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UES Fairway

Ia anyone else somewhat disappointed in what was finally and belatedly delivered?

The place is the usual Fairway complete lack of organisation - are they hoping to inveigle me into buying more? I know they are constantly tinkering with the layouts of all their stores ( I have been shopping there for 35 years). Maybe it is on the go Market Research and some refining will take place, can't happen too soon.

But it is a mess, add in lots of new customers unaware of the Fairway foibles it is one huge traffic jam with the same too narrow aisles. Albeit the customers lack, so far, the sharp elbows of the Westside. Not enough freezer spaces, too much floor space dedicated to produce despite street vendor competition.

Meat selection is too small, although the butchers are willing if you ask them to break packages etc.

Hot takeaway is an accident waiting to happen. It is simply too small for all that they have tried to cram in. With luck changes will take place, until then, despite the inconvenience, I will continue to use Harlem for any major shopping especially as several favourite items are not going to stocked on 86th St - I checked.

So yes it was worth the wait for the convenience but it has a long way to go before it is as good as many of the other stores - admittedly larger. They need to do an assessment of what sells and what doesn't to free up some much needed space, but hopefully in six months time they will have got it right.

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Fairway Market
240 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

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  1. I am thrilled with the new Fairway. Considering the alternatives of Gristedes and Food Emporium, Fairway is heaven sent. Their prices are the best of these three stores. BTW, not interested in shopping at Costco or any other store out of the immediate vicinity.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ellenost

      Oh don't get me wrong, I too am thrilled to have a Fairway in walking distance! Only at this point it needs refining and I am sure that will happen to reflect the local shoppers. But chaos has always been part of the Fairway experience - along with great products at great prices. I never shopped at the local alternatives except in desperation, only at the other Fairways to which I am comparing the 86th st store.

    2. As a longtime Harlem Fairway shopper (lucky enough to have a car and use it) who lives 10 blocks north of 86th, I'm of course happy to see it open and thriving. But it's really awkward and uncomfortable, split on 2 levels, with barely any room to move. I suspect locals will learn the protocols, but for me, at least, it's only a backup. Some low prices might be introductory specials. I never have shopped regularly at any of the other supermarkets, and don't plan to.BTW, a kind word for Costco: super savings on paper goods, spices, soaps and detergents, seltzer and sodas, tuna, some fruits, basic cheese, and other similar staples--not always in huge packages, either. Expected little, but it's a regular run now.

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      Fairway Market
      2350 12th Ave, New York, NY 10027

      Costco
      517 E 117th St, New York, NY 10035

      2 Replies
      1. re: bob96

        Like you I was pleasantly suprised by Costco and now do the bulk of my shopping there now. Prime meats, cheese in perfect condition although a very small selection but well priced, fruit that is the very best. Even for a two person household it makes sense and not just for the basic paper and cleaning products. I even found my tuna in olive oil there so the choices, while obviously not nearly as wide as Fairway, are more upmarket than most people imagine..And for those people without a car and think it is impossible there is a fleet of cars only too happy to take you home for about $10, and you can go to Target on the same trip! UES shopping is finally improving, not before time.

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        Costco
        517 E 117th St, New York, NY 10035

        1. re: bob96

          We think alike. I live 6 blocks north of the UES Fairway. I also drive to the Harlem Fairway. I suspect that I will continue driving to that one on many occasions.

        2. I guess if you shop regularly at the Harlem store, it's not so impressive, but I have been taking the bus crosstown to shop at the Broadway/74 St. Fairway for years, and I am thrilled at the E. 86 St. Street store. It's less than a block away from me! It seems far less chaotic than its counterpart cross town with a 100 percent more friendly and helpful staff. I've had no trouble finding what I need, although I do miss the convenience of having fresh, already cut and packaged vegetables available, like cabbage, squash, broccoli and cauliflower (they do it with fruit so why not?). Maybe that will come. However, nothing in the immediate vicinity compares. The Food Emporium and Gristedes are a joke -- and overpriced jokes at that.

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          Fairway Market
          2127 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

          1 Reply
          1. re: Julia

            I agree, totally love the E 86th St store and find the check out very efficient, don't care about the crowds I'm just happy it's there...but my heart belongs to Costco!

          2. Fairway is heaven sent-I was so over getting ripped off by Food Emporium and the nastiness of some of thier employees especially in the deli section. Its good that the hot food table not too big-best to keep small with good selection as they now do. My only gripe thus far is thier lobster salad had way too many onions and celery-feels like I am eating an onion and celery salad instead of lobster and at almost $40/lb they should make lobster the star of the salad!! Hope the chef reads this!!

            6 Replies
            1. re: UES Mayor

              Yes compared to other UES supermarkets Fairway is a god-send, which is why I have been shopping there for decades despite the journey and was thrilled to know that finally I could go there on food rather than bike/bus/car. My complaint was not that it isn't any good - it's better and cheaper than any of the other supermarkets who have been ripping us off for decades. I am just comparing it to other Fairways and saying it was a little disappointing. Believe me I am still shopping there but can't yet give up the need to travel to get the full Fairway experience and choice.

              1. re: UES Mayor

                FYI, I love the lobster salad at Sables. They'll give you a generous sample to taste it. I was hoping to buy appetizing from Fairway, but it looks dry. I think I'll stick with Sables.

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                Sable's Smoked Fish
                1489 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

                1. re: ellenost

                  Totally agree about Sables. BEST appetizing in the city, in my opinion... lobster salad, whitefish salad, yum.

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                  Sable's Smoked Fish
                  1489 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

                2. re: UES Mayor

                  Same comment about the shrimp salad. All I tasted was onion. I actually prefer the shrimp salad at the 86th St Tal.
                  And I actually threw out the roasted cauliflower from the app dept. I don't really love cauliflower but this stuff looked pretty good and one bite..ew. Just a really weird taste. So far have only been really impressed w/the baked goods (a blueberry crumb cake was to die for) and a work friend goes nuts over the fresh bagetttes. Before hurricane shopping she could have sold hers for a large profit from people on the street disappointed that the store closed that Saturday at 10AM!

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                  Tal Bagels
                  333 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

                  Fairway Market
                  240 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

                  1. re: jinglejangle

                    the roasted cauliflower is known as 'Sicilian Cauliflower' and I happen to love it.
                    Roasted with parmesan + red pepper flakes.

                    1. re: pbjluver

                      Yes, sicilian. I usually love everything sicilian but not this.

                3. UES Fairway is a dump. I pray to the kitchen gods that Whole Foods can buy out the space and create something worthy of the neighborhood.

                  The two Fairway stores on the West Side have some reason for living: one has its own particular character, somewhat anarchic, but venerable, and the other one has parking.

                  The store on East 86th is so very badly planned and so out of tune with the UES that I simply cannot understand how people suffer to shop there. It belongs in another place, and another time - I only wish that its time was up.

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                  Fairway Market
                  240 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: RBrangam

                    Judging by the crowds the UES is getting into tune with Fairway just fine (at least the low end folk).... I guess a top drawer individual like yourself needs something better... maybe you can send your butler to Fairway for you...

                    1. re: RBrangam

                      I'm loving the UES Fairway (now that I know where everything is located and the tourists have left); it's a breeze! Also it's caused Food Emporium to become more price competitive. Unfortunately it has had zero effect on Gristedes--now that's a store that's out of touch with reality.

                      1. re: RBrangam

                        The UES Fairway is the first and only market in the neighborhood where a visually impaired person can get patient, kind and adequate assistance, especially with canned or boxed items which are impossible to identify by touch.

                        Also, other than the small seasonal Farmer's Market it is the only area place to buy reasonably priced reasonably fresh produce.

                        The olive oils are rather wonderful, the appetizing section is a boon to those who have a hard time travelling out of the area, the coffee is pretty damned good for 86th Street and environs and while the fish department could be improved, it is certainly better than the local supermarkets. Same for the fresh meat.

                        Other than that it's a dump, and I hope you and all your friends, family and associates will avoid it.

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                        Fairway Market
                        240 E 86th St, New York, NY 10028

                        1. re: RBrangam

                          I shop there ( but at off peak times to avoid the crowds). But it is too small a space which they have compounded by cramming too much in which only leads to chaos. So I still go to Harlem et al for a wider choice ot items especially meat.
                          Although I loathe Whole Foods with a passion ( sanctimonious and not as good quality as they would like you to believe AND exhorbitant prices/profits are used for right wing causes, they are very quiet on that one) I am very surprised that they weren't here first. But if you prefer to be ripped off it is a free country. My OP just said I was disappointed but given all the constraints of the site I would much rather have an honest Fairway there to a pretentious Texan purveyor of not so fine foods. But I have no doubt that, somewhat late in the game, Whole Foods is desperately searching for an UES site. Whatever the shortcomings it is a major upgrade of the choices available on UES where small dirty expensive and rude supermarkets have reigned until now.