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Old world Food Market - Nyack - Any Opinions?

I've been here several times. Unfortunately, Im not impressed although I had hopeful expectations. I'm willing to elaborate, but Im curious what other people's impressions are.

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  1. I went a few weeks ago and had a middling experience. I tried to get some food from the prepared foods section in the middle of the store. I encountered and issue in that there were only 3 people working behind the counter. Now there were only 2 other people waiting to be served but the 1 of the people behind the counter was stuffing kale in between the plates in the case while the other 2 were plying the other customers with free samples. I think its great when deli guys offer to give you a sample but these guys were offering everything. I just kept thinking: "I want to BUY something, please help me".

    After a minute or 2 of making eye contact and waiting I went over to the hot bar and the food looked ok...a woman on the other side was frantically trying to get the attendants attention because the bbq chicken didn't have any utensils.

    Finally I settled on some prepared chickpea salad, and some mozz and tomato salad.
    The chickpea salad was under salted, but contained too much black pepper. The mozz/tomato was average.

    Biggest shocks are:

    -The place has a sushi bar.
    -The lighting is absolutely awful.

    Other than that I didn't stay to check out the groceries. Moving forward...I'll just go to the Iron Tomato in White Plains if I want any of this stuff. Similar concept, better execution.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rifkind81

      We loved this place for the prepared food (not expensive compared to the prices of comparable dishes at other gourmet places of this quality), the upscale, carefully selected stock, the many choices. Much thought has gone into creating this food store. We were hungry when we went and ended up with an overflowing basket of food items we couldn't resist taking home. It was fun. This was last Friday afternoon, and, btw, in case the proprietors read this, there were too many under-occupied employees. Which worries me, as I'd hate to lose this place. It fills a need in Rockland County. There's a little cafe-type area with tables you can sit at on the right as you enter. You choose from the cases I assume. Next time, we'll have a bite to eat there before we shop and will maybe have more self control! I wish Old World Food Store luck. There was a helpful, nice young woman named Diane behind the counter where we got [deliciously flavored] broiled tilapia. Otherwise, the employees seemed to be taking it pretty darned easy! Still, we'll go back, and back again.

      1. re: Yliane

        I went to this place on Saturday for the first time and have nothing but good things to say about it. It's the first place I've come across in Rockland that has the gourmet, European and organic products that I miss no longer living in the city. In particular: variety of teas, Looza juice, chocolate, superfresh hummus, local apples for 59 cents/pound. The hot food buffet looked appealing, but didn't try anything from it or the meat department which also looked nice. Didn't have any problems with the service --although there were only about 6 other shoppers in the store-- the lack of crowds was refreshing, but I hope it eventually grows in popularity. Like the last poster says, this place does a great job filling a void.

    2. I am ecstatic to see a market like this in Rockland County. They have opened in a really poisonous economy; I hope others will try them and be patient with them as they shake out the "bugs." I found the food of high quality (produce, packaged, fresh for eating); the staff did seem a little unfocused. I assumed that was because the volume of customers is still low. Fairway is too far for me; so I hope we can all support what is local instead of driving to the other side of the world for something a little better.

      1. I've shopped there a few times and my overall impression was good. The prices were better than I expected. I really liked their cheese selection and the few items I had from their bakery section were delicious. I haven't tried their prepared foods yet so I can't really say.

        I do agree that the lighting is absolutely HORRIBLE!
        I really hope they stick around.

        1. The lighting is atrocious and gives me a headache. Who picked that horrible yellow?

          The selection is wonderful with some items (you can find Plugra butter!) but horrible with others (doesn't even carry Stonyfield yogurt). The prices are random (sometimes 5$ for a jar of peanut butter). There is a severely lacking produce selection, with almost no organics. The signs are all mismatched, the lights in this section are harsh flourescent, and when I went last time they didn't have garlic. They don't carry hot peppers. Some of the produce is competitive, and some is old, like wrinkled parsnips.

          I haven't tried the prepared food station. I was happy to order a cornish hen from them, which was delicious. The fish station always smells fishy. They don't have bulk spices, but they have their own "store brand" spices in jars.

          They still aren't organized and prices will vary greatly between shelves (one shelf will have Bare Naked Granola at 2.49, the other at 3.49).

          It's another cute market in Nyack. Born of Earth, downtown, is better organized with competitive prices, more organics, and friendlier service. Looking forward to what the Chef's Market will be like: any idea on when that's opening?

          2 Replies
          1. re: passionate_sense

            The first time I visited last about 2 minutes because the lighting caused me to hallucinate. Since when do grocery stores/markets attempt to jazz up their ambience with alternative lighting? The quality of food at this place should speak for itself, but I am so disturbed by the lighting that I struggle to shop here.
            Secondly, I was attempting to purchase some "Jumbo Shrimp" last week and had to wait for 10 minutes although 2 workers were at the seafood station, one helping customers the other preparing foods for the following day. Eventually the woman ahead of me had finished and it was my turn, when I asked for "1lb of Jumbo shrimp" the sloppy, unshaven, uneducated worker replied, "oh they're frozen they'd have to sit out for a while". I wanted shrimp that night so I explained to him how you could run water to thaw out the shrimp. His response "oh but that will cook them", I said "no you don't need to use hot water but cold water also will defrost them".
            The quality of food here is really exceptional and I want to like this place. It has great potential but simply should replace the lighting and house knowledgeable/friendly staff.

            1. re: homegrown84

              I gave the OWM a second chance recently when I was hoping to surprise my better half with some cannoli. I ponied up to the pastry counter which also serves coffee. There was one girl working and one woman ahead of me ordering tea. The customer was chatting up a storm with the counter attendant. The process of making tea for this lady lasted about 4 minutes while the counter attendant described in depth her plans to travel to Europe and proceeded to put too much honey in the tea.

              While I was waiting a man from the meat counter came over and asked if he could help me. I explained I wanted cannoli and he said the girl behind the counter would assist me.

              Finally the tea was made...and when I asked for 2 cannoli I was told they don't make cannoli.

              I want to like this place so badly. It really is just what Nyack needs. But some of the inconsistencies are really glaring. Perhaps in some time it may outgrow the issues desribed here (and others that remain unsaid). In the meantime I say again skip this place and go to the Iron Tomato in White Plains...

          2. They need to come up with a better toothpick sample system. I won't go into details, but ask for a toothpick before assuming the one you are taking is clean. I spoke with someone about it, but I haven't been back to see if anything has been done. Other then that I have found a few things there to be reasonable and a few things to be much higher then other places. Overall it is a nice addition to the area.

            1. I am ecstatic for this new addition. Rockland County has as much class as a bag of hammers. I have been dying for a Trader Joes or Whole Foods to move to this area to no avail. When Old Food Market moved in I almost fainted. I never considered the lighting as some users commented. What drove me nuts which would actually contribute to their bottom line is their lack of a catering menu. WHAT, NO CATERING MENU???? Duh, you dropped the ball there mates. When I asked the manager he said, " Oh, you can just call ahead and buy things buy the pound." Great. You lost my business pal. I love the fact they have an outdoor and indoor area to sit and drink coffee and eat. They are pricey and some of their prices don't make sense but I love their cheese section. They offer fine cheeses and I worship cheese. They have a great frozen foods vegetarian and vegan section and lots of great prepared items. Their rotisserie chicken tastes like REAL chicken and is moist and lovely without antibiotics. I won't get into what to buy in the take out section. I found lots of great things. Give it a shot and be patient. They are lacking in produce. They need more in the "salad in bags for lazy people who do not feel like washing." They do not have any of that like Trader Joes or other places. This place needs to be supported. It may be pricey in some areas but I can not believe backward Rockland finally got this gem.

              1. I too was pleasantly surprised to see a gourmet style grocery in Rockland but i was actually a bit disappointed. They have a beautiful pastry display that my boyfriend and I couldn't resist but 3/3 pastries we tried (rugelach, linzer tart, something else I can't remember) were average. Many of their cookies and cookie bars looked like mass produced (you know, those bright orange and pink "mango passion fruit" tart things). This was a big disappointment to me, since I love pastries...

                Other than that I agree with magtru that the produce is lacking. Their produce section is a tiny room (especially compared with how large the rest of the store is) with little variety. I don't know why someone would buy produce there since a supermarket is better stocked with produce.

                I liked the selection in packaged foods, cookies, snacks, etc. I was a bit disappointed they didn't sell whole grains in bulk.

                Overall I really liked the store, but I think it is because it's the only thing like it in Rockland so it's not like I can say that I prefer any place else. Like everyone else mentioned, it fills a void, but it only fills a void for a small group of people in Rockland. I'm not sure how long this place will last. There's probably a reason why there hasn't been a store like it until now.

                2 Replies
                1. re: tinery

                  It's too close to Didier Dumas to even get me to try the pastries at old world. DD has some really great treats, and their prices are really good as well.

                  1. re: michele cindy

                    I always see this place and want to go! But we always end up parking farther down in the municipal parking lot and never make the trek up there. Now I know I need to go there!

                2. Stumbled on this place today. Was pleasantly surprised. Place was absolutely IMMACULATE. That's the first thing one notices. Deli department had some interesting items, all homemade, and they had 2 great smoked hams sliced off the bone. Bakery looked interesting, but that's not my forte, I'm more of a "savory" person.

                  Coffee section had items from Porto Rico store in Greenwich Village! Some of the very best coffee anywhere, this landmark coffee roaster is in the same digs since 1890!! Very attractive service meat section, reasonable prices.

                  Some interesting grocery items as well, tending toward the exotic, but at reasonable prices.

                  Produce fairly ordinary...

                  It's a very nice place, I wonder why it was so empty at 1PM? The folks in Rockland apparently don't appreciate good-quality specialty foods! This place literally BLOWS AWAY the Whole Foods markets!!

                  There's a specialty foods on Rte 9 in Tarrytown, name escapes me, but it's not even close in any category to Old World yet it's always busy and has been there for years.

                  Maybe Old World should have opened on the other side of the river?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: menton1

                    "The folks in Rockland apparently don't appreciate good-quality specialty foods! This place literally BLOWS AWAY the Whole Foods markets!!" It's the lack of decent produce that keeps me away , more then anything. at least at Whole Foods the produce is top notch. I tend to go to old world around holidays, or if I am entertaining. They have a great selection of cheese and other appetizer items, olives, etc.

                    1. re: michele cindy

                      Yes, note in my post about the produce being nothing special. But there are countless sources of produce around (farmers markets are open until October) but the quality of Old World's other departments makes one scratch one's head as to why the place is underpatronized! WF produce, BTW, is pretty, but usually tasteless and waaaay overpriced...

                      The deli/prepared foods department at OW is MILES above WF. (WF uses powdered soup mixes-- ugh!!) Service meat and fish departments are small but immaculate and priced right!

                      If it continues to have more employees than customers, I fear that this nice resource for specialty foods in Rockland will go by the wayside...

                      1. re: menton1

                        Its been a while since I've been there but outside of some of the prepared foods (which if I recall correctly are quite expensive) and deli stuff there really wasn't anything of note there. The meat and seafood counters weren't bad by any means, but certainly I didn't see anything there I couldn't find cheaper and/or better at the local butcher/fish monger.

                        1. re: Jstern35

                          OK, so you must hate WF as well...

                          1. re: menton1

                            I don't hate either old world or WF but I would easily go to Fairway before either of them.

                            1. re: Jstern35

                              Absolutely. But Fairway isn't very convenient to Nyack & environs!

                  2. Nice to see/read so many fellow Rocklanders! I vote for our own Chowhounders picnic next spring!

                    1 Reply
                    1. Like every other Rockland retail food establishment I've ever been to (and I have lived there most of my 57 years!!) there is a lot "left on the table here"
                      Is it a disaster? NO! But would it ever, possibly draw someone who had access to Fairway, WF or....damn near anything "real"??

                      Doubtful. NO, very very doubtful.

                      I wish them well. I may be a customer once in a rare while. But hopeful I'm not.

                      At least it's NOT in a league with that joke of a store on Rte. 59 in Nanuet near Starbucks/Modell's. That is just an insult.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jwk714

                        Agreed, that natural "foods" market on 59 was a big disappointment! It's all pre-packaged pseduo healthfood nonsense.

                      2. This is a great resource for specialty items that aren't worth a Fairway run, but it's ridiculously expensive and limited for regular shopping. I've also stopped buying produce here because it's overpriced, the turnover is low so it's not terribly fresh, and very little is organic or locally sourced even in the summer. The fish/meat counter is small but that is one of the better features. Also a decent cheese selection, but the guys behind the counter have no idea what they're selling and NOTHING is local. Shame on them.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: TeddyTD

                          Any updates on this place? I was there a year ago, and was slightly more impressed than I was with a recent visit to Fresh Market in Montvale.

                        2. no recent visits and no plans unless i'm in the area and really famished. I'm looking forward to the fresh market in montvale-but frankly, not hopeful. NYC shoppers (like me) are so spoiled there's very few spots in the universe to compete. much less Rockland/Bergen Counties

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: jwk714

                            Old World is slightly better than Fresh Market, IMO. But both pale in comparison to Fairway.

                            1. re: menton1

                              Have been there a few times recently and it still a mixed bag. Their cheese department isn't bad. Nothing too crazy or unusual and the people who have helped the last few times have been surprisingly knowledgeable (not like Ideal Cheese or Fairway, but not bad for Rockland).
                              The baked goods/pastries are also decent, although they lack a good baguette.

                              Stay away from the deli counter. They have only one or two premium meats/salume and the people are CLUELESS.

                              The meat counter isn't bad. Have gotten some nice cuts there before.

                              Pretty good olive bar and I love their tapenade.

                              Everything else is overpriced.

                              1. re: HungryRubia

                                I liked their olive bar until I saw a number of folks putting dirty toothpicks into the clean ones. Also saw this at the cheese area when they had some samples out. It was awhile ago, and I spoke to someone about it. Not sure if they addressed it to come up with an alternate method, like putting a sign on the "used" toothpick dish to let folks know to put them there. P.S. HR, good to see your name again.

                                1. re: michele cindy

                                  Last time I was at this place, they did have a very tasty Ham-on-the-bone sliced to order by hand. Was quite good, and this item is hard to find elsewhere...