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Dec 9, 2010 09:54 AM

Middlesex Turnpike: Market mecca

With the new, expanded Market Basket opening Sunday, just a stone's throw from H-Mart and Trader Joe's, Burlington will be a major grocery-shopper's destination. For those unfamiliar with the area, if you head toward rte 128 from those stores, but turn right at the traffic light just before the 128N on-ramp, and take that road a mile or so till it's end, then jog over to rte 3/A (Cambridge Rd) you will arrive at Roche Bros. Turn right onto Cambridge Rd and head south for a mile or so, to Whole Foods' Woburn store.

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  1. There is also China Merchandise on 3A and several Indian markets in a strip plaza, there is a Omaha Steaks (yeah I know) in the Capitol Grille mall, on 3S there is a place which sells a decent selection of starts in the spring, and Giles Fine Wines at the Whole Foods location. BTW, you can follow either 3 or 2A (from middlesex tpk S) to the new location of Fresh Pond Seafood arriving in Arlington. And Busa farms (there is a hearing on this tonight or tomorrow) is a short detour off 2A and there is a PIY rasberry farm between Rts 3 and 2A on Summit Ave in Winchester.

    That said, keep in mind that because of the Burlington Mall and all the nearby office parks, Middlesex Tpk can become impassable during the holiday season with any amount of snow. It can be especially hard to get out of the Market Basket parking lot when its at its worst.

    1 Reply
    1. re: itaunas

      Middlesex Turnpike is pretty awful most of the time along that stretch. The rest of the time it is very awful. It's nasty even on weekends outside the holiday shopping season. Thank goodness there is a traffic light by the ramp/road that goes to MB and H-Mart. Unfortunately, the same thing can't be said for Trader Joe's. Getting out of that parking lot and onto Middlesex Turnpike is an ordeal, even if you are just trying to make a right turn. Heaven forbid you need to go left.

    2. I get the circular in the mail - it's for 2 weeks this time, 12/12-24(6pm closing Xmas Eve). No mention of the new store but as there's only one circular, here are some highlights:
      smoked ham leg portions 99¢/#
      turkeys 59¢/# limit 2
      tangerine packages 69¢/#
      9 varieties loose apples 99¢/#
      green beans 99¢/#
      Brussels sprouts $1.49/#
      Better Than Bouillon $3.00
      2-liter Coke/Sprite/Dr.P/7Up/A&W/Schweppes 99¢
      King Arhur AP flour 5# $2.00
      OS Cranberry sauce 99¢
      fresh tilapia fillets $4.59/#
      fresh salmon fillets $6.79/#

      Odd that while MA law allows a supermarket chain to sell alcohol in 3 locations, MB only sells it in their NH stores.

      4 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        Ooooh, Better Than Bouillon - my refrigerator secret! That stuff is great for when a recipe calls for a cup of some kind of stock and you don't have any homemade stock in the fridge or freezer. What a nice price, but then again, we are talking about Market Basket. Oh and depending on which MB, they carry some of the less usual flavors of BtB, such as lobster. A few assorted jars in the fridge, and the opportunities for a nice warm and quick winter soup are endless.

        They did a two-week circular for Thanksgiving too, so I doubt there is any connection to the new store. Apropos booze, most MBs are pretty small and cramped. Maybe in the MA market they figure it is best to concentrate on cramming in regular supermarket fare because generally their competitors do not carry alcohol, while in NH they may feel they have to carry alcohol because their competitors do too.

        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          Your rationale makes sense, except that once they started opening mega-sized ones like Chelsea and Reading, extra space could have been allocated. The DWH location in Nashua has beer and wine, all in one aisle, if memory serves - so it's not like it takes a huge amount of space.

          1. re: greygarious

            Just speculating, but perhaps selling alcohol in three locations is not worth it to MB. No doubt there is all sorts of extra work that has to be done to support alcohol sales, from doing to paperwork to training cashiers and everything else between. Overall, that might eat into whatever profit three aisles worth of alcohol might generate. Heck, MB doesn't even have an official website, which might make a bigger difference to more customers than the availability of alcoholic beverages. So maybe not doing it is just another thing that MB doesn't do in order to keep their costs down relative to their sales.

        2. re: greygarious

          The circular I received was for the new store - opening sunday - it was for two weeks and had the specials you mentioned


          Looks as though Burton's Grill and 5 Guys will be coming to the old MB site

          3 Replies
          1. re: phonelady

            The restaurants going into this location seem like odd choices. Bugaboo Creek is also there. How many steak and seafood restaurants need to be in one shopping center?

              1. re: phonelady

                I just noticed that. Oh, loss

          2. greygarious looks like someone else agrees with your market research on this area... add Wegmans to the possible mix