HOME > Chowhound > Kosher >
Nov 25, 2010 04:54 AM

Review of Fairway Paramus

Disappointing and confusing. Used to shop at Fairway Manhattan years ago when I worked nearby. I found it a lot less confusing to navigate than Paramus. I felt like I was in a maze. Wound my way around the produce to find Swiss Chard here, Swiss Chard there, Swiss chard everywhere. Same with mushrooms and other items. yes, some were highlighted as Organic, but others were not and yet were separated from the rest of their ilk. I know there is a pricing strategy there, but i was too harried to figure out where the deal was. I guess they counted on that. The kosher: I don't feel comfortable at all with how they are handling it at this store. The bakery has items clearly marked with a toothpick of some sort with Marmorsteins name and symbol, but they are placed right up against all the other breads, all mixed up. It is very easy to make a mistake. The bagels are easier to understand as they are in drawers, but there are rolls in drawers right near the kosher that are not kosher. I also was disappointed by the lack of variety in the kosher breads. The rye I did take was quite stale (good for stuffing, but I had intended it for something else). There was no pumpernickel without raisins (no plain pumpernickel???) and the marble rye was not kosher. Where is Jerry Seinfeld when I need him. I want my kosher marble rye!!! Okay, the meats: Um, do they want kosher business?? The prices were ok, but the selection was paultry (paultry poultry). I was looking for kosher deli/appetizing and was shocked to find that this was not easily available or marked. After asking someone, I was shown a marked meat slicer right noext to everything else. I asked if there was kosher appetizing with it like salads, tuna, egg...Nope! Not even where they put all the kosher hummous. It appears that Kosher eaters only like humous on their bread as there was absolutely nothing else to be had. All the lox salads, carp, etc. were not kosher and they did not provide an area with kosher. I understand that this is not their priority. I was just surprised. I also did not trust that whole operation with the kosher meat slicer. Again, too mixed together. Cheeses? pathetic selection. I have seen much better in Kosher supermarkets and in the Fairway in Manhattan. Don't the kosher eaters in Bergen county like their cheese? Headed to the marked kosher aisle somewhat dejected and found...stuff I could find in Pathmark. Really? We don't have any impressive, high end Kosher items that we can showcase in the Kosher area??? As I meandered through the entire store, I did find some kosher specialty items mixed in around the other stuff, but--man--it was hard to find them. The freezer section was pathetic. We have some great frozen doughs and other items they could be carrying. Also, it was not marked as kosher. I won't be back any time soon. I feel that Trader Joe's does a much better job all around.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Pretty much my feelings with regards to the kashruth (more so on the meats...as there is specific concern about where the meat cutting is done in the back) and the layout.

    I thought they had a pretty good selection of cheese though....and as for cheese selection, we have so many other venues and the cars to get there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vallevin

      I was looking at the defined kosher section of cheeses right near the pickles. Very weak. Of course, you can go elsewhere, but Fairway should be able to showcase the varieties that are out there. This is what the non-Kosher consumer is expecting of Fairway. I feel that if they are going to have a kosher case, it should be high end. Same with the poultry/meat and the breads. I really don't feel the effort on their part. I see more variety of artisanal kosher pareve breads in my local Stop and Shop. That's fine. I could do without the crowds anyway.

      1. re: vallevin

        You should contact Fairways Director for Kosher he has helped me out in regards to understanding the stores and how kosher works. He has taken care of any issues i have had and brought in a few items for me- moshe.morrison@fairwaymarket.com

      2. That's interesting.

        i thought that ALL the Fairway fresh-baked breads are kosher, except for the special bins of bagels that are specifically marked "NOT KOSHER"....

        7 Replies
        1. re: hanistor

          I believe that the breads they make in-house are all kosher, but they also sell bread from many other non-kosher bakeries.

          1. re: GilaB

            In the Brooklyn location, they have a counter for bread separated by a plexiglass divider for kosher and non-kosher. Both sides and both slicers are clearly marked. The bins of bagels and rolls are also clearly marked.

            I was told that all in house baked goods are kosher. Pastries/pies/cakes are all dairy and breads are parve unless marked dairy.

            1. re: cheesecake17

              There was a glass case behind which were the workers. In it was a mixture of breads some with the marmorstein symbol and some without, all dumped haphazardly together. I assumed the bread I bought was baked on premises and fresh, but it was stale. There are shelves to the left of the glass case with various baguette-type breads, some kosher some not. Next to that are drawers of bagels and rolls. Most seemed to be designated kosher. I didn't like the set up and I don't like the meat slicer. I don't know why anyone in Bergen does not complain. These people do not respect nor covet the kosher crowd. If you don't want to complain, fine. I definately wouldn't give them my business.

              1. re: cappucino

                Seems like the Brooklyn and Paramus stores have very different setups. The bread case in the Brooklyn store is clearly separated. Worth a complaint- they may try to fix things for the better.

                  1. re: azna29

                    I'm not sure why you responded to me- I only pointed out how the Brooklyn store has a different setup.

                    The Brooklyn Fairway store has a small selection of kosher meat and chicken. Not like what I would find at a regular butcher. Once in a while, if I'm there, I'll buy something, but the price for the quality and selection doesn't compare to what I can get elsewhere.

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      Sorry, I was responding to the post in general not to you specific, I didn;t pay attention to where it went sorry about that.

        2. I wonder where your shopping if you think their selection is bad. Because I have not seen any better in the area. Shoprite is certainly comparable except they lack the fresh bakery and bread selection. For one stop shopping in Bergen I think Fairway or shoprite in paramus, I don't think anyone else compares. I don't have time to go to a seperate butcher for meat, grocer for fruits/veggies, baker for breads etc..and I certainly don't have time to drive to brooklyn. If you think there is a better place please let us know!

          4 Replies
          1. re: azna29

            I don't live in Bergen. All I can say is that I have seen a better kosher bread selection at Trader Joe's and at my local Stop and Shop. I have seen a better kosher cheese selection at the Fairway in the city. I'm sorry you are saying that you don't have anything better than this. I would never use this as a one-stop kosher supermarket. And, for me, Fairway should be high-end. This one is not offering high-end kosher products.

            1. re: azna29

              And the kosher meat/poultry selection was quite disappointing. I mistakenly thought that they were trying to appeal to the kosher consumer. I don't see evidence of that, but that's ok. They don't need to if they don't want to.

              1. re: cappucino

                Cappucino, it sounds like everyone that knows the area is praising the store. Maybe Bergen county does not have the volume/density of kosher Jews to support more, and Fairway is simply providing what the market can bare. It's unfair to compare one Fairway to another when they are serving very different communities.

              2. re: azna29

                In terms of exceptional products that happen to be kosher (e.g., French Dijon mustard, Italian pasta, oils, spices) there is no better store in Bergen County. The meats are generally excellent and there is no comparable fresh baguette sold in the area. That said, they do not carry the fullest line of kosher items - there is Glatt Express for that - and their cheese, while often very good, is inconsistent. However, no other store in the county comes with a comparable produce market under the same roof.

              3. The fairway definitely has more kosher products than any other supermarket in the bergen county area. We don't have as many orthodox consumers as brooklyn or queens/LI may have so if you go into my local stop n shop, they might have some empire chicken and some matza and that's about it for any non-general kosher items. So fairway is a major step up as are the greatly expanded kosher items in the local shoprite. They have both expanded their kosher selection in the last 2 years or so and I am very appreciative. Before, I had to go to the kosher market for meats and other items, the supermarket for produce and generic stuff and the bakery for baked goods. Now I just go to fairway or shoprite and am very appreciative of their efforts to maintain a decent selection of kosher products. I wish we had a larger trader joes in the area as it sounds like they really have some great stuff. We have one but it is very small and its not really possible to do any real shopping their.

                6 Replies
                1. re: azna29

                  Interesting what you say about the size of your Trader Joe's. I've been to many, many different branches of TJ's all across the country, and all the ones I've been to have been approximately the same size and carry all the same products. In fact, even the layout of almost every one is the same.

                  1. re: queenscook

                    The TJ's in Wilmington DE is TINY :( Infact itis the smallest in the area. The one in Wayne PA is a larger store as is the one in Philadelphia on 21st. The TJs in Ardmore is smaller than Wayne and way bigger than Wilmnmgton. The TJ's in Springfield VA is a nice sized store, but the one in Farfax VA is bigger. Plus these two sell wine too! TJs really do varry in size and layout and products carried.

                    1. re: Prettypoodle

                      The one in Paramus is just 3 short isles. They have a lot of good stuff, like breads, and dairy cakes and chocolates, but they have virtually no kosher meats or cheeses,no pareve cakes or household items. So it's usually not worth going there just for a few goodies. I have not been to any other TJ's though but I can only assume they have some larger full service stores.

                      1. re: azna29

                        They actually have a decent selection in paramus Fairway on kosher cheeses in the front of the store after produce they have a small section for chunks and imported cheese and by the dairy section they have an 8ft section of shreds and sliced cheeses.

                  2. re: azna29

                    I work with about 100 people who live and eat kosher in Bergen. None of the people I spoke to about this that day disagreed with me. Most do not frequent the Fairway. Again, that's all ok. I am not demonizing the Paramus Fairway. I just was so disappointed on the eve of Thanksgiving to find so little in the way of bread, meat/chicken, cheese and appetizing. You guys are welcome to enjoy what they do have and the way they choose to present it. I will be going back to my Stop and Shop for breads, my Monsey gigantuan kosher supermarket for high-end cheeses and appetizing and my other Monsey supermarket for meats/poultry (although, that is the bane of my existence). Many of my Bergen co-workers also make regular trips to Monsey to buy chicken/meat and other kosher supplies. It kills them too. And to whoever told me not to compare one Fairway to the other, I have this to say: Fairway is a chain and this Fairway did choose to open in an area that has a larger Kosher market than say--Basking Ridge--so I thought that they would be doing as much as the other I had been to. That's all.

                    1. re: cappucino

                      Yes, for a time we would also trek up to monsey for shopping but at the end of the day i found i could get what I needed at fairway or shoprite just fine and it wasn't worth the trip (or the crowds).

                  3. We questioned the Kashrut certification so we conatcted Fairway directly via email to find out about that Rabbi. Apparently he is his own Kashrut certification so it is completely based on his interpretation of Kashrut, not something like RCBC or OU. That's all I could get out of Fairway and the Rabbi never answered a few emails we sent, so Fairway is out as far as our friends (and us) are concerned.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Shlomo

                      If you are speaking of Rabbi Mermelstein he is widely accepted. I would suggest that rather than Kashrut by Shlomo you ask your Rabbi. Just so you know the Rabbonim on the UWS and UES of Man. certainly accept him.

                      1. re: jeffrosenbaum

                        Slight correction, the Rav is Rabbi Avrohom Marmorstein (tricky spelling), who is highly regarded and a true expert in kashrus. I myself have attended his shiurim at Minchas Chinuch - Babad Shtiebel, where he is the rav. As Jeff indicated, he is widely accepted by the rabbanim in Manhattan - see e.g., ckj.org lists, lss.org, ozny.org.

                        1. re: jeffrosenbaum

                          You will have to ask to your Rabbi....I know of 2 Rabbi's in Bergen County that say yes, and 2 that refused to give an answer.

                        2. re: Shlomo

                          I am sorry to hear you where not guided in the right direction as far as getting an answer to the validity of the Kashrut. I know Rabbi Marmorstein personally and can assure you that he holds to the highest standards of Kashrut. I am the Kosher buyer/director for Fairway so if you have any questions please contact me and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.