HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
What have you made lately? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Wegman's-Columbia

f
FoiGras Jul 13, 2012 03:31 PM

Hope the Chowhound Team doesn't consider this posting an issue as it isn't a restaurant topic.

Just wanted to see if anyone has been to the newest location. I have been waiting until the crowds die down and am anxious to shop there. I love the Hunt Valley store--but it is a 45 minute drive--Columbia, probably about 20 minutes.

How does it compare to the Hunt Valley store? And, do you "dine in" when you visit the store? Isn't there a wine/beer store to open so that one could have a meal in the actual store with wine or beer.
Does Howard County submit to the same laws as the rest of Baltimore County/City, etc. In Harford County one can purchase beer and wine at the 7-11's and certain convenience stores, but not the grocery stores. This still puzzles me--having traveled extensively in this country--in Florida and California one can purchase beer and wine in the grocery stores--don't recall the issue with harder liquor. anyhow---just wanted to know what's going on with the new store and how the dining in compares to the Hunt Valley location, and/or other related thoughts and opinions. FoiGras

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. i
    ivysmom Jul 13, 2012 03:44 PM

    We've been a couple of times. The parking area is pretty busy unless you go early (i.e before 11). It is pretty comparable to the Hunt Valley one, I'd say it has as much or more. Set up a bit differently but everything is there.

    As for alcohol, no. None is available on site, there were plans to open an adjacent liquor store but they are stalled with legal issues.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ivysmom
      d
      dzoey Jul 15, 2012 10:29 PM

      It does seem a bit bigger than Hunt Valley, and there are some differences like Columbia will make you a Taco salad/Nachos where Hunt Valley would make you a Ceaser salad. I prefer the Ceaser salad which was quite good,while the Taco salad/Nachos is nothing special.
      There are more choices for vegetarian meals in the prepared food / food court area in Columbia, and the veggie dishes have been better than expected.
      The kosher deli contents are the same, though the location in Columbia (next to the regular deli) makes more sense.
      Both stores have the train running above the juices/dairy section - always a nice distraction.
      Columbia has a veggie prep area by produce, where they will cut and prep vegetables for you (extra cost). They do a decent job, but I'm not sure if the extra cost is worth it. It does save time though.

      Columbia may get a liquor store on the 2nd floor. It hasn't opened because there's a county ordinance that says all liquor stores have to be owned by people in the county. Wegman's found a local lawyer to open the liquor store, but when competitors investigated, it turns out the local person had a 10% interest and the husband of the Wegman's president had a 90% interest in the proposed store, so the opening has been delayed while the county council decides if partial local ownership is sufficient, and if so, how much "partial" is required.

    2. s
      sr44 Jul 15, 2012 10:42 PM

      General advice, which you probably know: don't shop hungry. Mr. Wegman is counting on impulse purchases.

      One Who Knows

      1. b
        bmorecupcake Jul 15, 2012 11:00 PM

        Be careful, many bakery things which seem fresh aren't really (e.g., donuts).

        You should check out the HowChow blog. There's plenty of posts on Wegman's and blog visitors have left a lot of comments.

        http://howchow.blogspot.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: bmorecupcake
          c
          cfoodie Jul 17, 2012 04:21 PM

          This is the only place to get Jamon Iberco Bellota around the neighborhood. However, after the buying the jamon during opening phase, the second trip found no one at the Deli counter willing to slice the Iberco. Today, I went and some guy took the Iberco and "chopped" me two thick slices that weighed 1/3 of pound even though I asked for paper thin. At least they were willing to slice it, but the thick slice ruined it for me. It tastes disgusting. The Columbia store I think has lots of work to do.

        2. m
          Mer_Made Jul 16, 2012 05:10 AM

          I went mid-day on a Sunday and vowed never to do that again. I had no fault with the store, the crowds were just too much for me. I'll stick to the Lanham store. It's less crowded and just as well stocked.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Mer_Made
            d
            drewpbalzac Jul 16, 2012 01:18 PM

            I love Wegmans and I have shopped at outlets in VA, MD & PA and while they all have their own vibe and feel the one constant is the crowds. However, the store is so much better than then competition, I just settle into a zen state and try to go with the flow. At least you are in Maryland and will not have to put up with the complete lack of civility that Virginian shoppers exhibit.

            The one thing I have found is that Friday nights tend to be the best times at the VA stores to shop, Saturdays and Sundays should be done first thing in the morning or not at all.

            1. re: drewpbalzac
              GraydonCarter Jul 16, 2012 04:49 PM

              Wegmans was again ranked as one of America's top fifteen retailers, with credit given to its "cult following".

              1. re: GraydonCarter
                d
                drewpbalzac Jul 17, 2012 05:25 AM

                Wegmans. . .shopping. . .
                Shopping . . . Wegmans

                Wegmans . . .wegmans . . .
                Shopping . . . shopping . . .

                (repeat)

          2. dacfood Jul 18, 2012 02:45 PM

            I work really close by. The crowds have died down some but it can still get pretty crowded. I haven't been to other Wegman's so I don't know what the crowd expectation should be.

            I was given pretty high expectations about the food and selection from people who had been to other ones. I've been there a few times now and while I like it and it's super convenient for me, I haven't been wildly impressed. The things I'd highlight as being far better than the regular Columbia area supermarkets are the meat counter - I still prefer the small market over at 108 and 216 though I'd like to try Wegman's aged beef. The fish selection is really nice, though again I prefer Today's Catch in Wilde Lake. The cheese selection is also better than any place I know of in the Columbia area - Roots and Trader Joes have some interesting selections but not the variety at Wegmans. I found most of the prepared food that many people raved about to be pretty average to me.

            The absolute best thing I've seen there was not food related - a guy wearing a "Carcetti for Mayor" t-shirt. I'm sure all "The Wire" fans can appreciate that.

            5 Replies
            1. re: dacfood
              d
              drewpbalzac Jul 20, 2012 09:11 AM

              What I think you are missing is that while Wegman's is not better than you smaller boutique stores it is comparable in quality to them - all under one roof.

              It's standard supermarket items are priced competitively with the super chains - it has the specialty meats and seafood - its store brand goods are competitive in quality to national brands - and the deli counter has top notch products even if they don't know how to slice iberico ham (never a problem at stores I've patronized).

              1. re: drewpbalzac
                m
                mdpilam Jul 20, 2012 10:40 AM

                I've never been a big fan of their deli, but their meat is far superior to anything you can get at Giant, Safeway, TJ's, Harris Teeter, etc... Their organic air-chilled whole chicken is great (and worth the price).

                1. re: mdpilam
                  b
                  bmorecupcake Jul 20, 2012 12:13 PM

                  What is "air-chilled"?

                  1. re: bmorecupcake
                    m
                    mdpilam Jul 20, 2012 01:07 PM

                    Ha, I learned all about this when my gf was doing a story on slaughterhouses. It's how the chicken is cooled down after evisceration to prevent microorganism growth and prepare it for packaging. Most chickens are cooled in big vats of cold water with chlorine (which is absorbed into the chicken meat, which replaces part of the chicken's natural juices), but air chilling is done by moving the birds through large air cooled "refrigerators" that slowly bring their temp. down.

                    1. re: mdpilam
                      GraydonCarter Jul 21, 2012 05:13 PM

                      I dry age my steaks on a rack according to the Alton Brown method, and always wondered why we don't dry age our chicken. Probably because the process requires meat with a large, evenly distributed fat content, and chicken is too lean.

            2. c
              cantkick Jul 21, 2012 08:20 PM

              As a general supermarket I'm not impressed. But that's also true of the other Wegman's I've been in. But certain specialty departments are very good. Their food court appears excellent, though I haven't purchased anything there yet. The prepared foods section has a lot of variety. I'm very disappointed in the produce section compared to other Wegmans, but that's true of other supermarkets in the area.

              My bottom line: go for a meal, but shop elsewhere for most things.

              5 Replies
              1. re: cantkick
                s
                skipper Jul 23, 2012 06:45 AM

                @cantkick -- I suppose we were at different stores. I was at the Wegman's in Columbia where I found the variety of merchandise unmatched anywhere in the DC area except at other Wegman's and where the produce section presented a bigger variety of fresh fruits and vegetables than I have seen anywher than at another Wegman's at a quality beyond anywhere but at Wegman's. I do agree that the prepared foods are superior.

                1. re: skipper
                  c
                  cantkick Jul 27, 2012 10:29 PM

                  Nope. Same store. Their produce section has more variety than other supermarkets I've been to in Columbia, but the typical supermarkets I've shopped at in NJ have far more selection than even this Wegmans. The selection in the grocery part of the store is pathetic, but maybe that's true of all the shopping in the area. Frankly, that half of the store feels like a big box store. Other than the specialty sections, I'll go elsewhere.

                  You know, I never thought I'd prefer Jersey for anything, but I guess there's always an exception.

                  1. re: cantkick
                    d
                    drewpbalzac Jul 30, 2012 10:40 AM

                    Crazy talk!

                2. re: cantkick
                  d
                  drewpbalzac Jul 23, 2012 10:15 AM

                  The only place that I have seen a better supply and versatility of produce than Wegmans are the Asian supermarkets like H-mart or Grandmart. Wegman's also tries to source from local farmers as well, which is a plus for some people.

                  Wegman's meat case stock everything from conventional factory farmed stuff to grass fed and organic selections. (And more than just a couple of packages of organic ground beef like you find at most chain supermarkets. ) I haven't been to the Columbia store yet but the other in the area that I have been too are also dry-aging beef and stocking Berkshire/Kurobuta pork in case you want to explore the upper end of you food purchasing power.

                  1. re: cantkick
                    r
                    reiflame Aug 1, 2012 07:38 PM

                    I think sometimes people forget that Wegmans is a grocery store, not some holy mecca of food.

                    That said, I'm fascinated to know where you're going that's better than Wegmans.

                  2. l
                    LadyJane Jul 31, 2012 11:07 AM

                    I've been there a couple of times. It's nice. Has a lot of things that I can't usually get locally, so it's good for that, but for the most part, I'll just shop there for a treat, not as a regular place. I love the large gluten-free section, for my friend who is sensitive, and I love the look of the prepared foods section. I did get one of their tiny chocolate cakes, and it was a huge disappointment, as were the chinese dumplings. They have flavors of Fancy Feast(for my cat) that I can't usually find, and I love their wide selection of diet sodas. Since they keep sending me piles of coupons, I'll keep checking them out, but my favorite time to shop is early in the morning before the crowds arrive.

                    Show Hidden Posts