Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's so Fair about Fairway?

Fairway Market is coming to town this fall. They are setting up shop in the Harbor Point Development at the corner of Market and Canal Streets. The Fairway site describes it as "one of New York City's most lauded and beloved food emporiums for more than 75 years." Ok, so what do other people say?

Yelp reviews of the Upper West Side store tell me that the produce is top notch. The store emphasizes organic products and humanely raised meats. Reviewers ding it for being too crowded and some less than stellar customer service, but most reviews are very positive. Several entries begin "Oh Fairway, how do I love thee?" Prices are described as fair, although some produce prices are more than expected. Noteworthy products include fresh crushed peanut butter, rare cheeses, cured meats and prepared foods. This location (not sure about others) is open until 1am! Sweet.

The Harlem location gets even better Yelp reviews. One review described it as "Quite possibly the best grocery store in the world." Another review described the store providing jackets to customers so they can walk into something called the Cold Room. Apparently the Cold Room is a giant refrigerated room filled with beer, soda, meat, ice cream and other frozen food. Pun sorta intended - that's very cool! Might be a nice way to shop in summer. People also say good things about the store's olive bar, baked goods and European specialty foods.

New York Magazine doesn't have any customer reviews posted, but its own write-up is equally glowing. It begins "For many Upper West Siders, life without Fairway is inconceivable." It goes on to describe the store as "an indispensable culinary resource." Hard to get more warm and fuzzy than that!

The Citysearch reviews are a slightly less stellar, with most of the critical comments revolving around surly customer service and crowds. Still, most of those reviews say nice things about the food offerings. Reviews from Insiderpages are excellent.

You can see the opening of Fairway Paramus, NJ from last year on YouTube narrated by Dan Glickberg, a fourth generation owner. They also have a YouTube channel where you can gain more insights into what they do and who they are (wanna learn from the defending East Coast Champion Mellon Picker? You got it!). It's all pretty charming, and gives you the impression that the place is very family friendly. They keep that impression alive locally by sponsoring this year's Big Apple Circus in Stamford.

So now I officially have high hopes! Looking forward to checking out our new neighbor.


Streets of Stamford said...

Fairway is like Whole Foods without the pretention (and, hopefully, without the swarms of oblivious women driving gigantic SUVs) -- which is not to say that I don't love Whole Foods, because I do!

I work down near Fairway, so I really, really can't wait!

After Words said...

I was a regular shopper at the Fairway in Red Hook, Brooklyn before we moved to CT in 2008. I liked the store, but I never truly loved it: the selection was great compared to the small grocery stores in my neighborhood, but I don't see that being a real draw for me in the suburbs where all the grocery stores have reasonably good selection.

I wonder how it'll do, though: the new Whole Foods in Darien is rarely crowded.

Chris Preovolos said...

I cannot wait for Fairway to open.

The Harlem location is super easy to get to from the West Side Highway and has a large parking lot, so I try to hit it up when I'm passing through.

It's all kinds of awesome.


Anonymous said...

Streets of Stamford wrote:

Fairway is like Whole Foods without the pretension (and, hopefully, without the swarms of oblivious women driving gigantic SUVs).

Hope so. I gave up on WF in Greenwich after uber competitive starving 75 lb blondes in Range Rovers started to think of the rest of us as road kill. Have not been in WF for about 8 years now.

I am looking forward to FM in Stamford -- it's out of my way but I'll go to it in addition to Shoprite in Commerce Plaza in Stamford