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Nov 11, 2009 12:36 PM

Pub @ Wegman's in Collegeville

I've been going to Wegman's since the Warrington store opened. Now that I find the Collegeville store a shorter drive, I've switched and have been going there since they opened.

Today, my wife & I tried the Pub for the first time. She had a corned beef sandwich and a piece of white cake for dessert. She usually takes half of her sandwich home. She ate the entire thing today! She also devoured the cake. I had the Curried Mussels, which I did not think were spicy at all, though they were nicely cooked. We shared the Tuscan Fries, which were a little too salty for our taste. I had a Yards draft and she had water (she wanted San Pellegrino, but they don't offer ANY water!). With tax, it came to $24. They have a no tipping policy, which I and others ignored. I commented during the meal that it was like being in another state - alcohol in a PA supermarket! Who'd thunk it a year ago?

Wegman's will remain my "main" store, and I'm sure the pub will get more business from us.

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  1. Just out of curiosity what drew you to eating lunch at a grocery store? Were you shopping there? Was this a one time meal just to see how it was? I still can't wrap my head around why people would be eating lunch in the grocery store.

    22 Replies
    1. re: nolangti

      it's kind of a novelty. Last time I drank hard liquor in a grocery store the manager asked me to leave.

      1. re: phillyjazz

        Is it akin to recreational shopping but with food rather than clothes and shoes? The grocery store becomes destination, not just a chore. I'd rather kill an afternoon in a Wegman's with a bar than KoP any day.

      2. re: nolangti

        Yes, we were shopping and we were curious about the pub, in particular. Why people would eat lunch in a supermarket? I first discovered Wegman's about 15+ years ago in Rochester, NY on a business trip, when the folks we were consulting with took us there for lunch. It was very different from the PA/NJ Wegman's I've been in. They had "stations" with a couple of people either cooking or making sandwiches in a very large area of that store, with a huge eat-in area, that was about the size of the entire "restaurant" area of the Collegeville store. Other than the fact that you could get fresh-cooked pasta, or asian, or mexican dishes, it wasn't a whole lot different that going anywhere else. I think the local Wegman's are the same idea, without the "stations". There's a lot of selection, at reasonable prices, and the food is always fresh.

        1. re: nolangti

          No disrespect intended, but I cannot recall the last time I heard the term "grocery store." Those populated the eastern Montco region in my earliest childhood (50s and 60s) and were cramped mom-and -pop emporia of stacked up Shredded Wheat, canned beans, Fab and Aero-Wax with the obligatory deli counter and pickle barrel. *sigh*

          Wegmans offers a somewhat different approach. There are options you've never encountered. T'is more enlightening to expand one's vision than to wrap one's head.


          1. re: Chefpaulo

            really, CP? I ALWAYS say "grocery store" ... Never really thought much about it before.

            1. re: chestercountygal

              Whether wistfull nostaglia or just out of habit, I do say grocery store. I'm aware it's a supermarket but like the sound of grocery better. I also say "folks" instead of people or them. Sounds a little more human.

            2. re: Chefpaulo

              none taken. I literally don't know anyone that DOESN'T call it that. I am a born and raised Philly burbs guy in my early 30's for some perspective.

              As for Wegman's, I am anxiously awaiting the Malvern location so I can avoid the Ah-ca-me in Paoli. In reality though I have found their produce to be the weak link with their meats and fish as well as variety of ethnic dry goods to be the real differentiator for me (based on my experiences in DTown Weggys).

              The restaurant I just don't get. It must just be how I am wired, but if I am going to eat somewhere, I am going to a bar or a restaurant, not a grocery store. Call me strange...

              1. re: nolangti

                When we go to Wegman's, we buy about $30 worth of prepared foods and take it home for dinner. If I worked in the area, I would probably grab lunch there 2x a week. The sandwiches are great, and so are the stands. During a solo shopping trip, I'd probably grab some hummus and olives and take a midafternoon break in the cafe. I woudn't do these things in any other "grocery store", but I Wegman's is kinda different.

                1. re: nolangti

                  It is not that strange, at least for lunch. People go to Whole Foods for lunch all the time, although of course they do not have a full service restaurant. But if they did, I am sure people would eat there. It makes sense for office workers taking a lunch break and also stay-at-home people running errands who want to grab a quick lunch that isn't fast food. I don't understand dinner as much, but I see people getting dinner at the Whole Foods on South St all time. I don't know if that behavior translates to the burbs, though, as people at that WF are probably neighborhood types getting a quick bite. I can't imagine getting in my car and driving to WF for dinner.

                  BTW, the flagship Whole Foods store in Austin has the stations just like bucksguy described at the Rochester Wegmans.

                  1. re: barryg

                    Interesting insights. Let's just leave it as a difference in eating style. I am also not the type to ever buy pre-made food (even though I realize it is a very attractive option for others).

              2. re: nolangti

                We ate at the pub for lunch 2 Saturdays ago - needed to do some grocery shopping, but didn't want to roam the aisles w/ an empty stomach, and the pub was our answer! Just had some apps, the Tuscan fries were really good, their dipping sauce was a nice tangy substitute for ketchup too. We did not tip though, and now I feel like a jerk - what is the consensus on this? The beverage napkins state "no tipping"

                1. re: becky315

                  becky I'm a bit bummed that people are tipping anyway. There are so many posts about paying servers a decent wage instead of forcing them to rely on tips. From what I understand in France and other places in Europe they add a fifteen percent gratuity to the bill but dumb tourists still tipped lavishly until now it might be somewhat expected. But then I'm conflicted about tip jars in places like starbucks. If I go to the pub I'll probably cave and leave a tip anyway, even though I think wegmans is trying something new and innovative and the tippers are ruining it. At this point it might be easier for me to skip going to the pub altogether, but I still go to sbux once in awhile and sometimes I tip there too. Sigh. I guess we humans like it complicated.

                  1. re: givemecarbs

                    GMC, My experience at the Pub was really good, but it seemed that the wait staff was working in teams, we saw 3-4 different people throughout the 1/2 hour or so we were there - I'm assuming that's why no tipping? If I sat at the bar area, or was totally blown away, I might leave a tip, but I think for now I'll follow their instructions. :)

                    1. re: givemecarbs

                      Carbs, I agree with you on the tipping thing. I can't speak for France, but when I went to Germany the tipping norm is no more than 10%.

                      As for Wegmans I think the problem is that as Americans we are so used to tipping servers that we don't feel right unless we do, especially at a full service restaurant.

                      1. re: mitchh

                        Thanks for all the comments. I was afraid I was gonna get flamed but I should know my Penna chowhounds better. I could post on some general tipping fhread in NAF or General as this Pub policy could be seen as some sort of experiment, but they might all be locked. :)

                      2. re: givemecarbs

                        I'd presume they say no tipping because they get full wages and benefits like any other wegmans employee.
                        They may not even be allowed to keep the tips at all so "found" money may just be going into some charity jar or who knows where.

                        1. re: leepinleemur


                          That would actually be an interesting question to ask Wegmans.

                          1. re: mitchh

                            I would venture to say since they are Wegman's employees and no one else outside the Pub gets tips, they don't allow tips for the Pub employees. I'm sure they are making more than the typical $3-5 dollars an hour I know waiters sometimes get paid, making tips a necessity for the job to be worthwhile.

                            1. re: 94Bravo


                              Given that they have a posted no tipping policy I think it's safe to say that the Pub employees are making a "regular" wage and not the customary server wage.

                              1. re: mitchh

                                I decided to check with Wegman's about the no-tipping policy and what happens with the money that people leave as tips. Here's the response if received this morning in an e-mail from Wegman's:

                                "The reason for no tipping is that the employees in our Pub are just like our employees throughout the store, they work for an hourly wage. No one there is being paid the typical 'server' wage.
                                Should tip money be left it is put into the store's employee fund. That money is used to help fund employee special needs or events as they come up. The fund is for all employees of this store. "

                                So now we know and, if anyone does leave a "tip", you know that all the employees in the store benefit, not just those working in the pub.

                                1. re: bucksguy14


                                  Great work by you.

                                  I'd say to keep on tipping then. :)

                                  1. re: bucksguy14

                                    Thanks for this bucksguy! My reaction is the opposite of Mitchh's though. When I go I won't tip. :)

                    2. Thanks for the great review bucksguy, and also the mention of the no tipping policy. Since people are ignoring the policy, I don't want to feel like a jerk and not tip. Isn't this what happened in France? He he. I've been wanting to try their white cake, it looks so good. But it is too close to the pecan kuchen. I don't know if I'll be able to walk past the lamb korma and butter chicken on the steam tables next time I go though.

                      1. I ate there last week with a date on a very crowded and busy Sunday afternoon and thought it was pretty good. Had a couple of my favorite American brews; Magic Hat #9 and shared 5 apps and split a crabcake sandwich. The two that stood out to me were the little coil of bratwurst on a potato pancake with applesauce, and the flatbread pizza with figs, Gorgonzola, and prosciutto. The crabcake was very good as well, but as others here have mentioned, they need to downsize the bun it's served on.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: 94Bravo

                          I was tempted to go for the Naan pizza with figs, Gorgonzola & prosciutto. However, I make my own Naan pizzas at home and will make that combo soon! I was also tempted by the wontons - just might do that the next time we're there around lunchtime.

                        2. I just have to comment that I think Wegman's is awesome. I was introduced to them also in Rochester way back in 1981 and was impressed with their bulk food section and that, yes, they sold beer too but most grocery stores sold beer in NY anyway. What's fantastic is that they took the trouble to jump through the hoops that the PLCB put up in order for them to be able to sell beer. Hats off to them! What a concept, buying beer (and in NJ, wine) in a grocery store! Great selection of craft beers. Now you've got me started...