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Nov 5, 2011 06:46 PM


OK, Passaic County got its first Aldi at the end of January, and now, finally, Bergen County gets its first Aldi in East Rutherford. I've been going to the Clifton Aldi nearly weekly since they opened. I love them. Good quality food at dirt cheap prices. I was excited to check out this new East Rutherford Aldi store. The store is at 59 Route 17 South, in the Liberty Commons strip mall.

What is Aldi's? Well, I'll put it this way: it's pretty much a no-frills Trader Joe's targeted to lower-middle-class people instead of upper-middle-class people. They sell only the basics, and the stores are small, like Trader Joe's. There is a lot of similarity in products (potato chips, nuts, dried fruits, dairy items, frozen foods) between the two chains. The difference is the packaging is more no frills at Aldi's, and, in almost all cases, the products at Aldi's are way cheaper.

So, how does the East Rutherford store compare to the Clifton store? Well, it's bigger. Quite a bit bigger (maybe 25%-30% bigger). This probably means they'll have more items available on a regular basis. But...

The layout in Clifton is MUCH nicer. The Clifton store is basically four straight lines of items, with the freezers/refrigerators along the back and side of the store. The East Rutherford store flows in the opposite direction of the Clifton store. It was like Bizarro Clifton. There is also a cross "aisle" dividing the merchandise, making things a bit more chaotic with people going in different directions. The store was busy, but not quite crazy.

The other problem with the East Rutherford Aldi is the location. It's in a fairly recently built, fairly large strip mall with a whole lot of stores on a very busy highway. The parking lot is crazy. The Clifton Aldi is located in a much older, smaller strip mall, in a bit of an industrial area, and there isn't a whole lot else in that area. It gets busy there, sure, but I don't think it will ever be the circus that this East Rutherford store is sure to be.

They had some nice grand opening specials: white bread and hot dog rolls for $.25, fresh pineapples for $.49, and South African (???) navel oranges for $.99 per bag.

Will I be back to the East Rutherford Aldi? Absolutely. But based on my initial impressions, I'll be sticking with the Clifton store as my regular store. You won't go wrong with either one, though.

Trader Joe's
725 River Road, Edgewater, NJ

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  1. How much were a dozen eggs? Are they selling canned pure pumpkin? Are they offering the Christmas chocolates yet?

    2 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      1. $.99. (Clifton's had them for $.89 before though.)

      2. I believe so, but can't remember for sure.

      3. East Rutherford had some available. They had marzipan logs/candy bars for $.99 each (absolutely awesome). I also got some Christmasy non-pareil chocolate wafers. They also had a cherry stollen which I picked up for $4.99, but I haven't tried it yet.

      1. re: zhelder

        Thanks, I'm emailing my buddy out your way to make a stop tomorrow.
        Eggs @ our local Aldi's are $1.55, pumpkin .99 and the Christmas stuff must still be on hold, I'm remembering some stunning chocolate Santas and international bars.

    2. They don't take manufacturer coupons and their circular was pathetic. I can't see myself shopping here. I may keep them in mind if they do indeed have .99 eggs. Otherwise, Food Basics is the same concept and has great prices, no frills. And Food Basics takes credit and debit cards, Aldi is cash only I hear.
      They don't even have a phone # for me to call and ask a question.
      Hey, the more competition in the area, the better. East Rutherford has never had a grocery store, so this is a good thing.

      No store beats Shoprite though, if you use coupons.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chowsue

        Aldi's accepts cash and debit, only. I shop everywhere; including Aldi's. Even with coupons and double-coupons; Aldi's can be competitively priced. As a matter of fact, most markets are shopping their local competition to decide who's offering the best prices that week and decide which specials to offer at their own stores. So shopping everywhere with or without coupons is the only way for a consumer to come out ahead (unless you count the gas to get around to half a dozen stores). I shop daily & weekly and Aldi's is typically on my stop to make list. This week I picked up some holiday cheeses on display and some dark chocolate wafer gift sets.

        1. re: chowsue

          I used to shop at Food Basics regularly. I still stop there once in a while. But now, being familiar with both stores, I can honestly say that I think Aldi blows Food Basics out of the water. Then, after Food Basics is up in the air after being blown out of the water by Aldi, Aldi blasts it with a machine gun just for good measure.

          Aldi and Food Basics are similar in concept. Aldi to me looks like a Food Basics 25 years in the future after hazmat and efficiency teams have given the place a thorough once over. But, Aldi's food is MUCH MUCH MUCH higher quality that most of the junk that Food Basics sells, and the prices, in most cases, anyway, are still a bit lower than Food Basics. Aldi is cleaner, and run much more efficiently. Lines can get long, but they move quickly at Aldi's. At Food Basics, you might have to spend a whole afternoon checking out on a real busy day.

          You can think of Aldi's as one of two types of stores: the revised edition of Food Basics that I described above, or the 'hood's Trader Joe's (really, there are a lot of very similar items between the two stores, it's just that Aldi's versions are a lot cheaper). Either concept works for me!

          Trader Joe's
          725 River Road, Edgewater, NJ

          1. re: zhelder

            don't agree at all. Sorry. Are we talking about the same store? The Aldis East Rutherford?? The Food Basics in Wallington?? I am so confused.
            Or are you comparing Food Basics in some other area to Aldis in some other area?

            The Aldis in ER had something like 4 aisles. It is small. Food Basics is easily twice the size.
            I have never had to wait at Food Basics for more than a few minutes on line, and I have shopped there for 7 years.

            I would not compare the Aldis in ER to Trader Joes. No way. Are you referring to a different branch maybe??

        2. Went there today, and while most of the packaged food is very unappealling, they do have some amazing prices (1 doz large eggs, $0.79, butter $1.99/lb, frozen duck $2.49/lb). The produce looked better than I expected (no SA oranges though, darn it, have fond memories of Outspan oranges from years back in Canada). The store was NOT busy at 2:30 pm, maybe 20 shoppers total.