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Wegmans in Chestnut Hill

Stopped in today for a peek, and could barely get in to this new supermarket....INSANE traffic, impossible to shop. I turned right around and walked out. Wait for the hype to ease up a bit says I

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  1. Some of the stuff are pretty cheap, like $2/lb chicken breast. I wonder how it compares as a whole against Market Basket though. Based on what I've seen I think Wegmans is maybe a bit more expensive but better quality? I haven't done an item by item comparison though

    2 Replies
    1. re: divinebaboon

      Wegman's is not competing against MB; different market segment. It complements MB. It's more like a Roche Brothers on steroids. It's not perfection, of course, but it has a distinctive culture (as does MB, in a very different way), and knows how to do what it does very well (ditto MB). Employees are the foundation, and they build relationships with customers, and it all works out from there. This being Boston, there will be people very eager to knock it, because that's a special part of our local culture....

      It make take a month or three before the mobbing goes down. That location is awkwardly placed for coming from the east.

      1. re: Karl S

        Protip: Comm Ave to Centre Street to Langley Road, left turn onto Route 9, you're right there.

    2. I was actually able to get parking pretty easily, but inside was mobbed. There were some spots in the store that were pretty easy to navigate, but near the deli and prepared foods was pure insanity. They had free iberico ham samples, cut off the leg (very tasty) and the full line of Fentiman's sodas (the reason we went). The liquors seemed very well priced, and they had a large selection. I was happy to see local products such as Jacks Abbey and Bully Boy on sale. The checkout line moved very quickly, as well.

      1. We went around noon, just for the laugh. No tie-up on Route 9, parked immediately, and the crowds were huge but not absolutely insane or anything. Although we did skip both the meat and deli departments because of the crowding, and the food court part was nuts. We were going to pick up a sandwich for lunch, but they were out of sub rolls and I hate ciabatta, so we passed.

        I did feel bad for the person who just abandoned their cart with nothing but two cans of house brand chicken soup in it. (It reminded me of Christian Finnegan's joke about abandoned broken umbrellas on the street: "It's like seeing the exact point at which someone just said 'Ah, f--k it.'") And Allstonian said that she heard at least two people behind her moaning like Tina Belcher because of the crowds. But it really wan't anywhere near as nuts as I thought it might be.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          I was there around 2pm, and getting past the prepared food/food court area was nigh impossible, and parking outside was at capacity. I don't want to slam the store, as I've not shopped there proper, I was just warning folks to let the hype cool down

        2. How big is the food court? Northborough seats 250.

          4 Replies
          1. re: trufflehound

            It's a significantly smaller store. Burlington, finally opening later this year, will be comparable to Northborough. And it will have a new-generation Market Basket (plus TJs and H Mart) nearby....

            1. re: Karl S

              any idea when the fenway location is scheduled to open?

              1. re: wonderwoman

                2017. Wegmans takes its time. They invest a relatively large amount of effort into selective recruitment and training to their corporate mission and values; they might be said to leaven new stores with a core of employees from existing stores, including people from the core territory in western NY. They appear also to plan (time-wise, that is) on a certain amount of shake-out of locals who end up not fitting well - I recall talking with NY-origin staff at the Northboro location a few months after it opened.

                http://www.theatlantic.com/business/a...

                1. re: Karl S

                  i'm without a car, so i was hoping that it would be sooner.

          2. There was zero traffic on route 9 and I snagged a parking spot with no issue this morning. I steered clear of the prepared foods, but thought the fish selection was good. All the employees were helpful and friendly (with some very anxious to give out cheese samples!).

            I thought the produce selection was varied and large. That's probably the most enticing thing for me so far.

            1. I'm not too familiar with Chestnut Hill. Is this store T accessible?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Snowflake

                You can take the 60 bus or a 20-30 minute walk from the Chestnut Hill stop on the D line. If you take the D line, don't walk along 9--you can walk Hammond St -> Heath St.

                1. re: Snowflake

                  Not unless you're willing to do the bus, in which case yes, because the 60 is an easy transfer from Kenmore and goes that way. Although I suspect you'd have to plan to loop a bit and get off on the return end (because it's on the Eastbound side), and get off at the top at 280 Boylston.

                  1. re: Snowflake

                    I'm a big T enthusiast, but in this particular case, it's not very useful. The #60 bus goes ot the Mall at Chestnut Hill, but stops appear to be either on the other side of Route 9, or kind of far from the Wegman's, or both. It's nearly a mile from the Chestnut Hill stop on the D line to Wegman's.

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      I think the new intersection they put in on 9 at the western side of the Wegmans and Chestnut Hill Mall has a pedestrian crossing and signal. There's definitely a break in the median, and I think I saw crosswalks. Google Maps hasn't updated their imagery yet.

                      1. re: emannths

                        I can confirm there is a pedestrian crosswalk

                  2. We went to the liquor store on Saturday (it opened a couple weeks ago, at least). Space was enormous. Seemed like they had a ton of wine, but I can't speak to the quality of the selection. Prices were definitely below what you'll find in the city. Bourbon selection was very limited (ie Cambridge Spirits in Kendall, which might be all of 300 square feet, has a larger selection). Beer selection was rather large, with moderately crafty leanings. Prices were again decent. We went because I wanted Negroni ingredients - Campari was $27.99, Beefeater was $16.99 and the sweet vermouth (whose name escapes me, but was the most expensive one they had) was $9.99

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mkfisher

                      The beer prices were quite good on the bigger craft brands but par for the course for smaller ones. So Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams 6ers were only $8-8.50, but those from smaller breweries were the same $10ish that any local packie charges. The store also has a nice range of 12pks.

                      They have a make-your-own-sixpack station, but since the price for the mix-a-6 is fixed, the field from which to pick is a bit limited. At least that's what my cursory glance told me.

                      1. re: emannths

                        I was unimpressed by the selection, random layout, and pricing of their beer section. Some of the bigger crafts like SN or Lagunitas and a couple locals were a little cheaper than local beer stores, but everything else was about the same or higher than better beer stores in the area. Also have to be careful with freshness too even though they just opened. Hopefully the Burlington location gets a little more attention when it comes to beer instead of the afterthought that it is here.

                        1. re: LStaff

                          My impression is that liquor prices are somewhat set by the state.
                          Is this not correct?

                          I mean, a dollar here and there ( that extra dollar you pay at Marty's for the convenience of going to Whole foods at the same time) but its not like people can offer beer or vodka at a 50% discount.

                          1. re: hyde

                            There's a statewide minimum price, set by the wholesaler or manufacturer. The state has no involvement in determining what that minimum price is, as far as I can tell.

                    2. I went last night at about 8:30pm. Parking was not a problem, the multilevel garage is actually not very big which is actually good because you don't have to walk miles to get to your car. It was still busy but not crazy, there were no free samples to be had. Staff was very friendly and helpful.

                      The fish and meat sections were impressive, with decent prices. Non-organic chicken breasts were as low as $14 for a large pack of 10, can't beat that price. Slightly more for the organic stuff. Star Market might as well just close now if you were to compare the stores on fish and meat alone.

                      My takeaway was it will be great for parties when you need large quantities.

                      Cheese selection was nice with many NY state offerings. Seems like they had anything and everything, we got a fresh ricotta and a farmer's cheese. Pricing was not bad but honestly if you're looking for something that you can also find at Trader Joe's, I think TJ's will beat them price-wise.

                      Cheap prices on cereal and other grocery items, again Star is going to really lose this battle.

                      Italians will be happy to hear they randomly have 5 kinds of Mulino Bianco cookies as well as Pan di Stelle, cookies and barrette.

                      We had a bite to eat at the prepared foods section, was missing some selections as they were about to close it down around 9pm. Great kale salad, other choices fairly standard. Didn't get to look at sushi, subs and pizza very well.

                      Also a vast selection of vitamins and over the counter medicine, if their prices are good I'll probably shop there over CVS as well since I can't stand their scammy Extrabucks system.

                      1. As a longtime Wegmans shopper in NY, it was great to stop in today.

                        Traffic tip: the real problem on Rt 9 is the light at Hammond Street, which is east of the development. It backs up now in both directions for the entire afternoon and gets worse at around 3PM every day. Avoid by taking Hammond Pond Parkway: if exiting Wegmans, get off Rt 9 immediately to the right. (I live in the area.)

                        Inside: parking is easy with a big lot in back and a well designed parking structure (though the way out is roundabout).

                        If you are into the cheapest food possible, don't bother. This is a really good market, with some good prices, but the specialty is quality not pricing. Example: while I was there, they were cutting up a tuna and talking about that and the meat was $20/lb. The produce looks up to Wegmans' standards. The prepared stuff is better, IMHO, by quite a bit than Whole Foods, but I obviously haven't tasted much in this store. We did put together a pizza for tonight and I've tasted a white cheese & garlic slice that was very good.

                        (Note: I also scarfed a bag of Zapp's very hot potato chips. They always say "Louisiana" to me.)

                        I tried some samples of sausage and cheeses. All very good. The cheese area is large, though not as big as in Northborough.

                        Really makes the relatively new Star up the street look like a sorry excuse for a market.

                        1. For all you hot dog lovers out there, be sure to pick up a package of Zweigle's white hots!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Duster17

                            For anyone who has not had these, you need to. Now. My friend who grew up in Rochester turned me onto these and they were fan-freakin'-tastic.

                            1. re: QuakerInBoston

                              For folks not used to Zweigle red and white hots: Understand they are *supposed* to split - it's a feature, not a bug when you grill them (alternatively, one cuts them in half lengthwise, but managing drips and flare-ups is harder...). Ditto with the red hots (which simply mean "red colored hot dogs" not "hot dogs that are red hot spicy").

                          2. I also had some Wegman's bratwursts - they were really excellent, with a nice delicate flavoring (nutmeg, maybe?)

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: nsenada

                              I wouldnt be surprised if Zweigles made the Wegmans one.. I am a huge Wegmans fan. I didnt know they had Zapps chips!! I love those jalapeno chips and have even mail ordered them directly from Zapps before!

                              1. re: hargau

                                Yeah, they sell the small bags in the food court next to the sandwich station -- I don't think they're in the regular chip aisle.

                              2. re: nsenada

                                I love the Hartmann's smoked pepperette bites made just for Wegman's. I bought a bag.

                              3. I went today for lunch but couldn't find anything to eat so I left. It's half the size of a normal Wegman's but they didn't sacrifice any size on the food court, seating, or various deli, fish, meat, etc. They just decided to restock groceries more often.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: tatsu

                                  The subs are excellent. Pizza is decent too. I also once ordered the fish&chips at the counter and it was decent for the $. What were you looking for to eat?

                                  1. re: tatsu

                                    Watch for fresh kimmelweck (salt-and-caraway crusted hard rolls that are de rigeur for beef-on-weck sandwiches in western NY state). I've tried to encourage Wegmans staff here to stock more of the things it stocks on its home turf, things that Bostonians might not think of, but that ex-pat folks from the mid-Atlantic hanker for in the desert of New England chains. Things like hard rolls, Taylor pork/ham, better brands of pretzels, meat cuts that are relatively common in NY but rare in New England (like fresh ham) et cet.

                                    1. re: Karl S

                                      They do have their excellent pretzel rolls and sticks.

                                      1. re: lergnom

                                        Their marathon bread and braided sesame bread are da bomb, too. And the ultimate white cake is a benchmark; their cake development and testing group is highly skilled.

                                      2. re: Karl S

                                        I so miss hardrolls. Especially one with butter and a cup of coffee for breakfast.

                                        1. re: Karl S

                                          They've been stocking Taylor's pork roll at my local Roche Bros/Sudbury farm for almost a year now.

                                      3. We went for the first time last night after hearing about how great Wegmans is for years and I have to say, it felt like a bit of a letdown. Granted, I think my expectations were too high but two things that I was surprised about were some of the high prices (even compared to WF) and the quality of the produce.

                                        I do think each supermarket has to be evaluated for its individual strengths and comparing apples to apples isn't fair. We didn't try any of the prepared foods and although we spent a while in there, there is a still a lot we missed I'm sure.

                                        At least 60% of what we buy at the supermarket when the CSA isn't running is fresh produce, so finding good quality produce is really important to me. We get most of our veggies and meat from the Brighton WF or if we're up for a drive, Russos and then hit Target, ethnic markets, or TJ for everything else. A lot of the veggies at Wegmans were tired looking and the pricing was all over the map: $5 for Yu-choy vs 1.29 at Super 88 or .99 cents for a lime vs .69 at WF last week. Seeing black truffles stored in the mushroom section in rice (good for the rice, bad for the truffles) for $999 a pound just struck me as odd. I also didn't like that they trim down veggies, so when I bought fennel the stems are already gone. On the plus side, it was great to fresh galangal as well as some more interesting tropical fruits.

                                        A few other prices surprised me as well. Skirt steak for $18.99 a pound? Seriously? I know flank and skirt have short up in prices, but even at WF, it's $9.99lb. Not to mention the fact that everything is individually shrink wrapped and you can't fully see or change the size of the cut. I found most of the meat surprisingly expensive beyond the advertised "1.99 chicken breast family pack." Brined feta at $5 for 8 ounces or their cheapest smoked salmon (farmed) for $8.99 for 4 ounces?

                                        A lot of what supermarket is right for you depends on what you're buying. If you're buying the advertised items, there are good deals at Wegmans, but I was surprised on the pricing of a lot of the other items. The size and hours are nice and the inventory of packaged goods is enormous. In the end, it's really about finding what works based on what exactly you buy.

                                        12 Replies
                                        1. re: Klunco

                                          I was waiting for one of these, comparison to Super 88 and all. Glad to see that's done.

                                          1. re: lergnom

                                            Funny, I was waiting for you to add something of value to this thread. I guess that's done.

                                            I admitted that it's hard to compare supermarkets because they are all competing for different customer sets and it's not an apples to apples comparison. I think comparing prices/quality of products to several supermarkets is pretty relevant to this discussion.

                                            That said, I brought up Super 88 for one comparison above strictly because when I ran across Yu-Choy at Wegmans I was first impressed that they sold some Asian greens beyond Bok Choy. But four times the price of Super 88 is worth noting in the context of the fact that besides a few specials I found the produce expensive. I'm not comparing the entire Wegmans to all of Super 88. I also noted that their produce was expensive (besides the sale items) compared to Whole Foods.

                                            1. re: Klunco

                                              Read my other posts in this thread. The very first thing I wrote in one of the oldest posts in this thread is that it's ridiculous to compare Wegmans to Market Basket or other cheap markets. So try reading the thread before you post.

                                              And you got the label of the skirt steak wrong: that's not their normal skirt steak. I checked when I was in there this AM. So again ... reading.

                                              1. re: lergnom

                                                I'm not sure how you define "normal" in this context, but considering that is the only skirt steak they sell at the Chestnut Hill location (you can check on their handy app), that is their "normal" skirt steak, because it's the only one they sell. Other locations may sell cheaper skirt steaks, but we're talking about Chestnut Hill.

                                                High quality beef can get pricey, and I don't mind paying for a high quality cut from time to time, but what's more interesting, is for $18.99 that skirt isn't: Kobe, Wagyu, dry-aged, "USDA Prime," or grass fed.

                                                There is the marketing term "Food you can feel good about" on it which means no antibiotics, hormones, animal byproducts in food (standard at WF, where that same skirt steak is $9.99lb).

                                                I'm not sure how that phrase applies to the rest of their "normal" meat...I shouldn't feel good about it? And if I have to pay almost twice what I do at WF for those quality standards, that doesn't represent value to me. I will pay a premium price for a premium product but that's not the case here.

                                                In terms of comparing the prices/product quality to other markets, no comparison is apples to apples, but it's interesting to note where the deals are for each market and what's worth the "premium" price. This is no different than hounds comparing tacos from a yuppie taco place vs. a truck. Are two beef tacos really worth $11 at Tico when you could go to Jalisco and get them for a quarter of the price? Obviously atmosphere and service is part of the up charge, but comparing the tacos themselves on Chow is fair. If a place in Allston was putting out the exact-same plate of food that Craigie was for 1/4 of the price, but in a no-frills environment, would that be relevant? Of course.

                                                Is a 400% up charge on an identical product worth it because the Wegman's is a nicer atmosphere? It depends on how many of those items you're buying an how much you value what a grocery store looks like. If we're only going to talk about "premium quality" it's worth defining what the premium quality is that justifies the price increase and comparing against a WF is fair.

                                                One side note is the Valbreso Feta is cheaper at Wegman's than WF.

                                          2. re: Klunco

                                            I, too, am a stickler when it comes to quality and would rather pay more for better quality. That said, I was at Wegman's on Monday and found their produce to be very high quality and very fairly priced. I bought broccoli crowns for about $1.29 lb, a huge head of cauliflour for $2.50, a very fresh package of romaine hearts f0r $2.99, beautiful asparagus for $1.99 lb, bananas for .49 cents lb, and so on. I did pick up one red pepper that was "tired" but other than that everything looked great but I didn't look at the Yu-choy or black truffles.

                                            1. re: bakerboyz

                                              I'm glad to hear this. Not knowing when they stock, I know I need to go back a few times to get a better sense and it's not fair for me to judge quality of produce on a single visit.

                                              I guess I was just surprised after all the hype and waiting that the prices were higher than I expected. Maybe they restock produce Sunday night, so can shoot for a Monday night visit. I also want to check out the Wegman's liquor store. I guess I'm just trying to understand what really makes Wegman's inspire such devotion and I expected the prices to be lower, but then again they have to factor in the associated costs of Chestnut Hill/Mass etc.

                                              1. re: Klunco

                                                <What inspires such devotion.>

                                                In sure there are threads on chains about this.

                                                My mom really likes shopping at her Wegmans in NoVA for a couple reasons. First it is a good source of fish in her area and there is always someone available to help with recipes or questions. Sometimes samples. Last time she was up visiting I took her to New Deal and she was impressed. I suspect she would prefer to have access to good fishmonger s, but Wegmans works. Second reason is because the bakery stopped baking a loaf of bread that she really likes. The department manager said with 24th notice they could bake one for her. Their level of customer service is high.

                                                I always put their quality in line with whole foods, but with lower prices. I wouldn't compare them to Shaws, market basket, or shop and stop.

                                                1. re: Klunco

                                                  My impression of the prices were that they were all over the place, but tended towards being Stop & Shop prices for food that tended towards WF quality.

                                                  That said, there are plenty of exceptions. Other than the produce that was on sale (the broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc), most of the produce prices were...not great. I did not run into any tired-looking produce.

                                                  We only bought ground beef, but I peeked at a few of the other meat prices: they are high. But the $19/lb skirt steak you found is part of their higher-priced Food-You-Feel-Good-About line. For example, normal ribeyes are $9-11/lb (depending on package size), but the FYFGA ribeyes are $17/lb. Also, they have smoked salmon for $7/4oz or $15/12oz.

                                                  The nice thing is that most of their prices are online, so you can just input your usual shopping list and see if a trip is a good or bad idea.

                                              2. re: Klunco

                                                Just curious, what is wrong with storing truffles in rice? I worked for a pretty famous restaurant in NYC for years and our truffle purveyor dutifully arrived in the kitchen with truffles in rice for sale regularly.

                                                1. re: Bugsey34

                                                  I know it is still a commonly used technique but storing in rice leeches aroma and moisture from the truffles. Truffles are obviously best eaten asap, but storing in either in paper, a loose damp paper towel or glass is a better option. Or if you're really really old school, wax (although no, I wouldn't recommend that).

                                                  1. re: Klunco

                                                    Thanks! Was curious myself as the mushroom guy who supplied the restaurant I worked at last, with a pretty shroom obsessed chef (Daniel Bruce) did the same. Cool how food technique is in constant flux

                                              3. Went there Saturday morning, around 8AM. Wide open, easy to park and get in and get around. Prepared foods sections were all closed, other than the fruit bar.

                                                Thought the store was well laid out, was disappointed in that the three things we were looking for, they did not have. We enjoy their Chocolate Babka (as good as Zabars), but did not see any. They also do not have a whitefish salad of their own, only a commercial brand (in the kosher section, none in the fishmarket). And the bakery has no seeded breads. Closest was one with pepitas that also had carrots and other stuff inside.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: L2k

                                                  Speaking of bakery disappointments, we've been dismayed to find that they're currently only serving sandwiches on ciabatta - we were told that they don't yet have the appropriate oven in place to be able to bake sub rolls.

                                                  1. re: L2k

                                                    The whitefish salad they sell is Acme (from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, named for the cartoons), same as Costco, Market Basket sell. It's good.

                                                    I suggest saying something about what you want. I know a few other people who want them to carry actual whitefish and have brought it up. I heard one manager explain they are outsourcing Kosher so they don't have a kitchen issue.

                                                    1. re: lergnom

                                                      When they opened in Northborough, I lobbied for them to carry tongue, and they considered it, but decided not to pursue it further.

                                                    2. re: L2k

                                                      That Babka is excellent, i have got it at Northborough before

                                                      1. re: hargau

                                                        They carry Greens Babka in the kosher section. A few days ago, I got a cinnamon one.

                                                        1. re: catsmeow

                                                          Greens chocolate Babka is like crack. I would be interested to hear how it compares to the Wegmans brand babka.

                                                          1. re: black_lab

                                                            Green's is the brand that Zabar's sells (under their own label). I now buy it through the Green''s web site, as it's cheaper than at Zabar's.

                                                            1. re: kimfair1

                                                              Greens is also available through Amazon, and shipping is slightly cheaper. Russ and Daughters has it as well, so it's always a good addition to an order from them.

                                                              1. re: black_lab

                                                                Cheaper shipping than from Green's? I saw that Green's actually sells them on Amazon. I buy it around the holidays for the folks at work, and am generally buying 10-15 at a time. Shipping sure isn't $7.77 each like on amazon! Last year, I think I paid around $25-30 for shipping.