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Fresh & Easy stores - when will they open?

Anyone know when any Fresh & Easy stores in the Bay Area are opening? Website, FB, Twitter are useless:

Mission & Rousseau
31049 Mission Blvd.

Tasman and Fair Oaks

A and Hesperian

Middlefield & Rengstorff
Mtn View

Bird & Minnesota
1409 Bird Ave.

Jefferson & Imola

Beck ave & West Texas
649 Beck Ave.

Oakwood and Springs

Alamo & Marshall
941 Alamo Dr

Elmira & Nut Tree
615 Elmira Rd

Bird & Minnesota
1409 Bird Ave.

Almaden & Curtner
2306 Almaden Rd

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  1. That is a good question. They haven't opened any stores in Sacramento either. I posted a similar question on the chains board hoping someone in the know may know.

    1. This guy's blog has been tracking Fresh and Easy's progress since Day One, and speculates that they may open their first NorCal location in SF by the end of the year (or early 2011). It seems that the rest may continue to stay vacant until next year.


      1 Reply
      1. re: alina555

        thanks, for some reason when I first came across it in my search I assumed it was part of Fresh and Easy so I never checked it out.

      2. The news about F&E is really contradictory.

        A few months ago, I read somewhere that they were having problems due to the downturn, and had put all their Northern California plans on hold. Then a few days ago, I read on mercurynews.com that the Willow Glen store is only slightly behind schedule. Then I read in the paper Mercury News today that their Northern California plans are on hold.

        1. Sfgate mentioned it's coming to the SF Bay Area Early 2011:

          3 Replies
          1. re: hhc

            No mention of the location at 32nd & Clement where the Richmond Review reported they were opening.

            1. re: baron45

              First CVS then perhaps F&E but that looks somewhat problematical

              1. re: wolfe

                Just bumping this thread up because there is now a banner up at the 32nd and Clement location (has been for about a month), although the construction progress does not look very significant.

                Even more surprisingly there will a Fresh and Easy location in Pacifica. The building has already been renovated (on the outside), but no store fixtures showing up yet. There is a big sign on the building.

                This is located in the Pedro Point strip mall, which is the last turn off in Pacifica before you head up to Devil's Slide. It's on the west side of Highway 1, right across from the larger mall that has the big Safeway.

                Great news for more shopping choices in both areas.

                Both locations are listed on the Fresh and Easy website as "now Hiring".

          2. From the website, now Hiring at these stores:
            Mtn View
            Saratoga & Payne, SJ
            Mission Blvd & Rousseau St, Hayward
            Walnut Creek
            Imola & Jefferson, Napa

            1. Wouldn't hold my breath on all of those location opening. I recently moved out of Bakersfield, where they built several stores two to three years ago. Of the six locations, three opened relatively soon after completion, two opened early this year (after sitting unused for almost two years), and one remains unopened, despite it being fully complete and ready to go.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DarkRose

                Here's the latest from that www.freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com blog about which Fresh & Easy stores are opening in Northern California and when. Says March-April, maybe a couple in February.

                http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com/20... and http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com/20...

                This is pretty interesting too:


              2. From SJ Mercury:
                SJ (Bird & Minnesota) & Danville - Opening March 2, 2011
                sometime in March more stores: Pacifica, Concord, Vacaville, Modesto, & Walnut Creek
                April: Pleasanton, Hayward, Napa, & West SJ (Saratoga & Payne)
                Two SF stores - from the blog in MitchForFood:
                "5800 Third Street residential condominium project at Third Street & Carroll Avenue in San Francisco in the early summer of 2011"

                1. The Pacifica store will open 03/09/11.

                  1. Best way to track the opening dates is on the Fresh and Easy website "find your store", be sure to insert the comma after the city name


                    Pacifica has an opening date of March 9, there are a few stores opening March 2, though, including one in San Jose and Danville

                    I'll just warn everyone that opening day is usually a mad house and unless you have a special reason wait a few weeks.

                    San Francisco 32nd and Clement is hiring.

                    For anything still just labeled "Future Store" continue with the breath holding exercise.

                    1. So, it's a bit early, but has anyone been to one yet? I hope to visit the San Jose branch tomorrow and would like to know what's good there.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: teela brown

                        There were a number of these threads when they opened in Southern Calfornia, so you could play around with the miserable search function here and try to find some. However the product mix has changed quite a bit, and I suppose it also depends what alternatives you have.

                        I do like almost everything with their own brand name on it since they are usually fairly additive-free and still taste good. The pint-sized gelatos are excellent. Things that usually stand out for me are the hummus flavors, strawberries (they seem to have a good supplier), fresh diver scallops, salmon patties, chicken breasts, fresh lamb & the eatwell brand of prepared meals that come with fish (not the chicken tender ones). For chicken meals there's one with couscous & a cucumber /sour cream side that I prefer.

                        Sometimes I'll buy the half off mark downs for taste-testing purposes or freezing if I know I like them. + just about anything of their brand on sale.

                        1. re: mlgb

                          Second the diver scallops and also like their house brand whole wheat pastas. I have had mixed results with their fruit.

                        2. re: teela brown

                          The Pacifica store is opening this Wednesday at 10am. I will report what i find.

                          1. re: pamf

                            Oh yes one thing I don't like is the cheap sliced turkey, etc.. Very salty, almost inedible. The higher end cold cuts are good.

                            1. re: pamf

                              I didn't make it to the opening on Wednesday. I was in line at the post office right before heading over there and one person who had been there said it was insanely crowded and the checkout lines were very backed up. I drove by and saw that the parking lot was completely packed and decided that I didn't have enough time to try it.

                              This morning, it was a lot calmer, although there were plenty of shoppers.

                              The store looks like a mix of a standard supermarket (like Safeway), Trader Joe's and a little bit of Whole Foods. They definitely do not have the high end cheeses, meats, seafood and prepared foods that you can get at Whole Foods or other specialty markets.

                              Unlike TJ's they have a lot of national brand products throughout the store and the prices on those seem to be competitive, or maybe a little less than the mainstream supermarkets.

                              For fresh produce, there was one aisle. With some items available by the piece, but a lot of others pre-packaged or bagged, like TJ's. All meat and seafood (didn't notice much seafood) was packaged, there is no service counter.

                              They have a lot of packaged convenience food items, pizzas, entrees, salads and sandwiches. Similar to TJ's and not particularly inexpensive. I was looking for some convenience today, so I picked up a few things which will come in handy over the next couple of busy days. We will see how they are when I get a chance to try them.

                              Their beer and wine selection was not impressive. For beer they had mostly national brands, can't really compare prices on those since I don't buy them.

                              For wine (rather small selection, even compared to the Safeway across the street) they had mostly unheard of labels, some of which actually have a "bottled for F&E" sticker on them. They also had a few very well known names (Kendall-Jackson chard or Korbel, anyone?).

                              Dry goods have a good selection, mix of house brands and nationals. I liked that they had a wide range of inexpensive Mexican herbs and spices, El Guapo brand. I also noted a small gluten-free section.

                              Frozen foods look promising and the F&E line of frozen pizzas look good. The only frozen thing I got was the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato Truffles 12/3.99, looking forward to trying those.

                              About the checkout lines, all of the lines are designed to be self-serve, although there are staff members who will offer to assist you. There are short stations for small orders and then full size lines with conveyor belts for larger orders. I can understand why there were long lines on the first day, because self-checkout is pretty unusual in this area.

                              All in all, I am very happy to have a new shopping option close by. I will continue to check them out and see which of the house brands are really good. It looks like a good store for smaller households.

                              I received two $5.00 off coupons in the mail prior to the opening and they gave me a flyer with 4 more $5.00 off coupons, so I will go back to sample more.

                              They are having another "grand opening" event on Saturday 10- 2, so probably best to avoid it during that time. Otherwise the store is open 8am to 10pm

                              1. re: pamf

                                Don't knock their own brand wines til you've sampled them...

                                1. re: mlgb

                                  I didn't mean to knock anything. Tried the Hilltown and Wine Wright chards this evening, which were 6.99 and 7.99 respectively. Both were fine, everyday wines.

                                  I guess I am comparing their overall selection to what is available at the Safeway right across the street and the local TJ's. In my opinion, F&E does not offer as much variety, that's all I meant to say.

                                  If you have some favorite labels that you recommend, please let us know.

                                  1. re: pamf

                                    They do limit the number of items. My impression is that their "thing" is easy parking, wide aisles, fast checkout, and convenience based on a limited product line. It used to have more of a gourmet Whole Foods thing going with more fresh meat and seafood that needed a cook to prepare them. They kept a few of those items (like the diver scallops) but dropped others (striped sea bass).

                                    It doesn't appeal to people who like wood panels, touching the fruit and chatting with the checker. Nor is it a destination if you don't live in the hood. It's supposed to be a neighborhood market!

                                    Be sure to try the samples when they have them. I find I like perhaps 90% of what they make. Never had an issue with the hummus.

                                    If there's something you want to try you could ask. I have seen them take stuff off of the last day rack (the 50% section) and sample it. I usually just buy one and take it home to sample.

                                    Other than the strawberries I rarely buy produce there. I have a bettter source nearby. You will see whining about the produce but it's pretty much what Trader Joes does.

                                    1. re: pamf

                                      Here are the tasting notes on their own label wines. http://www.freshandeasy.com/Content/p...

                                      Barrel Ranch is Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez area. Interesting that they did not do a California Sav Blanc, guess they are sticking to the NZ suppliers for that.

                                  2. re: pamf

                                    Yesterday I made my third visit to the Pacifica store. It is growing on me. I'm still uncomfortable with all the plastic packaging but the quality of everything i have tried has been very good to excellent. The fresh never frozen Albacore tuna was as good in quality as anything I've had from Whole Foods. I don't think I could ever make this my every day store-it is just too sterile for me-and again the plastic-but I think it will have a place in my grocery store rotation.

                              2. The projected opening date of the Napa store is supposed to be the end of April. I can attest that the renovation on the old Vallargas store is happening seven days a week. I was really surprised to see construction work last Sunday as it almost looks like a ground-up construction.

                                1. I stopped by the one on Willow Glen...was sadly underwhelmed.
                                  For being called 'Fresh & Easy,' their fresh produce section was paltry.
                                  I picked up two products -- both were disappointing. Jalapeno Hummus (too acidic and watery) and Thai Red Curry (Not sure what this was really supposed to taste like, but it certainly wasn't Thai.)
                                  Prices were competitive, but not extraordinary. I may give them another chance but am not in any hurry to go back.

                                  1. In San Francisco, they will open on Clement Street at 32nd Ave. - sometime in the future, construction continues on the old Albertson's site.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Cynsa

                                      The www.freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com blog has an update on new Northern California openings of Fresh & Easy stores, including the one at 32nd & Clement in SF and 5800 3rd Street SF. Also couple others.

                                      The posts are at http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com/20... and http://freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com/20...

                                      1. re: MitchForFood

                                        Hah, all it does for reviews is refer to a Chowhound's favorite website, Yelp.

                                        1. re: mlgb

                                          It's a news, ect. blog not a review site. Therefore, why would it have reviews?

                                    2. Just drove by the Napa construction; there was a LARGE tarp draped over the opening so that a dozen+ men can keep working in the rain on the exterior, but I could see inside and that front-faced, open refrigerator displays have been installed and there are people working on getting lights and fixtures going.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: CarrieWas218

                                        At 32nd & Clement in SF will open in mid June.

                                        1. re: travelbug2225

                                          I don't get it. F and E has been open in LA for a year or so and I don't see where all the excitement comes from. It's NOT another Trader Joes! The prices aren't that great and the quality is not any better than your average grocery store. I was VERY underwhelmed.

                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                              Lucky for you if you have a neighborhood where Trader Joe's will locate. Some of the excitement is because F& E actually gives shoppers in underserved urban areas a choice. It's not supposed to be a destination, it's a neighborhood store.

                                              The prices seem far better than what I see in the major supermarket chains. Assuming your neighborhood has access to one of those.

                                              The complaints seem to come primarily from Trader Joe's fans and anti-Tesco propaganda. When they opened here there was a lot of picketing and pamphleting but that seems to have vanished.

                                              1. re: mlgb

                                                I was pleasantly surprised by a visit to the Pacifica store; and agreed, I wouldn't drive that far, but I'd shop there occasionally if they were nearby. Good prices on fresh meat and eggs, with a fine range from cheapest to organic. I picked up pork riblets for $1.99 a pound. Some deals on cereal brands although not as cheap as Target; nuts were cheaper than TJs. Got local smoked salmon, which I haven't tried yet.

                                                If I hadn't been heading out to dinner, I'd have spent more time looking at the frozen items.

                                                I was also fascinated by how much better their scanning machine is than the one at Safeway. I was able to check out, including items like a cantaloupe without a bar code, and it was painless and almost fun.

                                                Their target audience isn't Bay Area shoppers who live at farmers' markets and Whole Foods; it's too clean and sterile for that. And I can't remember the last time I bought a tomato that was waxed (but cheap: 6 or 7 romas for $1.29). Still, I was excited to find treacle and spotted dick for less than Falettii's or Molly Stone's. Right next to the squeeze bottle of La Dulcenera.

                                            2. re: allyoucanet

                                              This location at 32nd Avenue and Clement has been vacant too long since Albertson's closed. The neighborhood needs a grocery. We're happy to see the activity.

                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                Leah Garchik reports that the Fresh & Easy will open Wednesday June 22 at 33rd at 3132 Clement.

                                        2. Made my first visit to the Danville store yesterday. Bought two of their Indian prepared dishes; one was their take on Chicken Tikka Marsala, the other sort of a Chicken Korma, though called something else. Both quite good. Although I thought both were priced at $3.99, one rang up at $2.99. I thought this was quite a bargain and they rivaled many of the local Indian restaurants in terms of taste. The other bargain was blue cheese stuffed olives for under $4. Thats half the price of elsewhere and they were excellent.

                                          This won't replace what I usually get at Trader Joes or Lunardis, but offers a new quick alternative for mid week dinners.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Ian F

                                            "Chicken Tikka Marsala" must be some wacky Indian/Italian fusion dish, right? ;-)

                                          2. Visited the one in San Jose at Payne and Saratoga Aves tonight. My kid noted that it was like shopping at the Target grocery section. I think maybe because of the lighting and the way everything is packaged. There is a lot of F&E branded things alongside national brands. There were a few things like snack cakes, crema and queso fresco that seemed to be regional.

                                            The most interesting thing I saw for sale was the 5 lb bags of loose Good and Plenty, which I predict will be there for years. Also you get to ring yourself up and bag on your own.