They opened today and I walked around and got take-out lunch. Initial reactions:
It is a well laid out, beautiful store with modern, well designed graphics and all new fixtures. It looks more like a Whole Foods Market than an A&P.
Prices seemed comparable to major supermarkets, though I did not do a formal survey. They have a meat take out dept (deli & sushi). Sushi ranges from $5-16 for a tray. The meat and vegetable items were, for the most part, standard items, with a few barely more creative. All were, however, presented attractively rather than just piled into a metal tray. Similar to Sammy's Deli in Teaneck. the deli is branded as Mechy's. They used too much plastic packaging but that is pretty common in these operations.
They had a small fresh fish dept, large meat dept with what appeared to be nicely cut, high quality meat, both grass and grain fed. Produce was all fresh. All the shelves were neat and packed (this IS the first day.
The merchandise was, with a few exceptions, unexceptional. That is, the same thing you would find at Stop and Shop or any kosher grocery. Fairway has more upscale kosher foods. Despite the appearance, this is not Whole Foods Kosher. There was little evidence of an emphasis on locally-grown produce, organic, international cuisine or hard to find products (though there was a few of the latter). Yes, you can get Udon noodles from Australia, but you are more likely to buy Miller's Cheese and Fruit Loops than artisanal cheese or French pastry.
Baked goods were standard fare, nothing like what you'd find at Fairway (though they had a lot of cheesecake, perhaps the bakery made too much for Shavuot. They did have fresh bread, but I did not try it.
No salad bar. There is valet parking (parking was always a problem in peak hours in the old store.
The place seemed way over-staffed, though some may be from their other stores to see how it goes. The register software looks like it was state of the art in 1995 -- my clerk had a lot of trouble using it.
In sum, they are moving the kosher market up a notch, but not to a new category. They know that Kew Gardens Hills is not the Upper West Side and the locals want kishke, not pate. It is, in sum a supermarket, not a specialty store. Still, it is a far nicer place to shop than the old Supersol and that certainly makes a big difference.
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