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The Fresh Market opens in Westport on October 14

This could be good for the area. Can't wait to hear people reactions.

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  1. l

    If it is currently an A&P that is changing to Fresh Market do a search and read about the reaction to the same scenario in Stamford.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      Hey jfood...it is not an A&P makeover, but a real Fresh Market. It used to be Shaws (major yuk). Looking forward to a new shopping option in Westport!

      1. re: sibeats

        Thats a good start and a step in the right direction

    2. This should be really good news - can't wait to check it out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: amanda3571

        We have a FM here in Winston Salem NC, it is a nice store but not everything there is so great. The produce is not always the best & can be over priced. The meats are good, I buy either at FM or Whole Foods. They always have free coffee made but it is so weak & such weirdo flavors so who wants it? The nuts are usually stale too. The deli is ok, the rotisserie chicken is awful but I don't like store made rotisserie chicken anway, tastes like it has been injected w/chemicals. Sounds like I am throwing FM under the bus but I go there for certain items. Definately not a store where you would do all of your shopping unless you are just loaded w/cash.

      2. I really hope this place has quality product...anybody know anything about the company?

        5 Replies
        1. re: mcllmlathd

          this should help:
          http://www.thefreshmarket.com/Company...

          1. re: mcllmlathd

            I have been to Fresh Market many times in FL- its where my parents do a lot of their shopping. I was very excited to hear that it is coming to Westport, where I work. They have beautiful and unusual produce, meats, fish, dairy, prepared and baked goods. In the area, I'd say that it is most similar to Balducci's.

            1. re: mcllmlathd

              I've been to 2 Fresh Markets...one in South Carolina, the other just outside of Atlanta. The concept is that they are all the exact same layout. I think it's going to be a great addition to the area. Really good quality products. Not so big to be overwhelming. Open layout with easy to see signage, so you can find what you're looking for. Feel good atmosphere makes you want to linger and look at everything they offer. Yep, I could have spent the night when I was there. Prepared food offerings are different than most stores and they totally encourage tasting everything. One day before opening! Can't wait!

              1. re: luvarugula

                Interesting, I was in Balducci's yesterday and they have been very busy expanding their dairy and meat sections. They installed new refrigerated cases along both walls with more space, and added many more product lines to both sections. They now have full lines of Bell & Evans chickens packaged, lots of different hams, rabbit, tons of D'Artagnan products. Over in the dairy case there are tons more types of packaged cheeses, etc. I have to assume they are getting worried about the hit they are going to take when Fresh Market opens. I happen to shop at Balducci's a few times a week, and am looking forward to another option.

                1. re: luvarugula

                  I guess I won't be the only CH there tomorrow! :)

              2. I am dying to visit. My husband just called to tell me there are people picketing outside. Anybody know why?

                Anyone know what prices will be like. I'm hoping the meat prices are reasonable. I really battle with guying meat in Westport. I usually go to Stew Leonards or Balducci's which gets expensive.

                6 Replies
                1. re: kedh

                  The picketing has nothing to do with The Fresh Market. I think it's just the local union...probably the same that picketed Whole Foods when they were opening. I don't know about pricing and how it compares to S&S, Stew's or Balduccis. I think definitely cheaper than D'Artagnan products...probably more in line with Stew's. If you go, let other CH's know how the prices compare.

                  1. re: luvarugula

                    I went today (what was I thinking???) It was packed, lots of older folks sampling the free wares, lots of people wandering around looking dazed, not shopping, just looking, lots of people with carts shopping. And there were as many people outside picketing! It looked to me like the same group that picketed Whole Foods, same large inflated rat, didn't stop the hoards from going in.
                    It was very nice inside, interesting open layout. Fish selections looked pretty good. I couldn't get too close to the beef but the pork and veal looked nice. Vegetable section was nothing to write home about...better and more interesting selection at Balducci's. Huge deli/prepared food case in the middle of the store. Food looked pretty good, but then again prepared food always looks better than it tastes, I didn't purchase any. Big beer selection...I didn't see any wine, not sure if they are carrying it. Big bakery, fresh breads, couldn't get too close, too many people.
                    I bought a few items, prices are pretty high, about the same as Balducci's, maybe even higher on some items.
                    I'll go back when things settle down and get a better look, but it has promise. Interestingly I popped into Balducci's afterwards to get a couple of things and it was deserted!

                    1. re: sibeats

                      Note: Grocery stores in CT are not allowed to sell wine, only beer.

                      1. re: rbailin

                        Thanks...I thought so but wasn't sure. I saw on their website that other stores sold wine and was wondering if it was a CT law like the silly no sales on Sunday.

                    2. re: luvarugula

                      Just got home from The Fresh market- yes it was PACKED with shoppers and looky-loos alike. Free reusable shopping bag, 1-pot bag of coffee, and lots of samples and sales for the grand opening. Everybody(including store employees) seemed to be in a good mood and rolling with the 1st day craziness. The produce selection doesn't seem to be as large or varied as I remember from the store I frequent in Altamonte Springs, FL, but that didn't stop me from getting asparagus- for the low, low price of $1.98 a pound! Pineapples were a dollar higher than most local competitors. The most impressive thing about the store to me, other than the ability to pick up some of my fave Fresh Market goodies(Cinnamon crispers- YUM! Butterkase cheese, which I haven't been able to find anywhere else in the area, and a few other things) is the customer service. When I asked the clerk at the bakery where the Cinnamon crispers were, she didn't tell me or point, she walked me to them (and they were nowhere I would have expected them to be), and told me if there was anything else I needed help with, to come back to her. I had that same type of experience with every employee I spoke to- super friendly, courteous and helpful. And they take your groceries to the car- who does that anymore?? I didn't do a lot of shopping today, but did notice some prices- Prime Filet Mignon $16.99 /lb (on sale) is comparable or lower than many markets. Gorgeous, fresh tuna steaks were also 16.99. I think most "normal" grocery items are higher than Stop & Shop, but Fresh market is kind of like Stew Leonard's in that way- its not a replacement to Stop and Shop, its an addition to, at least for my needs.

                      The picketers are little more than a distraction- and yes, they are the same group that picketed Whole Foods- United Grocery Workers. I find the giant inflatable rat pretty funny, and they certainly don't seem to be affecting the traffic Fresh Market is getting- be prepared to go round and round the lot waiting for a spot to open up the first few days.

                      1. re: JenJeninCT

                        Wow I must have done something wrong...no free reusable bag, no coffee and no one took my groceries to the car! As a matter of fact after my groceries were bagged, someone came along and took my cart away and put it back with the others!
                        I agree the fresh tuna looked beautiful. It was nice to see that they had 2 varieties, and one was labeled as sashimi grade, which you never see around here.

                  2. Here's a nice write up:
                    http://www.ctbites.com/home/2009/10/1...

                    I may venture this wknd. Dying to check it out. The fish does look great (pic in article).

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: amanda3571

                      Fresh Market in Stamford is merely a renovated A&P. Still the same crappy staff, not great selection, overpriced. Stamford still had no great supermarket.

                      1. re: lillydaisy

                        This discussion is not about the A&P Fresh Market. Its about the REAL Fresh Market in Westport.

                        1. re: lillydaisy

                          "Stamford still has no great supermarket."

                          ShopRite at Commerce Park is very good... as extolled in other threads. Otherwise you're right. Despite the recent renovation, the Ridgeway S&S is a mess, overpriced, and poorly managed. There's absolutly nothing downtown. We get A&P Fresh Market, Westport gets the real deal.

                          But take heart, Fairway is coming. Can Citerella be far behind? They are out on the Island, albeit the Hamptons.

                          1. re: louuuuu

                            Yes- I'm with you on the Shop-Rite at Commerce Park. And I do look forward to Fairway. I've been a spoiled New Yorker.

                      2. Went back this morning, it was nice and empty. Unfortunately they were out of the fresh tuna and they don't carry live lobsters, so I struck out there. Got some nice veggies and some shrimp.
                        Had a very unsatisfactory experience at the checkout lane. Between the cashier and the customer in front of me, they couldn't figure out how to spell "radish" so she could look it up and enter it in. Then we had to wait for someone with a key to come in and credit the 'radicchio' she entered in by accident. Granted patience is not my best feature, but I was waiting and waiting and waiting. And then when my turn finally came she went through the same thing with my radishes, couldn't find them on the list again. Weird.
                        Then there was the bagger who wouldn't bag, he just kept standing there and mumbling. Finally I heard him say he didn't want to touch the food...the greens from the radishes were sticking out of the plastic bag and he refused to pick it up. It was really strange. So I tried to bag my own groceries, which I prefer anyway, but he wouldn't get out of my way, and he wouldn't bag. Finally I said are you bagging or am I bagging, and he said I am, and I finally got out of there. If your job is to bag groceries, you are going to come into contact with the food to some extent. Lots of people don't even use plastic bags for their produce.
                        I'll just chalk it up to first week issues and hope it gets better.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: sibeats

                          I actually find the layout of the produce section annoying. Because there are these pods of vegetables not rows i find myself going in circles

                          1. re: jwg

                            Yeah, I was going in circles too...maybe I bumped into you on one of my rotations!

                          2. re: sibeats

                            I made my 2nd trip today as well, and while the store wasn't anything close to empty when I went, it had much more "flow" than opening day. I went at around 2, and they did have the tuna(both types) at that time. They were also sampling raw oysters and clams-I'm not ashamed to say I went back for a 2nd oyster before purchasing oysters rockefeller and bourbon salmon for dinner tonight. I did notice they are selling Blue Points for .99/ea, while Stew's sells them for .75. If I hadn't just bought a whole tenderloin at Stew's last week, I would have picked up one on this trip- looked really nice, and 8.99/lb.

                            Got a few of my traditional southern favorites that are hard to find up here- Pimento cheese and carrot & raisin salad. Don't ask, it's a "something from my childhood" thing. The deli offers some interesting sandwiches and prepared items. I got some very good rotisserie chicken salad and a decent croissant(hard to find in a "grocery store") from the bakery for my lunch.

                            I also find the produce section, and the whole store actually, laid out in a kind of weird way. Its like they have so much in there, its all crammed in at weird angles- ie, the bakery "aisle" that runs from the bakery to the produce and in front of the deli.

                            Again, my customer service experience was exemplary, start to finish. How weird about the bagger! Seriously, you might call the manager about that one.

                            1. re: JenJeninCT

                              They did tell me that the tuna was coming in later, but I wasn't able to come back. I'll give it a try another time as it did look like very good quality.
                              I bought a couple of sandwiches my first time there, premade in the deli section. They were both tasty, although one was mislabelled, it was supposed to be roast beef and bleu cheese and it was actually roast beef and then the italian combo fixings! I think they started making one sandwich and then finished a different one. The other was a turkey, havarti and cranberry sauce. Both were tasty, but when I got them home and we opened them, neither had any condiments. It kept the bread from getting soggy, but they definitely needed a little mayo/mustard or oil/vinegar.
                              I agree with the weird layout. On the one hand it gives the store a very open feeling, on the other hand I find myself weaving around sections not realizing where one ends and another begins!
                              As for the bagger...I'd hate to get anyone in "trouble"...but it was bizarre!

                              1. re: sibeats

                                I went Saturday evening around 7 and it was packed with alot of people looking, buying and enjoying something new. I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked to because I had to be somewhere but I found the meat department to look great but they were out of what I wanted and I bought a couple of scones, decent and ran out. No problems with the baggers as I would do it myself if I was not being helped as quickly as some would have liked. All in all I will be back with more time and really check out the joint. It reminds me of a Hay Day less expensive than Whole foods and a notch above Stop and Shop. But I will wait for my next visit.

                                1. re: nbermas

                                  Yes, I tried to bag myself but the bagger would not get out of the way. I always prefer to bag myself.

                                  1. re: sibeats

                                    Oh well, next time you know not to help them. Have a great day!

                          3. I still have not shopped at The Fresh Market. I hope to get there this week. However, a friend e-mailed me this today:

                            Stopped in yesterday...parking lot packed!!!! Westport was eagerly waiting for a mid area market to cater to that area.
                            Nice set up, everything spotless.

                            Produce is wonderful.....best selection of mushrooms ever (lobster, hen of
                            the woods, enoki, shitake, baby bellas, fresh & dried and really good
                            prices), edible flowers, gorgeous poblano peppers, etc. Mentioned their
                            policy is only best pick so there won't be any discarded side sale items.
                            Lovely fresh prune plums and locally grown strawberries which you could
                            purchase by the single berry.(the little old ladies will love that!!!)

                            Checked out fish and they were doing tastings of fresh oysters, clams and
                            sautéed scallops (that's an impressive high end tasting for a store opening)
                            Quality presentation of every meat you can think of , perfectly trimmed but
                            pricey. Great selection of artisan breads.....the sundried tomato asiago was
                            to die for....nearly ate the whole loaf with homemade soup!!!

                            The desserts looked great.....variety of cheesecake in small sizes, every
                            cookie/scone/muffin you can imagine. (every kid that passed that area was
                            bugging their parents for one...) Heavy trafficked area.
                            This place has more snacks than you can imagine (chips, pretzel nuggets,
                            cheese section, nut section, best olives bar, chocolates....)

                            Lots & lots of prepared foods....hopefully they can turn that over within
                            the same day or it they will need to make adjustments on quantity to keep those cases fresh.

                            The loveliest touch.....when you check out, each register had a cashier and
                            bagger. And every customer was asked by the bagger if they would like
                            assistance to take out their packages to their car (no matter how small your
                            purchase was.) Now that's southern hospitality!!!

                            Score Card: A++ (Presentation, Selection, Freshness, Hospitality,
                            Tastings!!!)

                            Now I'm thinking...gotta go and see this for myself.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: luvarugula

                              Went 10AM this morning (Saturday) to see what all the hubbub was about and was pleasantly surprised. Was not crowded when I entered, but was getting annoyingly so by the time I left, after browsing for a good 40 minutes. Was impressed with the bakery selections and meats, was able to buy a tasty individual brioche and mini jam jar for my breakfast on the run, after sipping a free sample of French Roast Coffee (very tasty-but the only free sample in sight on my trip). Bought the store-made crabcakes (a relative bargain at 2/$5.00), pan fried them myself at home for lunch. They were very good, no discernible filler, fresh crab taste. Also got some specialty items I have not seen at other local gourmet grocers-fig balsamic vinegar, picholine olives, store-made turkey sausage. All reasonably priced - will definitely be returning. Service was also A+.

                              1. re: Jadelise

                                Ok guys,

                                I wanted to wait and try several items before shooting my mouth off about Fresh, but I gotta say...This place rocks. They sell fresh bacon, 3 different types and it bears no resemblence to bacon from supermarkets; they also have fresh sausage which looks great but I have not yet tried it.
                                A few nights ago I bought and grilled an "aged Hereford boneless ribeye" which had really terrific steak flavor, texture and marbling. Just a fabulous steak. They have a great olive bar.
                                Thing is, I live across the street from this store so for me it represents truly fabulous time/gas value as well.
                                Note that they sell tiny, beautiful boneless chicken breast, as few or as many as you'd like. They have fabulous looking lamb rib chops, big beautiful things, have not yet tried but you can tell they rock.
                                In my opinion, this place represents a shot across the bow to Stews, who I am certain can see the difference in the register receipts, and Balducci, where you can hear crickets now that Fresh Market opened. I still love Balducci aslo but they are being taken to school as far as the meat and fish departments are concerned. Oh I made some of the Fresh Market American Gulf shrimp the other day and they were fabulous.

                                Heck...Even the picketers gave up and left.......This place is too good to stop. Now I hope it stays that way.

                                1. re: shark_attack

                                  Last night, Sunday, I bought a prime rib steak boneless and simply pan-sauteed it to a screamingly rare/xtra rare. Yum!

                                  It had better beefy flavor, better fleshy fresh texture and it cooked up and went down like the top quality restaurant-style steak it is. Except to say that few and far are the restaurants that serve such a great steak. There are flavors going on in there that aren't happening in any other retail steak in the 'hood. And no, I didn't break out the Heinz 57 either:)

                                  Tonight....The sashimi.

                                  1. re: shark_attack

                                    Definitely give the sausages a try. Italian chicken, turkey spinach, and turkey white wine sausages all rocked. This place is also great for purchasing single portions of whatever you need, if you are not shopping for family meals!

                            2. Loved Fresh Market.! I though it was going to be alot bigger, but it had a nice open layout. I asked for fresh figs, and although the guy I asked didn't know what they were, he brought me to someone who did. The only thing I didn't like was the way the checkout lane is set up with the big posts in front of it and the small area to place your food on. It is definitly not meant for large grocery purchases, but I was pleased and will continue to return. Someone did bring my groceries out which I thought was a nice touch.

                              1. Went back for my third time today. Three strikes and you're out. They didn't carry a few items I needed, so I had to go to another store afterwards...again. All 3 times I've been I've had to go elsewhere to finish my shopping. I needed green split peas to make soup. Not a real outrageous thing to stock. So I had to go to Stop and Shop.

                                There's just nothing at Fresh Market that makes me want to go back. The produce is nice, but not as nice a selection as Balducci's. The fish looks nice, but not the variety of Fjord. The "aisle" departments are not as comprehensive as Stop & Shop, so you're never going to get everything you need. The bakery department looks pretty lame to me. Lots of variety, but the quality looks like Stop & Shop. Prepared food looks okay, but I don't buy prepared food.

                                I tried, I'm disappointed as I wanted to like it, but I think I'm out. Glad it's working for others, guess there will be more room at all the stores for all of us!

                                (And they still didn't offer to bring my groceries to the car!!!!)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sibeats

                                  I finally went tonight and thought overall it was a nice store. It was pretty packed with the after work crowd.

                                  I do think they need to improve in some areas, but really excel in others. Their produce dept was kinda sad... I do about 80% of my shopping at WF and their produce is top notch with a really nice selection. I'm going to chalk the look of the produce dept to the fact that it's a new store and just hope they listen to the feedback and continue to improve. Blalducci's produce section is certainly superior, but I think that store overall is way over priced. It is very much the same concept as Balducci's but on a much larger scale.

                                  I thought the fish selection was actually pretty decent for being a "supermarket". Mostly USA wild caught - and all in all - a MUCH better selection than the WF. I also liked the fact they had sushi grade tuna which looked very nice, but there was only one piece left so I did not get it. I got scallops for $3 less a pound than at WF (15.99 vs 18.99). Their meat selection was huge, though I did not get any but it all looked very nice.

                                  Definitely a big prepared foods section which I think will be a hit with the after work crowd. I didn't pay close attention to what they were serving however.

                                  Loved the bins of nuts and the like. I'm a sucker for bins.

                                  And the final thing I noticed is that while there are a lot of organic & higher end choices through out the store, they also have things like Bounty paper towel which is a big plus (Sorry Seventh Generation...). The control freak in me cringes when any other brand is brought into my house because it shreds into pieces.

                                  My overall impression is that it's a nice store. I didn't expect it to be the world's greatest store, but I think it will (in the end) hopefully become a positive for FFD County. It's definitely not one stop shopping, but I already don't limit my shopping to one place. So I'll definitely be back... I'd like to get a lay of the land so I can feel comfortable shopping there.

                                2. I've shopped here a few times now and I think it's great. My bf is a sucker for bins too, Amanda, so we've tried a bunch of those nut/trail mix things. The variety is nice and they are good. I'm pretty sure the nutritional info is on the lid of the bin. My only wish is there was some sort of label or marker you could use right there to remember what mix it is you got.

                                  At my house we are always looking for whole bean coffee. Tried Fresh Market's blends (they are the same price per pound as Stews, where we get our beans) and our verdict is it's just okay. Their flavored blends are a touch better, but for regular roasts we'll stick with Stews.

                                  We have tried and loved two bakery items - blueberry muffins, which are much less greasy than Stews and fresh! - and the white chocolate chip macadamia cookies which were also very good and non-greasy.

                                  1. the jfood decided a wonderful day at Compo Beach with a sandwich on a 50 degree December afternoon. They decided to try Fresh MArket.

                                    After wondering around jfood was very imprssed with the selection and quality. Prices were very high. Staff was excellent and extremely helpful.

                                    They ordered a couple of sandwiches for $6 each. These were great deals. Jfood's Italian Hoagie was great, Mrs jfood gave a thumb's up to the sandwich which she described as a good supermarket sandwich but not as good as Good Food Store in Darien.

                                    Major downside were many of the people. Rude, obnoxious, pushy, downright hard to be around. Seems likeone of those places you avoid on the weekends and try to hit off hours to avoids these folks.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: jfood

                                      Honestly, I've been to Fresh Market twice and haven't been impressed by their selection nor taste of prepared foods.

                                      their prices are rediculous. and they don't have free samples!

                                      I'll stick with the Stews/stop and shop combo

                                      1. re: wreckers00

                                        Hey W

                                        You have to do what you feel comfortable with and enjoy. Granted there are waaaay more choices at SL & S&S and the prices are waaaaay less at the latter, the quality at SL is not something jfood can agree with at all (fair on a good day), other than milk and dairy.

                                        And choosing where to shop because they give away free samples?

                                      2. re: jfood

                                        jfood: What do you and the Mrs. like at the Good Food store is Darien? Are you talking sandwiches oooor what else? I haven't been their in years but always remembering it is as good food, so what to order? Hope you and the Mrs. had a Happy Holiday and a very Happy New year!