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Oct 30, 2009 05:59 AM

Wegman's in Collegeville

OK, don't tell anyone I said this, particularly my mother, but I was terribly disappointed when I visited the new Wegman's in Collegeville.

Now I grew up with Wegman's and have been moaning about the quality of the local groceries for oh about twenty years,,, so now I finally have a Wegman's that is a little closer than Warrington.

I visited for the first time last Friday and was horribly disappointed. It was large but I thought the variety was really unimpressive. The parking lot made me mental... could they make those spots any narrower? and the store was packed body to body with people who seemed to be wandering aimlessly around with carts full of juice boxes and cans of gravy!

The produce section was particularly disappointing - larger displays of the same crummy produce in every other supermarket is just not going to impress anyone! You have bigger piles of lousy apples? Um... so?

I did visit the cheese section which was certainly better than a lot of the Pennsylvania grocery stores but not better than Whole Foods and certainly not better than the shop in Chestnut Hill. The aisles were really narrow and while the store was big it was full of giant displays of Hunt's tomatoes and Special K. I could get that at a Giant!

I browsed the prepared food section and wouldn't touch any of it with a ten food pole and the seafood section was particularly disappointing. Even without a good seafood shop nearby, Assi and Whole Foods blow their seafood section out of the water.

Now, to be fair I am easily annoyed by large slow moving crowds AND I did not have the patience to visit the beer section which will likely be the store's redeeming feature. I will certainly return, though never on a Friday.

So if I am missing something good, please let me know. But I am just not seeing it and I was pretty excited about the store opening!

Chestnut Hill Cafe
532 W Chestnut St, Lancaster, PA 17603

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  1. I gotta say for the area it's a real step up. They have a pretty good cheese section. So I was happy. I think they have a nice vegetarian and vegan section. I do think that whole foods is much better. I really can't wait for the one in plymouth meeting to open!

    1 Reply
    1. re: neener41

      Hey Neener, where/when/what???? I know we're getting a whole foods in PM, but a Wegmans???

    2. I went when it was ultra crowded too Kater, but I was determined to try the prepared foods. I really liked the butter chicken, but I much prefer the upstairs seating at Warrington. Even though Collegeville is closer to me I'm going to continue to trek to Warrington when I want to get my Wegmans on! I am curious about dining in the pub though. Anyone partake of the Pub's offerings yet?

      1 Reply
      1. re: givemecarbs

        I took my elderly mom and family to the pub on Sunday (mostly to get my mom out of her house.) There was a 15 minute wait at dead noon (to be expected) but they give you a beeper, and you can wait in a comfortable room.

        Son and I had burgers (irradiated beef so they can server them rare.) They were not bad. Mom had tiger shrimp , wife had a lunch-size (6 oz.) strip steak (had to ask the waitress for the blue cheese that came with it.) Was not thrilled, but then I grill good steaks at home over wood regularly, and they are easy to get used to.

        Daughter had a BBQ chix sandwich which was also OK. Everything is available with "finishing sauces" like demi-glace or chimicurri.

        All meals came with an enormous mound of fresh string beans (on sale in the store) which were blanched and quite crispy. Mom is used to old-school cook them to death, so took hers home for additional cooking-to-death.

        Service was actually pretty good, and pleasant especially considering the no-tipping policy.
        We all had soft drinks ( a little early for beer) and shared some Tuscan Fries and fried Mortadella as apps. Those seemed like the quickest. The whole tab came to $60 for five people, so not bad prices.

        As far as supermarket pubs go (there are none to compare) I would eat there if I were shopping. I don't think it would be a destination, though.

      2. Geez, it sounds like you must work for Genuardi's! I've never met anyone who didn't think Wegman's is a very nice store, with very nice people working there. And that goes back about 15+ years to the first time I stepped into a Wegman's in Rochester, NY.

        I'll agree that they limit selections, but so does every other store I've ever been in. No store could possibly carry every brand of every item they sell. And, regarding the people walking around aimlessly, that'll stop as they get used to the store. It's kind of like watching people who are walking through Costco for the first time!

        1 Reply
        1. re: bucksguy14

          I assure you that I do not; and I did think that Wegman's was a nice store when I was a child. But piling up larger piles of standard grocery store fare does not make for a better selection. They used to have items you could not find in other stores. That just isn't the case any more. I wonder if we got a dumbed down Wegman's or something???

        2. Wow, you must be seriously jaded. I'm a big foodie, ate my way around Europe, went to the CIA, and when I visited the new Wegman's in Collegeville last week I was quite impressed! Are you sure you don't work for a competitor? ;)

          1. Kater...I'm incredulous! Maybe you grew up in the land of Wegmans flagship store, but out here where the Ac-a-me and Ma 'n' Pa Redners Pickled Eggs-and-Wonderbread Emproium reign supreme, the C'ville Wegmans is the greatest thing since, well, sliced bread. Yes, the parking lot sux, as it is designed to have you do the grand tour and see everything before it permits you to exit. But the store is a blessing in these parts. Maybe Whole Foods ("Whole Paycheck" to my bro' in NYC) has more seafood selection but at what price? The Wegmans baked goods rock for a large chain and I don't understand your aversion to the prepared foods. And where else can you have a draft at a bar with a plate of fresh oysters?

            Sorry you're having an icky day.


            4 Replies
            1. re: Chefpaulo

              the Mrs and I went wed. (no crowds)we thought it was very good. Yes, Of Course they have lots of the same stuff all stores have, so?

              ALL of the staff we interacted with were very enthusiastic and I thought the seafood section was very good, and I go to Assi often. (I have also had problems with freshness at Assi 3X). we watched the Mgr fillet a whole 25lb+ haddock.
              We ate at the counter in the pub, service was v good, crab cake in sandwich was very good, bun was way too big. asparagas was cooked perfect and lots of it. Calamari was cooked perfect . A Beer selection in a supermarket? in PA? whoa! I picked up a LB of the scallops they were "natural" not wet packed and they seared up beautifully. A great experience

                1. re: seagulls1

                  You have to be very careful about freshness in the Assi seafood department! While they have some wonderful items and great values they also will not think twice about selling you old fish. Stick with their whole fish or the sashimi cuts - everything else is risky. The shrimp is usually good but you have to check it.

                2. re: Chefpaulo

                  I'm having a great day, and so is my palate! You have got to be kidding about their prepared foods!

                  I don't think that I would order oysters there but I am down with the beer and think it is wonderful to have an outlet for good beer in small quantities. That gross Foodtown store that replaced Vidalia does have beer still but has been slowly changing over to a Coors Light type of selection. Still they have one aisle of good beer and do take requests. They still carry Ommegang.