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Jan 1, 2011 01:28 PM

Best Value Grocery Shopping in Westchester?

I would love to begin the New Year by saving money on groceries (in this economy who wouldn't :))

Are there any supermarkets or grocery stores in Westchester that are "good value"?

Fairway in Pelham.....prices starting to soar.
DeCicco......nice, won't go near it.
Stop and Shop ........a dive, and way overpriced.
Shop Rite and A & P..... Unless the sales are substantial I don't bother because they hike prices on everything else and you don't save.

I haven't been to Viva Grande yet; are they good for anything else besides produce? I really wouldn't mind traveling once a month to do "big shopping" to save money on groceries. Would love to hear your suggestions.

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  1. Trader Joe's has very good prices on some things.

    1. I have no idea what the thinking was at Fairway. They started out surprisingly cheap, and in a short time they jumped to surprisingly expensive (but still a great selection). Guess it was a pre-planned strategy, but it just p-ssed people off.

      16 Replies
      1. re: addictedtolunch

        I'm also upset about Fairway's price increases. But I don't know that it was planned for a few months after the opening. I shop in their Paramus store as much as I go to Pelham and the prices in both places were up at the same time. Maybe they needed money to open the Stamford store and decided to raise prices everywhere.

        1. re: MisterBill2

          They are cheaper if you want Palacio Chorizo. At $6.99 it is the lowest price ever. And it is the closest to me.

          1. re: jcmods

            You can still find a few things cheaper at Fairway, but they are raising their prices little by little. I stopped purchasing chocolate covered pretzels (among other things)which were at $5/lb. when they opened and now they are at $7/lb. I've decided to start making the myself; I make way more and save, and they go fast here, my boys love em.

            1. re: lilgi

              Are any of you complaining to Fairway about their price increases? It's amazing how everyone is seeing it, their sales must be affected by it I notice they're advertising 3 weeks of samples in the stores. I wonder if that's to get people in due to a drop in sales.

              I did mention the prices to a cashier and posted on their Facebook page. Maybe we need to make it a group effort.

              1. re: MisterBill2

                Misterbill, I think that's an excellent suggestion. It makes sense to try since they have less business now.

              2. re: lilgi

                The price of wheat is way up, not to mention transportation costs; did you ever consider it's not them but that the manufacturers are charging them more in the last month or so. Because they are, across the board, there's very little that is the same price as early December right now and it's not just Fairway. So there's not much choice on their part. Grains, oils, meat (all connected believe it or not) and then diesel fuel to get it to them. And oil costs affect the cost of packaging too. It's a sad situation for us all. Are you noticing prices at other stores by any chance? Oops I see Stew Leonards mentioned and have never been, we have Best Yet here on Long Island for the best deals luckily. Stop and Shop here is a total rip off but good quality. Sorry to butt in, Westchester! You're making me scared to do the hour drive into my nearest Fairway, which I've been itching to do lately.

                1. re: coll

                  Coll, I really do recommend Fairway for so many specialty items! Make a list of all those special things that you desire, just try to refrain from getting anything else there, anything that you can normally get by you.

                  I found an ethnic little c-town right by me that fits my needs PERFECTLY! I went in this weekend and was able to restock all those grocery items that supermarkets have been hiking up like crazy. I was very happy! Between Viva Grande, C-Town and Stews I think I'll be okay, and on those days where I don't want to be everywhere I'm fine with the small c-town grocery store (even TP, papertowels and the sort, probably won't renew BJ's/Costco). Meat was good too, just not a large selection.

                  Welcome to Fairway, Westchester!

                  1. re: lilgi

                    We have CTowns here too, those are my kind of supermarkets. Compare too, I think there might be one up your way. You probably don't have Meat Farms though? Yeah I know them all, food shopping is an addiction for me. I have a list started for Fairway down here on Long Island and everything on it I will be getting regardless of's a once or twice a year treat for me! Last time I went, I somehow spent almost $300 so I'm sort of afraid to go back. That Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee and a couple of lbs of lox put me over the top.

                    BJs I join every year, just because I get my contacts so cheap that it more than pays for the membership. Another place that you should make a list and stick to it! They are never that cheap on paper goods, I mostly buy 4 or 5 things that are always half the price of anywhere else, and that's it.

                    1. re: coll

                      Yes that's a lot, but I'll bet you brought home some really nice things! I only get a few things there once a month that I must restock on. As I mentioned, Feta (have yet to go to Central Ave for that), Coffee Beans, Callebut, Olive oil (I like their assortment), walnut oil, beef tenderloins seem to be well priced, but I stay away from their bakery items and nuts which are well over priced.

                  2. re: coll

                    No, I have not seen prices increase at other stores they way they have at Fairway. My local bagel store is still at 85c. Granted that is more than Fairway charges but they didn't raise them 20%. I doubt that bakeries raised the price of croissants by 20%, either. Kosher meat at Costco did not go up dramatically like it did at Fairway, either, and I doubt loose olives went up by almost 20% elsewhere.

                    I was at Fairway in Pelham today. I did not make a special trip, I was in New Rochelle anyway. I was looking forward to the samples they advertised and had sent email about. I got there and found nothing but empty trays. No cookies in the bakery (no tray at all), no spicy tuna rolls in sushi. And they were out of the kosher chicken cutlets that were on sale (they had over a dozen packages of the higher priced thin cut ones and at 3pm no one was in the kosher meat department to cut more). They made the mistake of paging the manager to come to the time card machine while I was at the registers so I went over and spoke to him and really let him have it. I asked where the samples were and he said they were making more. I told him the sushi guy said they were over (this was at 3pm). I told him that I was not happy about the price increases (some guy standing next to him shook his head in agreement) and that people on the Internet had noticed and were talking about it. I then pointed out that they had new competition with the 2 new Shoprite stores and that people were going to shop there less. I told him I come down from Yorktown to shop there and I was certainly shopping there less. He didn't make any apologies about the prices, I just told him to deliver the message to his bosses, or to Howie.

                    I went back to the store after I shopped next door at Modells for 20 minutes and they had put out some apple tart samples in the bakery, but the empty plate and tray were gone from sushi, so I guess that was their answer to the missing samples. At least I did not make a special trip there. I ended up only spending $8, the least I've every spent there. I didn't even buy the croissants they had on sale (which brought them back to the old regular price, as with the bagels on sale), since they decided only to put the plain croissants on sale, even though the almond and chocolate croissants are normally the same price as regular.

                    1. re: MisterBill2

                      That's how much that place has changed since it opened. It probably hasn't phased me much (the emptiness) because I'm in and out for small things. I'm glad you didn't make a special trip.

                      1. re: MisterBill2

                        Everything I buy at Fairway is expensive to start with, unfortunately. The specialty items you can't get anywhere else. Haven't been there since last year, but will visit soon and see what's going on down here. I wonder if your new stores were cheaper than usual for their grand openings?

                        1. re: coll

                          Yes, when they opened everything was very well priced; now except for their specialties, they are just like any of the other dirty supermarkets.

                          1. re: coll

                            No. The prices at Pelham and Paramus went up at the same time around the time that Stamford opened and their prices were also the same. They apparently did it chain-wide.

                            1. re: MisterBill2

                              Ahh, thought it was a gimmick to bring people in.

                  3. re: MisterBill2

                    Some things have been creeping up in Stamford since opening but they say it the cost of the gas driving the prices.

                2. I've bought plenty of good citrus, tropical, and summer fruits at Viva Grande for very low prices. They have a meat counter too which I've never tried.

                  I don't know why so many people here dislike Stop and Shop (unless they mean the bought as opposed to built stores), they offer good prices on filet mignon, veal chops, lobster, london broil, liver, salmon..... Shop Rite too, there's one about to open in the old Burlington Coat outlet on Central Ave by Ardsley road that will surely have promotional discounts. Costco's annual fee and family sizes may not suit you, but they have great buys not only on packaged items (their specialty) but seafood. Also check out Apple Farm near the County Center if you haven't already. Trader Joe's customers are pretty budget conscious, and lots of them are wealthy.

                  Tell us what foods you're especially looking to save on and we'll give you more tips.

                  1. I am in a quandry regarding supermarkets in general, although your question regarding value is even more intriguing. I think Stop and Stop is vile for anything that is non-perishable. Every time I am there, the meat section in particular "icks" me out. A&P is not any better, in my mind. Enjoyed Fairway when it first opened, but from me its a haul.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: MRS

                      Mrs, missed your post as I was typing. Agreed!

                      1. re: lilgi

                        I feel as though I spend so much time going to various stores and shops to get what we need b/c i just can't get it all in one place. You're not offending me regarding Stop and Stop. It's not like we use such " specialty" items either where you'd really think I HAD to go to specialty shops. That said, after numerous packages of chicken opened that were "fresh" according to sell by date that ended up stinking like something died, I find myself going to the butcher. Costs a fortune, but I've never gotten anything spoiled. I have had so-so results w/ freshdirect. Nothing seems to do the trick.

                        1. re: MRS

                          Mrs I am sooooo working on this, I hate to be all over the place. But at least if I could save money on the bulk of my groceries I would be ahead.

                          1. re: lilgi

                            MRS, I was all over the place today. I still have hope...

                      2. re: MRS

                        I think you mean perishable? Meats are. I don't like Stop and Shop either but the A&P in Mt. Kisco has good meats - BUT - I guess with the bankruptcy they are ordering less because it is hard to find grocery items that should be on the shelves. I now find I have to go to more than one supermarket to get all the items on my list. Shop Rite in Bedford Hills is where I end up for the stuff I can't find at Shop Rite. I do like Turcos in Yorktown but it is not practical for me to do my weekly shopping there as items are limited. But they have good meats, great bread and good produce.

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          oops... you are right. I meant things like meat, dairy etc... those would be perishable. was spacing out a bit.

                          1. re: MRS

                            If you can't space out New Year's weekend, when can you?

                      3. Spa, I really felt Trader Joe's wasn't in my budget, and ended up walking out right away, but I think it has to do with what I shop for. I'm not sure if Trader Joe's is the place to go if you're heavy on meat, dairy and produce and I haven't been there in a long time. Has this changed at all?

                        Addicted, you're right, a lot of us are I think. Still I'm in there at least twice a week and would love to end that very soon.

                        Btw, hope I'm not offending with Stop and Shop. I have stopped shopping there years ago, but funny thing is that a few people that I've spoke to about this mention the same thing; that they haven't set foot there in years.

                        Proud, you're right a food shopping profile is probably in order and I'll be working on one; Stuff that I can't go without weekly are feta cheese in bulk, apples, dressings, herbs and lettuce, and meat and vegetables. I rarely visit the frozen section but for only very few items. Also cheeses, nuts, milk, cream, juice and water; I can't tell you how much goes on these items alone.

                        Bjs's and Costco are good, I forgot about those, but I think only a few times a year is enough and for certain items.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: lilgi

                          Grocery stores do need to make a profit, so I don't think you'll get the best prices on each thing you want at any one place.

                          That said, your weekly shopping list looks like one that's suited best to Stew Leonard's. I tend to go there weekly, TJ's every few weeks, and a normal supermarket (or Costco when I belonged) every month or so for staples. Part of the trick of good value shopping is to buy the things you like best/use most in bulk when on sale, and not at all when higher priced.

                          1. re: Elisa515

                            Agreed, Stew Leonard's is strong on value and quality, but it's a serious half-day stock-up trek. I'm doing well with Zeytinia's, an independent gourmet shop in Croton-on-Hudson. Fancy bakery/deli/seafood/meats/cheeses and specialities, but always lots of specials including deli, meat, produce, dairy, and specialty ethnic i.e. oils, biscuits, grape leaves. Fresh focaccias ! Crenshaw melon in season - also salad bar, catering, prep foods, all top-notch when you need 'em. Nice staff too.

                            1. re: upcounty

                              I live in Croton, so I shop at Zeytinia often. I should have mentioned them in my earlier post, but I tend to think of them as local (and small), not the sort of place people would make as a destination from a distance. The other places have a variety of different stores.

                              If I'm only going food shopping, I only make the trek to Stew's (and TJ's) if there's a really good reason (big party, serious need to go for a drive). I try instead to incorporate those trips into other driving I'm doing--Danbury if I'm already in Katonah for something, Yonkers on the way back from NYC, etc.

                              We are very lucky to have Zeytinia, and it's often surprising all the great values they have--especially if one keeps an eye on the sales and gets a frequent shopper card (discounts up to 10% on non-sale items).

                            2. re: Elisa515

                              Elisa, thanks for bringing me back to Stews though I feel this is all still a work in progress. I'm glad it took me away from Fairway for a while at least and I picked up the seafood I needed (yay!)

                              1. re: lilgi

                                One thing I find helpful is that I get the weekly email from Stew's, which reminds me to go to their website for all the specials each week. The specials run Wednesdays through Tuesdays. This helps with menu planning. You should be able to find out weekly specials at supermarkets online, too, and I know Fairway specials are on the web.

                                Once you get into the habit, you should be able to limit your actual special grocery trips to one store once a week, even if it's different stores each week--and then try as much as possible to visit stores as brief side trips when you're really doing something else, and you can also keep your costs reasonable.

                                1. re: Elisa515

                                  I'm always reluctant to buy large amounts of meat at a time since I don't like to freeze any of it. I think it changes the texture; does anyone else think this? I have to plan out my week better, but I would still like to find a place not too far that will keep me out of Fairway.

                                  And yes, a good reminder to pick up those flyers from Stews :)

                                  1. re: lilgi

                                    I don't buy large amounts of meat (except I'll buy a whole NY Strip or ribeye from Stews, have them butcher it, and freeze it by wrapping each steak separately and tightly with plastic wrap and then putting into zipper bags after squeezing out excess air), but I tailor what I make most weeks to what is on sale. I buy lots of canned soda when it's on big sale, same with the good canned tomatoes, etc. And if I have a particular recipe in mind, I try to be flexible and change to another if some of the ingredients are too pricey or don't look very good. I keep most of my favorite recipes on my smartphone (I use Instapaper for this--let me know if you'd like more info on how I do this) so I don't have to worry about shopping lists.

                                    The online flyers will help you plan out where to shop, rather than just checking when you get to the store.

                                    1. re: Elisa515

                                      I meant to get back to you on this, I was curious about what you said about smartphone. Would you be able to tell me more about that?

                                      After you mentioned looking online for the sales at Stews I looked after I shopped and was happy to see that I attacked what I needed that was on sale, though I just kind of stared at the standing rib roast at $6.99/lb on sale; almost took one home but would have been down another 35 to 40 easy. Maybe next time.

                                      1. re: Elisa515

                                        That is a good system; I use some of those websites for the same reasons but you've got me beat hands down!

                                        I have also gotten rid of all my clipped recipes, but I have everything retyped and placed in a binder, inserted into plastic sheets. I also adjusted the fonts on each so that the recipes read on only one side. It was a bit of work but I'm glad I did it; maybe a grandchild some day will be glad I left this behind. Also I prefer to work with these in the kitchen than my laptop. You're right though, this info does deserve another thread.

                                    2. re: lilgi

                                      I don't freeze meat as a rule - I do freeze chicken. I think it changes the texture as well and I especially do not like filet if it has been frozen. That being said, we had wonderful strip steaks this summer at our friends' house and they bought the meat at Costco and froze it. It was fantastic so maybe it depends on the cut.

                                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                                        I probably should have mentioned a few meats that I do freeze; like you chicken, rump roasts that I use for pot roast, sometimes pork, ground beef, and some fish.

                                        The meat that I'm really set about not freezing are usually the ones that don't get cooked all the way through, and we make lots of steak here, different cuts. Also if I'm making tuna steaks, lamb or ground beef for burgers.

                                        Interesting about the strip steaks, that's one I would never have considered freezing and now I will reconsider.

                                        1. re: lilgi

                                          I know. The tasted like they came from a great steak house!

                              2. re: lilgi

                                Cheese and cream: Elisa is right, go to Stew. Trader Joe's is known for cheeses, but I'm unfamiliar with their comparative quality and prices.

                                Apples: Viva Grande, I like their Macintoshes.

                                Dressings: Trader Joe's has great olive oil at a fraction what you'd pay for Colavita, Bertolli, and even some X-brands. Same with their balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Something like honey or sugar you can probably get away with just buying store brand.

                                Herbs and lettuce: Viva Grande has a large array. They have all kinds of leafy vegetables.

                                Nuts: Trader Joe's is known for their selection and prices.

                                Water: Get a filter for your tap if possible, otherwise Trader Joe's, unless their superior prices of gallon jugs when I bought them a few years ago are no more.

                                Juices: Hopefully some of the others will contribute their knowledge, I haven't bought pasteurized or from-concentrate orange juice in a while.

                                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                                    Right by New Rochelle train station, on Main Street/US-1 and next to Trinity St Paul Episcopal Church. They have their own parking lot.

                                1. re: lilgi

                                  I buy organic milk and eggs at Trader Joe's for a fraction of the price charged at the ShopRite. I don't usually even look at the produce or meat. But I also do recommend them for nuts, cereals, oils, pasta, etc.