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Jul 26, 2012 01:22 PM

New Fresh Market

Did anyone visit the new Fresh Market yet? What did you think? Maybe my expectations were too high, but I was disappointed. I liked the renovation of the space, but I wasn't overly impressed with the prices or variety of the stock.

On the positive side, the breads looked good and the baguette I got was pretty good for supermarket. They carry several local brands and claim to distribute these local brands to their other stores in the region (within a few hundred miles), which is nice. The prepared foods looked appetizing and smelled good. Meat and fish looked good, if expensive.

Not so positive: the cheese section is just terrible, especially for a supposedly more upscale store. Rouses has a better cheese department (regular Rouses, not even the special cheese section at the Baronne store). There is no bulk food other than candy, which is a shame. The produce looks really nice but it seemed far more expensive than Rouses or even Whole Foods. I think avocados were 2/$5? The wine section is uninspiring, consisting of very mainstream bottles and nothing at all interesting that I could see.

Based on my visit, I don't see Fresh Market becoming a must-visit for me. Definitely not worth a special trip if you don't live nearby.

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  1. I haven't visited the St. Charles Ave store yet, but your above comments mirror my experiences with the Baton Rouge Fresh Market....kinda "meh".

    1. Drove by, was in a hurry, too many cars...decided to wait for another day. After reading your post, I am glad I put it off. Hope it improves.

      1. They had a couple of hard to find items that we kind of miss like licorice all-sorts, non-frozen pierogi, and Graeter's ice cream. But nothing I can't find at Rouses (Tchoup or CBD) or even Breaux Mart. Glad to have checked it out, but it won't be on my regular rotation unless I'm craving something specific. Parking is, of course, awful.

        1. For us on the Northshore Fresh Market is our Whole Foods, sorta. It is a choice for special cuts, fish, some special veggies and some breads. But I can't see them being competitive against Whole Foods and a good Rouses in N.O.

          1 Reply
          1. re: collardman

            I have 2nd hand info from my son.. He said the produce and seafood looked great. A definite competitor for WF. Prices were better, around $4 per pound less than WF for tuna and salmon. Produce was also cheaper. I believe advertised sales last something like 6 weeks (can this be riight?). Daily specials as well. He just glanced at the meat, did not see any prime.. Not enough parking.

          2. Well, I wasn't expecting good prices as I'd been to the BR location so knew what to expect. That said, there were several "BO,GO free" specials on things I do buy, so I took advantage of that. I was pleased to find chopped clams (not canned), which I never see here, and I thought the selction and variety of meats/cuts was pretty nice, better than that usually available at both WF stores. I agree that the selection of items, in general, is not fantastic though I saw a few things I don't usually see. I liked the bread section a lot, and ended up buying both regular and multi-grain ciabatta rolls and a thin herb-and-cheese focaccia (which my husband loved). The produce *looked* beautiful, but prices were all over the place--$2 for a bag of organic baby arugula; over $5 for a package of six baby zucchini; $3.99 lb/asdparagus; $3.99 (I think) for a small bunch of beets.
            Very pleasant space, friendly staff, and, as everyone else has noted, tough parking situation.
            I'll definitely go back, but it won't be my regular shopping spot.
            It will be interesting to see whether New Orleans will be able to support all the high-end grocery stores here (or on the horizon).

            1 Reply
            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              I was surprised at how different Fresh Market is than Whole Foods. I was expecting more of the natural foods and organic stuff. They didn’t even have any skim, 1% or 2% organic milk in stock. As I’ve said before, this translates into tasteless, bland pre-prepared items at Whole Foods. Fresh Market seems to be going more for taste than healthiness. I tried the asian noodle salad and it was delicious. The other offerings looked good and fattening. I did notice that the Odwalla was $7.99 compared to $9.49 at Rouses and Whole Foods. They had 2 for 1 tilapia and I bought the parmesan crusted. It was pretty good too. I was hoping for a little more out of the second floor, but it was kind of boring up there. Rouse’s downtown seems to have a much better beer selection. I think I will return and try some of their other pre-made stuff. Surprisingly I didn’t notice a salad bar or a soup bar. Maybe I missed it, but I was expecting a lot of that. The bakery had some nice choices as well, but the loaf I bought wasn't anything special. On a seperate note, my wife told me that Whole Foods hired the executive chef from St. Jame’s Cheese Company so perhaps they might step up their game with the increase in competition.