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Longo's on Laird - now open

we dropped by tonight for a quick visit.

the space - HUGE ceilings with original wood. really nice feel to it. It has that typical Longo's feel (see the Maple Leaf Square store as an example). Perhaps more of the US style vs what you see at Superstore or Sobeys.

alcohol - yes please! Corks is on the 2nd floor. Their Ontario wine selection is shockingly excellent. Their beer selection is all Ontario craft beer.

Kosher meat - finally, there's a kosher meat option in East York.

So long, Sobeys. Longo's forever and ever, amen.

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  1. Sounds good. I think I'll wait a couple of weeks before risking my life in the crowds.

    How is the parking situation?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Herne

      I've been twice already and found no parking issues, lots of space. This may change once everything else in that strip mall is open.
      I went on opening day, just to check it out while I had the kids in a cooking class elsewhere. I was expecting a zoo, half thinking that I may just turn around and leave if the parking lot was crazy. I was actually surprised that it wasn't busier. The space is beautiful, the staff were plentiful and friendly and for the most part prices were in line with Loblaws.
      There were tons of samples on the first day. I quite liked the pizza, thin crust, easy on the sauce, good amount of cheese. When the kids said that they wanted pizza for dinner last night I immediately thought of heading over there to pick one up. They have a deal on Thursdays from 4-10, a 16 inch pep or cheese pizza for $7.99. Again, I was worried that the parking lot would be a mess and that there would be a big wait for pizza. We had no problem parking and walked right up to the counter where they were happy to make a 1/2 cheese 1/2 pep for us. It was a 15 minute wait, which gave me time to pick up a few things that I needed.
      This week-end they are opening their Loft space (where cooking classes will take place) from 12-4 each day. I can't remember exactly what they said is going on, but my guess is cooking demos and more sampling.

      1. re: cheesymama

        Thanks for the information. I was afraid they would duplicate the parking at York Mills and Leslie which apparently assumes that we all drive Smart cars or Minis.

        1. re: Herne

          Nope, I'm in a minivan and had no problems!

          1. re: cheesymama

            There was an article in today's Star.

            Amongst other things, they have one of those machines for fresh squeezed OJ, a station to get fresh filled cannoli, and a fresh cut veggie bar.

            Will be checking it out over the weekend......

            1. re: millygirl

              I think I will wait until Monday or Tuesday. Based on the expectations at Chowhound over the past months I think my aversion to shopping in crowds might be better served after the weekend. I imagine the people running the Loblaws and Sobey's are not happy.

          2. re: Herne

            I found the parking at Longo's on Laird challenging but NOTHING like the hell at York MIlls and Lesllie.

      2. I will have to check this place out soon.

        I maintain the 5KM radius around Don Mills / Eglinton has the best grocery shopping, selection and variety anywhere in the GTA.

        The Laird strip alone has a Loblaws, Longos and Sobeys.

        There's Superstore, 3 No Frills and 4 Metro's to choose from, along with other discount grocery stores like Food Basics. There's places that can't spell discount like McEwans, and ethnic markets like Iqbal Foods, Sunny's and Bestwin. Add in the Walmart and the Target opening up at East York Town Centre (which will probably sell groceries) and the price wars will be interesting.

        We really are spoiled around here...

        6 Replies
        1. re: pakmode

          Can you indicate where the 4 Metro's are. I can only recall the one on Don Mills.

          1. re: Herne

            Eglington Square and Parkway Mall. Don't know the location of the fourth one.

            1. re: Herne

              bayview and eglinton, shops at don mills, eglinton square, and vic park and ellesmere?

              1. re: ctl98

                I think you got it. I still remember the store at vic park and ellesmere as a Grand Union.

                1. re: ctl98

                  Thanks ctl - sorry for the late response. Those are the 4 I was referring to.

              2. re: pakmode

                I visited yesterday. Ample parking. Don't know how all these grocery stores will survive in this area though. Margins are really tight in this industry.

                The place was nice enough, friendly service, good ambiance and decent selection. They have some really good grand opening specials on some items right now, especially for those who prefer organic.

              3. Looks great - but a surprising number (for me) of opening glitches - at least I hope they're opening only!

                Layout has a couple of problems - aisles are wide but 'corners' (where they intersect with other departments - e.g. prepared foods) are bottlenecks - one inconsiderate person can block traffic in all directions); exit is clearly marked from INSIDE, but NOT from outside (it's 1-way) - the exit doors also have the 'electronic seeing eye' on the outside of the exit doors - except it's switched off, so I saw several people trying several times to enter the exit door.

                The produce indeed appears excellent - but it's the MANY errors that bugged me. Mislabellings, non-labellings, unlabelled items - any combination you choose. And no ability to check prices at checkout - have to call for help. Happened to the person 2 in front of me - and to me also!

                Item labelled concord grapes WEREN'T (they were Coronation). Morels (at least they have them) weren't priced. Excellent selection of duck items - except MANY weren't priced (specifically duck confit, duck sausages, duck eggs) - that was where I held up the line for price checks. Cheeses were a bit confusing. Many were 'specialty' items - I looked for Wensleydale and could only find it mixed with 3 or 4 different fruits - but none plain. The manchego had no age listed; eventually, by clearing the facing and reading the uncut wheels I was able to deduce that there was a 3-month old (meh) and a 12-month - the latter for only $5 Kgm more.

                Butter was 'OK' - no cultured salted (the only one I buy for spreading) but they did have unsalted. And they did have both clotted cream and Creme Fraiche - except neither was priced.

                Lamb was 'only Ontario' - Longo's used to stock Australian IIRC - but no more.

                Bagels looked good but most breads were unpriced (except Ace products) and I didn't find ANY nut bread - which is my favourite with cheese (although there were a couple of fruit breads).

                So, overall not an auspicious start (for me). But it did look good!!

                2 Replies
                1. re: estufarian

                  As a member of the Longo’s team, I wanted to pop in to this discussion and take a moment to thank everyone for their invaluable observations. Your feedback is a gift that provides an opportunity for us to improve ourselves, our products, our services, and our processes—providing we act on the feedback we receive. And, we do.

                  Based on what we’ve learned from your experiences, here’s what we’ve addressed so far in our Leaside store since opening:

                  -additional electric scooter has been ordered
                  -bike racks are in place outside the store
                  -the exit has now become an exit/entrance
                  -3 highchairs have been purchased for Corks
                  -we will be following up with First Capital on additional handicap parking spaces.

                  Please keep the awesome suggestions coming. :)

                  1. re: CatherineFoodie

                    Awesome! Wish I can do 'like' on your post. Love feedback like this.

                2. The Star article mentions a restaurant serving Ontario wine and beer in the loft space. Is it open? Has anyone tried it yet?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Crepes Suzette

                    we took a peek. here's the problem - when i grocery shop, i don't want to go and drink. i'm not sure who Corks caters to. I wouldn't get beer there, since its mostly stuff you can buy at the LCBO (but points for it being craft Ontario beer).
                    the wine list, though, was excellent. ALL ontario, mostly from great, smaller wineries in Niagara.

                  2. I've been twice...opening morning...not impressed...too many "suits" floating around doing nothing but clogging the aisles...went again today...

                    I continue to worry about the parking, especially when all the other stores in the plaza are open...it's already tight...they do have people guiding you to open spaces but I believe they have over built for the parking space available....

                    The store itself is lovely...so glad they saved that old building....some good opening specials but, in general, it's pricey...good quality though...

                    Corks, the restaurant is open...some friends were there for lunch and had a lovely charcuterie platter for $10...along with Canadian wine...they were pleased...

                    All in all...I'm glad it's in the 'hood

                    1. Stopped by today around 6pm. Parking wasn't an issue.
                      Beautiful space, lovingly restored. A nice use of the old building but with all that height they could have made 2 levels, or a mezzanine all around the perimeter.
                      Typical Longo's selection with a few nice additions.
                      The dry/packaged goods selection is rather slim.
                      Signage and labeling are a work in progress.
                      The meat was rather anemic-looking. Rib steaks with no marbling at all. I think I'll stick with Sobeys. I find their Sterling Silver selection to be the best of the grocery store meats.
                      A limited selection of nice fresh-looking fish without that funky Loblaws fish counter smell!
                      Decent cheese selection with prices that compare with or better than Alex's on Bayview.

                      I can't see myself buying the week's groceries there but it will be a regular stop.

                      I don't really get the bar on the mezzanine level. Drive to the grocery store for a few drinks?

                      And of course it has a Starbucks counter. That's 4 of them on that 1km strip along Laird.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: hal2010

                        Went today. I think it's a great addition to our neighbourhood and will definitely make it a weekly visit.

                        Bought some fresh OJ, great looking herbs, Mr MG is just chowing down on their pizza which from the sounds of it, is thoroughly enjoying, some Nortown Borscht which I've had a huge craving for, and some odds and ends veggies. Oh yes, and special price $3.99 large basket of ontario peaches.

                        I am thrilled!!

                        1. re: millygirl

                          I can't wait to hit the Longo's :) I think tomorrow may be the day

                          I am tired of lousy produce at Loblaws and the Metro at Bayview and Eglinton has a lousy layout/poor flow I hate going there (yet I know the produce is good and it is one of the most productive stores in the entire Metro store network)

                          1. re: CocoaChanel

                            So, Mr. Vuitton and I hit Longo's today.

                            It is a beautiful store - high ceilings, well lit. The parking is awkward; the spaces are not small, but the layout is odd and it seems like there is not enough (it appears there is a lot to the right and behind that is not open yet; if this will eventually be part of the Longo's parking lot, then parking should be ok).

                            The produce is great, as usual - lots of fresh options; pizza oven at the front looked busy (we didn't linger there), excellent cheese and deli selections and the fish counter looked good (though not a lot of selection). The meats looked ok - a lot of the steaks were cut very thin, so not appealing to us. There is also a patisserie counter (did not examine here much for fear of buying ;) )

                            The service was great - helpful staff to point you in the right direction; cashiers who knew how to bag groceries and their bags were excellent, thick plastic!

                            The store layout is not very friendly, IMHO - we found it difficult to navigate the ailes (they were wide enough, but the race track of the srore was poor relative to my experience) - the dairy aisle was at the back, there were some short aisles in the freezer section and the fresh aisles were at 90deg to the panrty/dry goods aisles, There is also a lot of wasted space, in particular in the entire pharmacy area of the store. I am not really sure why they bothered with a dispensary (other than you need a pharmacist to be able to sell certain items). There was alot of wasted space in the store.

                            They didn;t have some of the brands I like (Chobani yogurt, ,for example) and I don't know how good their private label is, so I didn't buy any. They do have their own gelato, but being within a 5 minute walk of Hollywood Gelato, we are unlikely to try it.

                            I suspect the way it will work out in our house is Longo's for produce (superior to Loblaw by a long shot and better than Metro) and cheeses/deli, Loblaw or Metro for dry/pantry goods (I am a fan of both the PC and hte Irresistibles private label brands) and meat and fish from St. Lawrence market, or Cumbrae's or Strarsky (when we are in the west end)

                            1. re: CocoaChanel

                              I would add, in the same plaza the following shops are going in:

                              Against The Grain Urban Tavern
                              BulkBarn (!!!) :)
                              5 Guys and a Burger
                              and (another) Tim Hortons

                              1. re: CocoaChanel

                                Plus a Burrito place and a Beer Store...that's why I'm worried about parking when it's all open...

                                1. re: tochowchick

                                  The original plans had an underground parking garage and a total of over 900 spaces. I don't think the underground portion of the parking is open yet. The ramp is on the north end of the property.

                                  1. re: hal2010

                                    I don't recall seeing any signage to underground parking, so you may well be right that it's not open yes, Hal

                        1. Visited today. Prices comparable to Loblaws. Other than availability of duck confit and duck eggs, nothing really excites me about this store. I can get most fresh fruit and vegetables at the independent grocers on Pape, closer to home, for a fraction of the price. I don't buy grocery store meat, so nothing for me there. For specialty veg/fruit items, I would rather pick them up at the Brickworks, or at the Loblaws on Carlton and Church on the way home from work. And I don't understand how Corks will survive? Who wants to drink lovely Ontario wines and beers in a grocery store, when there is an excellent LCBO, where I can pick up whatever I want and drink it within the comfort of my own home? I really don't get the hype over this place.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                            Which grocer's on Pape do you mean?
                            I had Ontario Stawberries on my list for weeks this summer. My husband struck out at Loblaws (lower Leslie) every time. Longo's market at First Canadian place (not even a full store) had them every time. Ideally I'd shop as you describe at many smaller markets, but for one-stop weekly shopping, I will give Longo's' a try.

                            1. re: julesrules

                              how can one compare farmers' markets to grocery stores?

                              of course i'd rather pick up my produce from the Brickworks, but for non-local or non-seasonal? Longo's most definitely.

                              The Ontario strawberry example is interesting. They've been out of season for over a month. so they're local, but i assume they're from a greenhouse.

                              I don't understand how Corks will survive, but yesterday, it was half full at 3 PM. that's pretty good. they have the same concept at Whole Foods in the US. people just go there to eat and drink. don't ask, but it happens.

                              1. re: atomeyes

                                We've been planting everbearing strawberries for a few years now so the outdoor, Ontario crop extends into fall --- they started out in farmers' markets but there's enough of them now that you'll find them in some supermarkets (like this Longo's) and green grocers

                                1. re: GirlRancher

                                  That's what I thought - everbearing - read an article about them in the Star a couple of years ago I think. Regardless, they taste great, better than California, and I am happy Longo's carries them. They are also available at the Danforth & Logan fruit stores but I don't always make it down there. I agree that it doesn't make sense to compare farmer's markets & specialty stores with supermarkets. I'm probably too cheap to become a Longo's regular (I'm one who's happy with No Frills for staples) but I will check it out based on my experience with the FCP Longo's.

                            2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                              With regards to Corks, we go to the ACC Longo's for grocery shopping practically every week and stop in at Corks ahead of that for their pizza and a beer/wine for $10 deal. I'd love to be able to have a second beer while wandering around the grocery store but alas we must think of the children! *rolleyes* We've also been there with friends for their three free oysters with a beer/wine on Thursdays and wings deal on Fridays.

                              Given that it's right at the ACC, Corks there is frequently quite busy on game or concert nights. It would be interesting to see what sort of traffic the Leaside Corks gets.

                            3. I went yesterday.
                              no issues parking.
                              I found the place really pretty but also pretty expensive. They did have a nice selection of fruit and vegetables.
                              they had tons of cash registers open which was great.
                              I went around 3pm on a monday and the place was not that busy.
                              We did go up to corktown for lunch afterwards, my bro had steak sandwich which came with a side (which he got pasta salad, which I had) he said the sandwich was nice and the pasta salad was pretty good. It did take a wait but not that bad and not stupidly expensive.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bsv

                                Yes, expensive for sure. With the cost of food these days, I pick up my "staples" either at Food Basics or No Frills. Don't understand why anyone would be 'ashamed' to shop there...especially since I like to take what I save and roll it into my annual European vacations.

                              2. Stopped by again tonight. It's growing on me. They have a good selection of fresh stuff and some decent prepared meals.

                                Bulk Barn is just about to open, they were filling the bins and putting up rice tags.

                                I was wrong about there being underground parking. Looks like they built less density than the original proposal so it's just surface parking. People were crawling in their cars looking for spots in front of Longo's while the whole north parking area was empty.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: hal2010

                                  Ride a bike, burn calories in advance of your meal, pack your panniers, (you would be surprised how much you can fit in them), shop more often and leave the car at home. Parking problem solved.

                                  1. re: hal2010

                                    Bulk Barn is opening on Sept 14th!
                                    I was there last night as well and found it much busier than last week, although I still didn't have a problem with parking. We'll see if that changes once everything in that plaza is open.

                                  2. I've been there a couple times now and like the store. It's bright and big with lots of variety. However I wasn't really that happy with the service at the fish counter. I saw some wild pickerel (not that common at fishmongers in Toronto) and asked where it came from. The answer was 'Ontario'. I then asked where in Ontario but got a blank stare. Then I asked if it was Lake Erie and was told that they 'thought' it was Lake Erie. Well, 'thought' is not good enough. I want to know for sure and told the person that. (I'd never get this kind of poor service at Hooked). After a bunch of fumbling through papers I was told it was indeed Lake Erie. I figured with this type of response I better not also ask how it was caught.

                                    Then I asked for 150 grams. The person behind the counter didn't seem to know how much fish they should cut for that amount and I didn't really have a clue as I couldn't tell how thick it was. FInally I got close to 200 grams and left it at that. (Seems one has to ask for way less than they want at many fish and meat shops to get what one wants).

                                    Then when I got the package I noticed the label showed the price and then the price per kilogram yet the sign beside the fish showed only the price per pound. So, I had to take out my iPhone calculator and convert to make sure I wasn't being overcharged. The price on the label and on the sign should either be the same or they should show it in both $/kg and $/lb.

                                    Anyway, not a great experience at the fish counter. This kind of stuff could be easily corrected and hopefully will (given it seems someone from Longo's is reading this thread by the post made before).

                                    17 Replies
                                    1. re: Flexitarian

                                      Glad to hear the parking problem I feared has not appeared as yet. I believe I got the notion of problems from the mini parking spots at Longo's at Leslie and York Mills. Costco has it right but since you almost need a car to shop there they better get it right. I think a visit next Tuesday looks like a good idea and I'll give the fish counter a pass for now.

                                      1. re: Herne

                                        Made it to Longo's early Saturday afternoon. My first fear was realized with lot being full and had to park in auxiliary parking. The store was close to being packed. Not enough space at the end of the fruit and veggie aisles caused log jams all over the section. The meat section was great with lots of variety of meats. Frozen food included some ethnic foods. The various food aisles were similar to those in any Longo's.

                                        The store was a great experience and the renovations have been done very nicely,

                                        When the rest of the shopping area is functioning (eg Bulk Barn and Beer Store) the parking will be insufficient at least at a busy time like noon Saturday.

                                        One negative feature I had not thought of was the preponderance of Leaside "Beautiful" people who wanted to be where they were going and don't care to be held up by other Beauties. Made for a lot of blocked aisles
                                        and the larger sized buggies caused a problem notably at the end of aisles.

                                        Otherwise I loved the experience and will return next week--but not at noon Saturday

                                        1. re: Herne

                                          Went today at 11:30am to pick up Niagara prosciutto, confit duck legs and coffee. Had absolutely no problem finding a parking spot with my auto share car and noticed plenty of spots available further up near the bulk barn and pet value. Was out of store by 11:50am. Store was busy but didn't seem crazy, especially for a Saturday, but I did indeed notice the Burberry/Prada toting set that were ugly and clueless. Outside of that, I have no idea how our experiences seem so drastically different.

                                          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                            Perhaps people waited for noon to try to avoid the rain.

                                            1. re: Herne

                                              Had to go back on Friday about noon and in the rain. About 5 parking spots available in the area in front of the store and about 15 cars already in the "Additional Parking" lot.

                                              Had to get a BBQ'D chicken and found the area in front of the prepared food area overflowing and blocking people who wanted to get into the fruit and veggies area.

                                              My conclusion is the parking area is and will be too small and the area assigned to customers to move around in is too small. Verdict on chicken to follow.

                                              1. re: Herne

                                                Difficulty may be getting along Laird. A nightmare today - backed up along all side streets as well.

                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                  As someone who lives in the area I'm not thrilled about all the traffic along Laird. It's our own mini Kennedy Road now, and Wal-Mart is coming too.

                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                    Not good. Where is the Walmart supposed to be?

                                                    1. re: Herne

                                                      North side of Brentcliffe, opposite the mall with Home Depot/Best Buy/Sobeys

                                                      1. re: hal2010

                                                        Do you mean the north side of Wickstead? There seems to be a large open space there and I believe Brentcliff runs north and south.

                                                        1. re: Herne

                                                          Yeah, sorry, north of Wicksteed. East of the auto body shop with all the rusty cars outside.

                                                2. re: Herne

                                                  The BBQ'd chicken may make the Longo's or any Longo's the place to go. Almost as large, as far as I can remember, as a Metro Mammoth, cheaper and with a slightly less sweet bbq sauce. The meat, white and dark, is juicy and the whole thing was good. I now rank supermarket bbq'd chicken as-- Costco, Loblaws, Metro and Longo's--just my opinion of course.

                                                  1. re: Herne

                                                    A nice size for sure, but I returned the last one I bought because it was raw in the middle. Not just a bit pink, completely raw.

                                                    Bought one a week earlier and it was juuuust fully cooked. They need an hour more in the oven so they're fall-off -the-bone tender.

                                                    1. re: hal2010

                                                      We went again earlier this week -- Tuesday after work. I am still not a fan of the store racetrack; it does not have a natural flow for my liking. There are also too little room between the end cap displays and the cashiers - it feels very claustrophobic in that area. And, they need to turn the music down in the store - my ears hurt; it was really blaring.

                                                      While the store was pleasantly busy, the parking was quite full. Laird is aleady a mess and not equipped to handle all the traffic that is there now, never mind if The Evil Empire store TEE, (WalMart) goes in. And people are going to use Mcrae as a cut-through to avoid Eglinton. I hope they put speed bumps and drop the speed limit to 30 on McRae if TEE goes in on Wicksteed. Actually, I hope it does not go in at all

                                                      1. re: CocoaChanel

                                                        I should add - the produce is excellent; they even had wild Ontario blueberries (for $7.99 per 280g container. They have a better cheese selection than the other supermarkets (though I still prefer Alex Farms on Baview)

                                                    2. re: Herne

                                                      Found Costco's chicken too salty

                                                      1. re: Helen

                                                        I don't know about salty. But I sure didn't like the spices that had been added. They would be further ahead to not spice it at all. Price was right but nothing else as I recall.

                                        2. I must say I experienced really impressive service yesterday during the rain and downpour - they had guys outside with umbrellas walking with customers to and from their cars to ensure they didn't get soaked. I've never seen that before and was pretty impressed.

                                          1. I biked over last night and bought some things from the flyer. Nice BOGO deals.

                                            Pretty nice looking store but I'll probably only go if there's a good sale item I want.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: radiopolitic

                                              Longo's on Laird is amazing.

                                              The last time I was there it was raining but they had employees with umbrellas to guide us back to our vehicles.

                                              Great customer service!!

                                            2. Going to an event on Sept 24th, can't wait to see the store.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: luxual

                                                Arrived at the store about noon on Friday. No problem finding a parking spot but there weren't lots of them. Store seemed about half full compared to my earlier trips. No sign anyone had taken notice of the comments re: the end of aisle space available to pass or turn. Staff still very friendly and helpful. Got another BBQ'd Chicken and some other stuff. Hope the chicken was fully cooked.

                                                1. re: Herne

                                                  This time the BBQ'd chicken had been cooked until it was just about dry and overdone. Not juicy like he first one but still a good buy in my opinion. I forgot to look at the eggs to see if they have any free run or free range but I'll do that next time--not on the weekend.

                                                2. re: luxual

                                                  I've been a few times now and I just don't get the fuss. I find the meat, cheese and deli area chaotic. They have decent product, but not great enough to really set them apart from any other big grocery chain. The basil I picked up on my last visit looked like it was chopped out of my garden (in hindsight, I wish it was). Parking is generally difficult to get, particularly on the weekend.

                                                  As radiopolitic said above, I'll probably go when there's a good sale item; otherwise, there's nothing to draw me there over the Sobey's down the street, which benefits from its proximity to the LCBO.

                                                3. Have to agree with the comments on the meat counter being completely nuts on Saturdays. I was one of many confused customers who waited around for service (maybe a ticket system during busy hours would help?), while a disgruntled employee behind the counter went into an expletive-filled rage and mouthed off at customers. Once that guy calmed down, I was informed that the advertised Brome Lake ducks were all out until next week and then I went into an expletive-filled rage.

                                                  Too bad. Will be trying again during the weekday to see if it's any better.

                                                  1. After reading this thread I was excited to see for myself so I went to Longo's on Laird on Sunday afternoon.

                                                    The positives include the "feel" of the store, open, bright and clean looking, the variety of produce (they had some things I haven't seen anywhere else), some yummy Longo's brand cold cuts, and a good selection of cheeses, marked well.

                                                    The minuses include the state of some of the produce (terrible looking tomatoes), lack of inventive prepared food, rice on the prepared sushi that was like a bad paste, and a lack of certain items that I was looking for. On the whole I thought that it was like a good Metro.