Fairway - Stamford
- amanda3571 Nov 2, 2010 07:53 AM
Fairway Eve is upon us and I thought I'd open up the thread so we can all post our thoughts on it over the next few weeks.
What are you particularly looking forward to?
Looking forward to:
Not looking forward to
frankly, I just think it's a shame that the darn place couldn't have opened on time so I could have enjoyed it before I jumped ship to the other coast. Jealous, but may all of your stamford food dreams come true, my friends.
(BTW, the unique grains, cheeses, olives are usually my favorite Fairway options... oh, that and the reasonable price).
Opening day crowds unbelievable. Total carnival, packed gridlock parking lot, cops directing traffic, jammed street, drove around for 15 minutes, couldn't find a spot, will be back when things settle... probably not until next week.
Will rely on more patient or persistant CHers for report and review.
Walked over during lunch. It is truly a sight to see. Its pretty crowded, but not mobbed (inside at least). Lots of folks in the neighborhood stopping in at the prepared foods section which includes a hot bar, salad bar, burger bar, pizza bar, panini bar, noodle bar, smoothie bar, coffee bar, etc etc.
The store itself is enormous. The produce, the olive bar, the cheese, the coffee, the fishmonger, the butchers, the bulk bins, the bakers, the PRICES! It's everything I've dreamed of and more. Debating if I should head back over after work for further investigation. It's definitely going to take a couple of weeks for things to calm down.
Made a brief stop to check it out tonight. I've previously been a loyal shopper at Shop Rite Commerce Park (exit 6), but my regular shopping trips will now be at Fairway. As good as that Shop Rite was (for the area), it just can't come close to comparing to Fairway on produce, cheese, meats, coffee, tea (loose selections!), olive oils, bakery, and so much more (bulk bins for various grains!!!). It's going to take awhile to get familiar with everything (this store is enormous), but so far it definitely meets my very high expectations! I'm going to have to go back and do a deeper dive, but based on my initial quick perusal, Fairway has clearly raised the bar for area grocery stores. It was fun walking around and seeing everyone just looking around in awe.
Realized I didn't have a whole lot of detail in my first post. Some random observations of items I noted:
- Small red potatoes and yukon golds, not just the large ones all the other stores have
- Loose bins of brussel sprouts (!)
- Loose bins of various lettuces
- Olive oil selection is overwhelming. They have tasting stations set up to try different varieties
- In addition to olive oil, they have all those other miscell oils (walnut, grapeseed, linseed, etc)
- Vinegar selection is equally overwhelming
- Cheese selection is extensive, though I don't think it will fully supplant the Darien Cheese shop for me.
- Cafe looked interesting, but was crowded and I didn't get in there to fully explore the options.
- Dairy selection wasn't as large as I was expecting - this may be the one area where Stews is better
Stopped by briefly this am. Thought I was back on 74th and Bway as I walked past the open bins of frutis and veggies outside the store. But when I got inside ... amazing room to move, unlike Manhattan stores with their crowded, narrow aisles. (Store rage there makes Stews look like kindergarten)
Forget Chelsea Piers (going in on Exit 9). Forget Shake Shack in Westport. We got the best part of NY in FFD cty. Here's one example, they feature 8 varieties of smoked salmon that are hand sliced to your order wafer thin. Plus two varieties that hadn't yet passed customs -- unfortunately the Irish and Scottish (my favorite back in the City store) The bagels are almost double the size and half the price of Liz Sue. As sweet as H&H.
One other difference from Manhattan -- friendly smiles and good mornings from everyone. The only thing missing from Upper West Side are the chefs picking the fresh produce in their clogs.
Also stopped by this morning in the rain and it was relatively empty, and I was a bit rushed. It would take hours for me to to thoroughly look at all the offerings and browse the aisles, as I have never been to a Fairway, but I was impressed by the range of selections in all categories - especially the cheeses, pastas and pates. Also noticed alot of kosher offerings and overheard talk of rabbinical supervision on site. I find the main entrance and layout of the produce aisles odd, but will definitely return when I have more time to meander. The prepared food "court" look promising, but because it was so early not much was set out yet. Initial impression - look out, Stews and Whole Foods!
I actually spent about an hour and a half today wandering the store, I had never been to fairway before lifetime stew shopper: No prob shopping a little crowded but not crazy.
Produce was impressive - pricing for many organics was cheaper than I had been paying for non-organic. Very good selection!
Cheeses - Amazing not just at the fancy counter in the prepackaged section an really interesting array of cheeses. Cheap No - but about the same or a shade more than trader Joe for many of them.
Pickles/olives/cornichons/capers in large barell-y bins. Blew my mind.
Deli - hand cut nova salmon that I could see through it was so thin! Very good variet for fairfield county of smoked fish etc. Spanish Chorizos in several varieties.
Hot bar/Rosticceria - Huge couldn't see it all
Meat: didn't see anything that made me go nutty
Fish: I liked this alot - LOTS of variety and it looked super fresh.
Baking stuff in the aisles(not usually found items, turbinado sugar (s) , key lime juice, many many natural extracts etc.) This surprised and impressed me.
A small but very well stocked supplement/natural remedy section - with someone who knew what they were talking about.
Many organic/natural/ food & cleaning items - whole foods better watch out.
As I told my friends at dinner it was Shock & Awe in a good way! Will be back.
Stopped on the way from NYC this evening. Being blessed with a WFM, Trader Joes & Numerous good farm markets within a mile has spoiled us,
But Fairway has potential & I would stop again.
The Bagels were large & Best I've had outside of NYC (Just toasted a blueberry as I write.) They were also on sale 2/$1.00
The morning star Veggie products were on sale for $3.99. We pay $3.79 regular price at our Target (Not in Fairfield Cty though)
The hot bar was a little disappointing, especially the mac&cheese and tortelini alfredo were dry & didn't hold up.
The Cone o'Fries for $2.50 is a great deal. They are a mix of large and small strips of potatoes fried to order (I was asked if I wanted them medium or crispy) they come with an assortment of spices & dips.
I was also disappointed that while there was a self serve hot bar, the salad "bar" is a prepackaged, pre-sized bowl of greens to which they will add your choice of ingredients for you.
The custom tossed pasta/noodle station was great for $6.49
The selection & quality (& price) of the Produce rivals even the best farm market!
Over all combined with the really nice Whole Foods in Darien and I'd be a happy shopper.
Popped in last night around 9pm - no crowds so it was easy to maneuver around the aisles.
Impressed with the selection of produce, the olive oil & basalmic vinegar selection & tasting bar and the whole bean coffee selection was nice. Loved the British foods they had, even though most of it was chocolate and candies, it was a blast from the past and I can get my McVities' digestives and hobnobs so I'm happy.
Overall, I was impressed with the selection... there was quite a few "high end" brands that I usually find at Balducci's. I'll probably come to Fairway for the bigger shopping but still pop into WF for quick shops since it's literally down the road for me. I rarely go to Balducci's with WF nearby and now with Fairway's having opened and with the selection I saw last night, I can't see myself going to Balducci's anymore.
I arrived this morning around 750 and had a chance to speak with other shoppers and workers before the doors opened. It was great fun. As desired, I have my Gaspe smoked salmon ($30/lb) , schmear on a bagel with some creamed herring ($6/lb). Salmon is outstanding , herring is moist and flavorful and WE NOW HAVE BAGELS HERE!!!!
Store is sensory overload. Produce was smaller than I expected but lots to choose from.
Other incredible fun stuff:
- olive bar
- olive oil bar and samples
- $4.99 filets and they will slice and pack. They are NOT the wasteful variety at Stews, incredible buy
- Fish looked as fresh as right off the boat
- meat selection looked great, not wild about Murray's as their chicken choice
- Raviolis to die for from The Ravioli Company
- Several cooked chickens in three varieties and 5 styles
- Coffee selection is outstanding
- rotisserie not open this time of morning
- lots of registers
Great first time to get the lay of the land
"Sensory overload" sums it up for me.
My wife and I popped in Saturday afternoon just to see what all the buzz was about. Here are some short takes:
• Saturday afternoon is perhaps not the best time to visit this 80,000 sq. ft. mega store.
• Staff is exceedingly polite and helpful.
• As with any natural/man-made wonder, gawkers will list to port and starboard as they navigate the aisles. Fortunately, the aisles are pretty wide. There are choke-points in some areas but familiarity will keep you off the shoals.
• THEY DON'T CARRY BEER YET! Hopefully they will in a few weeks. If the beer selection is anything like the olive oil selection, we should be in for some good times. Time will tell.
• USDA Prime meats. Oh yeah.
• Good-looking produce. I didn't take inventory but everything I saw looked pretty good.
• Bagels. House-made bagels. Only a churl could cavil.
• All the household basics appear to be there: paper towels, toilet paper, canned goods, etc.. One-stop shopping.
• Seafood appeared fresh but I won't really know until I buy some. I'm pretty picky about my seafood.
• Parking at prime time (1 p.m. on Saturday) was tough but not impossible. Stamford's Finest were on-site to insure a measure of order and dignity.
• Double-wide baby carriages have no business inside a food store.
• Prepared foods are not my thing. There's plenty there if that's important to you. Don't expect a Harrods Food Court experience.
• Cheese! Wallace (Wallace and Gromit) would be very happy.
• Most, not all, check-out counters had baggers.
• Floors can be slippery. Deb stepped on a grape (an insurance cliche?) and went down hard. Staff immediately ran over to assist. She was shaken up a bit but walked it off.
At the end of the day, Fairway both impressed and intimidated me. I didn't buy anything today, it was strictly a reconnaissance mission. I'll try a few mid-week visits at various times to see if I can cotton to this new guy on the block.
Second the sensory overload comment. I'm usually a pretty efficient shopper, but wandered around with a dazed look in my eyes in the hour I spent there Sunday AM. I think this might sway me from my ShopRite/Commerce Park exclusivity.
On a side note, when I got home, and unpacked my groceries, I had a $40 prime, dry-aged Porterhouse and 3/4 of a pound of chicken cutlets among my bags, which I didn't buy...door prizes, or mistake? I imagine there is a pi$$ed of shopper out there somewhere, short a pricey steak. (No, I didn't take it back, as I got home just in time to unpack, and dash off to Redding for my daughter's soccer game. And my conscience is bothering me a bit, too, but not sure bringing it back a couple days later would benefit anyone at this point, so I imagine I'll get a taste of what their steaks are like, and use that to soothe my conscience, if not my karma.)
Went around 5pm Saturday...parking crazy and inside was crowded for my taste, but not sure what is usual for this place. Sampled and bought 4 kinds of cheese (employees friendly and helpful), chocolate (milk chocolate salted caramels, and several of my favorite organic chocolates for reasonable prices), and my most favorite purchase: pistachio oil. Going over to Home Cooking to see what to do with it.!
A little under an hour drive for me on the weekend so I won't be a regular but will certainly make the trip for special ingredients or just for fun every so often.
Some modest thoughts:
Can one build a relationship with a butcher there?
Is the seafood selection superior to what your local fishmonger provides?
I'm not convinced that bigger is better for my needs. I wasn't overwhelmed with the big-box approach to grocery shopping at Fairview but I respect what they are doing.
Shopping should not be a scrum.
Just my $0.02. We'll see.
212 Prentice St, Holliston, MA 01746
re: steve h.
You make good points...similar to what I've been pondering.
I don't buy prepared food, which seems to be a huge part of this place. I have a pet peeve with "bins" of food where anyone can stick their hands in, I assume that is what everyone is talking about with the olive bars and such?
I get great fresh fish at FJord in Westport...is the selection and quality better at Fairway?
The olive oil selection sounds interesting.
The smoked fish selection sounds delicious, but is it better than I can get at Gold's or Balducci's?
In no way am I comparing Fresh Market to Fairway, but it reminds me of all the excited talk when Fresh Market was getting ready to open in Westport, and then it did, and there was really nothing there that drew me in.
I'm not going to schlep to Stamford just for great prices. So is it worth the drive from Westport for me? I guess I'll have to go once and see for myself, but I am enjoying all the feedback here!
The prepared food is NOT huge part of Fairway unless it's what you are looking for. Fairway is loved by its many fans who have shopped there for years and those who are just discovering it. If you are happy with where you shop, then stay there. I don't think people here should have to convince you that it's a great place to shop.
People have already posted what makes it great. You're questioning whether it's any better than where you shop. Based on your attitude, I don't think that anything other than going there yourself is going to answer your question, and then you can decide for yourself. I live in Northern Westchester and while I was not one of those who would drive to Manhattan to shop at Fairway, I do shop at their Pelham and Paramus stores (each 40 minutes away from me) whenever I am in the general area, although I do not make a special trip just to go there. Since you said you would not make the trip for lower prices, that won't help convince you (although I will say that they've raised their prices in the past few months on most of the items that we purchase).
They have signs in the other stores telling people not to put their hands in the food and that "violators will be embarrassed". They have paper towels at the olive bar so you can take a taste with the spoon that is in each container (at least that is what I assume the towels are for, I know it's what I use them for).
How can you tell an "attitude" from a post? I'm asking questions from those with more experience. Isn't that what this board is for? To learn from others?
There are many posters who have shared here that go to the same stores that I am mentioning. I would like their opinions, not to be slapped down by someone who is reading a "tone" into my questions.
I don't even understand what you are saying. You are clearly misreading all of my posts. What does NYC have to do with anything?
I am simply asking people who are familiar with both Fairway and the places I normally shop at to give me their opinion.
For example, jfood keeps talking about the smoked fish at Fairway. I know from past threads that he also shops at Gold's in Westport, so I would love to hear his opinion on how they measure up against each other. Simple concept...sharing opinions. No attitude, at least not from me.
"I get great fresh fish at FJord in Westport...is the selection and quality better at Fairway?"
sibeats, it's hard to match the quality of Fjord, but they sure come close. As far as selection goes, Fairway far outdistances them and tripled laps Gold, much less Balducci's. For instance you can get Scottish or Irish smoked salmon as well as 8 other varieties. But no one slices as thin as Fjord .. and of course there's no smoked marlin dip.
rather than schlep around to delicatessans, butcher and seafood shops, bakeries, produce and liquor stores, Fairway offers a shopper one stop high quality goods w/ good pricing. (not unimportant to most people)
I tried a suffed cabbage at the hot counter and it compares with my Grandpa's famed version.. Next time I'm going for the Kobe pastrami.. Shopping for pomodora fixings, they had three different San Marzano Tomato DOP from Italy and a special Fairway version, grown here, at half the price. On the other hand, red grapes, now just .99/lb at Shoprite are 2.50 at FW (contrasting with 2.99 at Shop and Stop)
I've found the butchers and fishmongers knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. Even though they're new, the training of the personel in this store is outstanding, with 300 workers coming from Stamford's depressed South Side, and they're going to revitalize the area just as much as Harbor Pt.
Will be interested in your opinion once you've been there because you're one of the contributors to this board I've always respected. Fairway may not be for you, just like Gold's and Balduccis are not for me, both of which are suburban ho hum, IMHO. But it's sure worth an anthropological field trip.
Thanks louuuu, I appreciate the feedback. One stop shopping definitely is appealing, especially if there is good quality and selection. My problem is that I'm one of those people who shops every day, so convenience is key for me. But if I can go to Fairway and stock up on things, I'm in!
I used to go to Gold's all the time for nova and kippered salmon...haven't been in a long time, it's just not like it was 20 years ago.
I'll have to get down to Stamford soon to check it out and I will definitely report back!
sorry for the late reply.
- i already yelled at some guy who put his hand in the bagel bins, and he stared at me like i was asking him to strip and run in the parking lot
- smoked fish. BTW I do not shop at Golds'. I'm in th opposite camp. I bought Gaspe smoked for $15/half lb. It had a mild flavor and a deep smoke. It was not as smokey as Mt Kisco but it did have a smokiness. More mild, less smoked can be found at Word of Mouth in Vista on 123 just over the NY border in Greenwich produce.
- Bagels - they are the big and poofy variety. I liked them but DW likes the Word of mouth better
- Produce - Apple pie and apple de jour (don't ask) were made and they both received a 10
- butcher - yes you can develop a relationship with him. I already did. In fact the head of the meat department is from my home town and the picture on the big poster is from about 10 blocks from where i grew up. The whole filets that were on sale are from females about 18 months old. He also walked me through the chickens and other items. His son is behind the glass representing 4th generatiuon butchery. He called Stew Leonard's PT Burnum...i already love that guy
- creamed herring. Not as sweet as Mt Kisco but i think the herring themselves were better, fatter and had more flavor
- fish dept - The fish looked like it just came off the boat. My comment to DW was that it is as fresh if not fresher than what i see at new wave
- short ribs were very large and meaty
- skirt steaks looked very nice as well
- i have not been a big fan of Murray's chickens, i like B&E. they do not have B&E
- olive bar had tons to choose from
- i sampled a few of the olive oils looking for a nice fruity one for bread, but the 6 i tried did not hit the mark
Hope that helps
i agree- new wave is the best.
however, new wave's retail store hours are not very helpful for us stamfordites that work long hours (and dont feel like schlepping north to whole foods)
to be able to get fresh seafood - at a reasonable price on a sunday - or even after work at 7 pm - will change the way i eat..
Thanks jfood, great info. I remember you mentioning Golds a while back...I used to be a regular there, but not for many many years. I do like Mt Kisco smoked salmon, the best of the packaged varieties I think. Village Bagels in Westport actually has very good Nova.
I'm not a fan of big poofy bagels...they seem to be very prevalent around these parts!
Looking forward to checking out the fresh fish at Fairway. Hopefully will make it there this week.
So I checked the place out. Way better than the one in UWS NYC that I used to live close to and hated with a passion going to (small, dingy, jammed every minute of the day, a little dirty) and happy to see this version of Fairway is 100x better.
Is it better than Whole Foods or Balduccis, my other 2 go-tos? Yes and no. Some thoughts:
Fish: wasn't blown away. Just looked "ok". Fjord still way out in front in seafood for this area. And I may give WH and Balduccis the edge over them too.
Meat: Again, not blown away. Balduccis and WH still edge them on meat and poultry I think.
Bagels: Good. Better than anywhere else I've tried in this area. Although lots of grubby hands diving into the bagel bins to grab them when I was there. A little off-putting!!!
Bread / Baked Goods: Looks decent, a little smaller than I would have liked. WH edges this one for me although not much in it.
Olives, Olive Oils, grains, dried goods, sundries: Fairway wins, great selection
Coffee: Good selection at Fairway but I hate how they put it out in bins. I'm picky about my beans and I don't like buying from a bin that exposes the beans to the atmosphere for who knows how long. I stick with buying my beans from espresso neat in Darien which stocks superb selection from small independent artisinal roasters.
Dairy: Comprehensive selection that dwarfs WH & Balduccis - quality about the same in all 3. But for cheese I shop nowhere else than the darien cheese shop. Way ahead of anywhere else.
Produce: Good selection and decent quality. Better than WH I think and rivals Balducci's...
Canned goods and everything else: Fairway has a bigger and better selection than WH or Balduccis with many of the same brands and more expanded offerings.
At the end of the day it's good and I'll be back but not exclusively. The others I mentioned are better in other ways and the basics are the basics which means for me time taken to get there means everything. Just my 2 cents.
1050 E Putnam Ave, Riverside, CT 06878
I finally made it to Fairway. Around 10 am on a weekday, parking lot pretty quiet, store pretty quiet, lots of people walking around looking at everything, I could hear lots of conversations comparing it to other places.
The produce was overwhelming in the sheer volume, seemed like good quality, all the basics, nice specialty items such as pea shoots, fresh horseradish, beautiful looking chards, kales, etc. Seemed about the same quality of Balducci's, they had some things Balducci's doesn't carry and vice versa.
Then I walked into the cheese area. Wow. Beautiful cases of amazing cheeses, and then also a huge area of packaged cheeses. It was really nice to see all the fresh Mexican cheese, something I can never find in FFLD County, at least 10 varieties. I bought a bunch of different things, burrata, smoked mozzarella, fresh mozz, queso fresca. Tried the smoked mozzarella last night, wasn't very smoky and a little dried out, a little disappointing. Will try the burrata today.
Tons of fresh pastas, raviolis, agnolottis, tortellini. Bought the provolone and prosciutto tortellini, had it last night with their vodka sauce. Sauce was tasty. When I got the pasta I was expecting a little gooey provolone with bits of salty proscuitto...it was basically a ground meat mixture with really no flavors of provolone or proscuitto. Disappointing. I also got a meat agnolotti which i threw in the freezer, will try that at a later date.
Got a few olive oils and vinegars. It was a little crowded in that section, so I didn't linger or taste, but grabbed a few familiar items. Got a Frantoia olive oil for $20 that is normally $26 at Balducci's. I'll definitely go back to check that section out more.
I was drooling at the jarred anchovies and italian/spanish tunas in oil. Really nice selection.
I got some kippered salmon at the smoked fish section, tasted it, very moist and delicious. Didn't get any of the smoked salmons, but they all looked nice.
Passed by all the prepared foods, sushi, pizza, etc.
Fish counter was okay. Nice variety, but the quality didn't compare to Fjord. I did buy some nice xlarge shrimp for $7.99/pound, can't beat the price, and they were very good. The other fish just didn't look all that great to me.
Passed by the meat section, looked a little at the poultry, etc.
Was not impressed by the bakery at all. Very small, and I didn't see anything that made me stop.
The dry goods are very impressive. I don't think I made it through half the aisles, but the variety of items is amazing. Just the flours alone...spelt...chickpea...coconut...tons and tons.
Checkout was easy, no issues except for a small pet peeve on the bagging. When I got home, everything was jumbled up, cheese in with brown sugar, bread in with fish. I always put things on the belt in groups of like items so they go into the bag together...not a big deal though.
So bottom line for me is that if I lived closer, I would spend more time there. I won't go for fish, meats or produce. I would definitely go if I needed a variety of cheeses, and would buy smoked fish. I can see going once in a while to stock up on oils and dry goods and once there get some perishables.
Glad to hear you thought it was reasonable. We were there Saturday afternoon around 3. There was a wait to get into the parking lot and it looked a lot busier than it actually was. When we got into the store it was fairly empty, certainly compared to Pelham and Paramus. it was interesting to see how they changed the layout in this store from the last 2 that they opened (Paramus and Pelham). The deli is in the back of the store at the others, here it's right after produce (almost where bakery is at the other stores). And it was almost empty, which really surprised me. Interesting how they have the bakery was in its own little corner, as was the prepared foods section (in Pelham it's really the center of the store). Not really easy to navigate either with a cart. Lots of registers open although none were actually sitting empty. I was really expecting it to be a zoo, has it been crowded at other times?
We got almond croissants (my wife and daughter like them)and they were as good as at the other stores. We met a friend from Stamford there and she picked up the flourless chocolate cake that is on sale. It looked good to me, I'll find out how it tastes on Thursday.
Saw the boss (Howie) there but he was talking to other people so I did not want to interrupt him.
Haven't read all of the replies yet, but I checked Fairway out the weekend it opened and it was a mob scene of course.
I was really impressed with the selection, but they are woefully lacking in some things you'd expect them to have, like rice noodles in the asian section or hominy in the mexican section. really?
i also think the staff, especially the baggers and check out people, are inept. They will literally give you a bag for every item you purchase. Talk about excess and waste!
That said, this is now my go to store. The prices are just ok.
Been there every weekend and here are my +/-'s.
- smoked salmon, 1 batch of gaspe ($32/lb) and 3 batches of fairway ($24). Liked the fairway better and the price is more friendly
- they have florida (versus cali) navels which are my favorite. price has rise from 3/$1.5 to 3/$1.70. still well worth it
- cucumbers have been great
- shallots as well
- honey crisp apples are huge and sweet
- honey roasted peanut butter. try a free sample at the place where they make the pop out things in the bakery area.
- sweet italian sausages. lots of fennel flavor, which i like and they do have a kick so they are not just laying back
- creamed herring. good the first day and much better the day after
- bagels are very good but not great
- salmon today was super fresh
- half gallon organic milk 2/$5
- Yonah Schimmel knish in fridge for halftime
Could do better:
- not fond of the butternut squash ravioli; thought they did not bring out all the flavor
- some people not using the tongs at the bagels
- 1/4 pound minimum at smoked fish. i only wanted 2 slices of sable and could not buy
- no way of telling which register is open. if there is a light to indicate it, then they are not using it
- cashiers are still learning the produce. this should get better with time though. they are super friendly and usually the cashier or the bagger know the difference between almonds and walnuts
- could use another smoked fish slicer. one is not enough
- no bialys today
- fish quality on some looked challenging especially the tuna today. some bronzini had good eyes others looked less than fresh. just be careful
Yes, Liz Sue's are a buck, much smaller, but more dense. Fairway opened at .50, so they've increased 40%. Lighter but firm, FW bagels carry novy and a schmear very nicely, setting off the the fish beautifully.
Overall, have found some prices are good (e.g. sweet pineapple at 2.50), other's just ok, but better values than WF, Palmers, Fresh Market, Balducci's.
Cast iron skilleted their bone in Prime Aged Rib Steak last night, which was sensational. Perfectly marbled, melt in your mouth tender, deeply flavored. Even at $23 lb., the steak surpassed my expectations. And this morning the Steakhouse aroma lingered in the kitchen.
Had their incredible sun-dried tomatoes as an app Thanksgiving, can't wait to try it on my grilled pizza before the snow flies. A taste of sweet summer sunshine, the best ever.
you gotta try the sweet sausage from the butcher. grill them with some onion and peppers and you would think you were on Arthur Ave. good fennel and a little kick.
btw - which novey did you like? tried the gaspe week one but have migrated to the fairway brand, a little less smokiness.
Eastern. Have been waiting for the Scottish and Irish to arrive. Yeah, considered the house (only 5.75 1/4 lb) on Sunday, but went for the Eastern.
Brings to mind my Halifax, Nova Scotia experience. Was looking forward to having nova at the epicenter and picked what looked like an authentic fishhouse. "We'll start with the Nova," I said to the waiter the moment he came to the table.. He gave me the fish eye (no pun) and asked me what the heck Nova was..
After a minute or two we got it sorted out. All the smoked salmon was from Nova. So "nova" is superfluous, and why he didn't know the term.
I've been there 3 times--great for more of the interesting products you can't easily find in Stamford, i.e olive oils, olives , cheese, etc
I am so unimpressed with the produce quality though. Although the selection is huge the quality is not. This is the way I judge a great supermarket. Last weekend I couldn't buy eggplant or cucumbers--all shriveled up, mushrooms were browning, and too many apples had huge bruise spots. The ones we did buy were tasteless--not good for a Macoun. Wish we had a Whole Foods here where I can always find fresh high quality produce.
Also I find the organization of the aisles very disorganized. You can find the same type of product in 3 or more different aisles. Although the clerks are very nice and helpful, each time I was there the stock clerks were in the way--a lot.
I'll continue to shop there but not as my regular shop.
I've been back a few times now and I too have noticed a steady decline in the original quality of the produce from when it first opened. The first time I went it was very good, now not so much. Last time I went was early this week. DId not buy anything. And I'm similarly unimpressed with the seafood and meat/poultry. I can get better quality / fresher items at WF and Balduccis. So for me, Fairways is only an option if I can't get to WF or Balduccis.
1050 E Putnam Ave, Riverside, CT 06878
i have not seen the same downtrend in the produce, but I buy limited stuff, cuc, FL oranges, mushrooms, peppers, apples and brussel sprouts. Those have remained pretty good.
the fish has high variability from what i saw. the salmon was excellent, the tuna was for hunger, and the 20 bronzini had half with good eyes and half with not so good eyes. new wave is still the standard for me for location, quality and price.
the sausage was last week's winner. the sweet sausage had a kick and lots of fennel, loved them.
the fairway smoked salmon sliced on premices for $24/lb is worth the trip and the creamed herring is excellent.
yonah schimmel knish was a nice big smile.
I did my first real full weekly shop at Fairway last Thursday (two other visits were more in the nature of sightseeing). On Saturday I had to return a half gallon of milk that had soured (desite a January sell-by date), and Today I went to use a container of Campari tomatoes for a salad, only to find that were all squishy soft and unuseable.--so that means another trip back for a return. In that same grocery order I had picked up a package of pre-cut butternut squash. When I went to cook it, I found that the pieces were all different sizes (with little chunks hidden under the big ones), making it difficult to cook it at all at the same time. I do appreciate the myriad choices at the store, as well as he pleasant service and short lines, but if the quality control for basics like milk and raw vegetables doesn't improve, I'll only be back for specialty items.
Snowed in with little in the frige, my husband found two Fairway shell steaks in the freezer. Once defrosted and seasoned (Penzey's Pork Chop rub), they cooked up beautifully on the stove top. These steaks were delicious and so much more flavorful than anything we've had from another Stamford market. I'm hooked.
Still like this place a lot,
- Like the idea that the whole Murray's chickens do not include the gizzards and guts in the weighing process. We do not use (i know i know)
- the smoked salmon is still great
- I had the filet for the first time this weekend. It is a female, young breed (per the head butcher) and has a mild flavor. If you like that deep rich flavor, then this will disappoint
- The bagels from this weekend are horrid. They taste like the crappy CT bagels I have grown to despise. they must have changed the purveyor
- The cashiers need significant training. after an enjoyable venture through the store you are confronted with "what's this?" on 50% of the produce. And they always forget to turn on their "open" light. Plus, what idiot designed the set-up. Given the neediness of the cashiers you need to watch them carefully (I do NOT want to pay red pepper prices for apples) and they have this enormous back of one screen blocking the view of the screen that is facing the customer. And they wander. STAY AT YOUR STATION!!!
bagels took a turn for the worse for sure, baugette still fantastic though
smoked salmon (eastern nova) still very good
fresh wild salmon was still good as well
has anyone had the sea scallops recently? was wondering if i should pick some up
crab cakes were good @ 3.99 per. nice kick of spice and a ton of lump meat
from the butcher -stuffed pork chops- the stuffing was tasteless and bland- never again
not loving their parma proscuitto from the deli. have had better elsewhere. also the serrano very dry- not worth the price
"fairway to heaven" coffee was fab @ 5.99/lb
fresh moozarella still good
pasta still good but they need a papparadelle cut. I have not seen it since the grand opening
they were out of basil- semi understandable day after christmas.... but i expeced better from Fairway
agree- cashiers are not well trained and constantly ringing incorrect prices. We waited a while on line as our cashier was resolving issues with the gentleman before us
I thought Fairway bagels were made in-house? Seems like someone should complain to the manager. What sort of stuff are they ringing up wrong? Presumably just produce? I had a problem at the Pelham store where they were constantly not taking off the tare weight when buying olives or freshly packed almond butter, but I haven't had problems with items being entered wrong.
They weren't just out of basil- on Christmas Eve my aunt could not find baguettes and parsley. Yesterday morning they were out of Applegate pig bacon (had to make do with turkey instead- blech).
I think that the cashiers will improve. My first job was as a high end grocery store cashier and I remember it took awhile for me to learn not just the PLUs but what was the difference between a mango and a papaya, having never eaten either. Meantime, I will enjoy the fact that they sometimes ring up organic as conventional, thereby saving me money. With the thousands of dollars I have spent at Fairway over the years, I rationalize this as my frequent buyer discount.
I have NEVER liked the bakery at Fairway. And I really don't like the prepared foods. This is an ingredient store, where you can get products that you can't get anywhere else all under one roof, and for a lot less.
Tough week for them with Xmas and the storm. I reached out to several of th managers and just spoke with the General Manager in Stamford.
Major kudos to Bakery Manager. She was about as professional as anyone I have ever met in the industry. I give her an A+++ and am confident that the Sunday bagel incident and anything else this week was an anomoly
Spoke with the General Manager who knew more about the event than I did. He had already discussed some of my issues with the department managers and I do not expect anything other than complete compliance and fixes.
Time will tell but I have to say that in the two conversations I had with Bakery and General Managers, these guys REALLY care. This is a no BS place and handles complaints like super-pros.
I will be back in force this Sunday morning per my normal routine.
i went last night and they had not restocked much from pre christmas.
no fresh salsa or guac, no chives, no almond paste, only a few balls of mooz left- mostly unsalted.
no cocktail weiners either! its NYE for petes sake! how do you not have cocktail weiners?
they need to get their act together- each visit for me has gone downhill a bit..
i had to stop at my junky other supermarket on newfield to pick up some necessities.
j food thanks for taking the time to express your concerns with the managers. i hope they step it up.
Jfood - Do you really rate the quality here higher than whole foods or balduccis? Or is it more of a all-under-the-one-roof type convenience thing that takes you back? Or is it price? I have stopped going all together now. The last straw was a few weeks back when I had the misfortune to sample their prepared foods for lunch. Never again. The panini sandwich and sushi were diabolical.
IMO the quality and service in whole foods and balduccis is vastly superior across the board.
Do not go to Balducci's but when compared to WF I think the quality on some products is comparable, but others not. BUT, the prices are significantly better. So do I think spending 50% more at WF is worth a 10-20% improvment in quality? nope, it involves the law of diminishing returns.
I like the produce (when they keep an eye on the ball), the sausage are great, enjoy the novey, bagels, knishes, milks, cheeses, mozzy, fresh pasta, honey peanut-butter, oils, etc. They are the only place with FL navels. Mrs J likes the beef better than me since it is young female and lighter in flavor than i prefer. And when I shop with the daughter she can get her organics without leaving her mortgage in arrears.
There are a few items I have already crossed off the list, the stuffed pastas are lousy and the cakes and cupcakes are not up to what is more easily accessible and better elsewhere, but those are all personal choices, Some of their pricing is Stew Leonardish which I am not a big fan of, a lot of their staples are more expensive than other stores, Check out needs some training and the set-up of the cashiers is not great.
They are only 2 months old and have addressed some of my concerns in a very professional manner, and the managers i have spoken to are committed to making this place great. Will it be my go-to place, not when I am 15 miles away and have Scotts Market 2 miles. But some of the items are worth a leisurely drive to STM on a sunday moning.
I'm happy that Fairway is here since it sends a powerful message to area grocery stores, fish mongers, butchers, bakers and so on.
Having said that, the place is a tad too overwhelming for me. This is not a knock on the Fairway model, rather it's a reflection of my preference for small mom-and-pop places, personal interaction and a sense of community.
Shopping, for me, is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace where pleasantries are exchanged, commerce transacted and you are secure in the knowledge, or at least under the illusion, that someone has your back.
Fairway doesn't work for me but I am very happy they are here.