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


                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?


                  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.