We were a little hesitant to review Fairway Market after our first visit, simply for that fact that it was such a massive sensory overload, there was absolutely no way we absorbed everything in that first trip. Well, that, and it was so freakin’ busy I’m pretty sure I now know what cattle feel like when being herded through a gate.
That said, we agreed that like many Stamfordites, our first impression really would either make or break Fairway Market as our grocery store of choice. So, for all intents and purposes, we’re just going to ignore that part about the massive crowds since that’s sure to die down in a week or two.
From the moment we walked in we were incredibly impressed by the ginormous fresh area, which you’re forced to walk through first. This unique layout reinforces their whole fresh, healthier positioning by keeping you out of the middle aisles from the start. In the fresh area you can find every fruit or veggie you can imagine, from the average onion to the more exotic cactus pears and persimmons. Then over to their RIDICULOUS artisanal cheese selection (AKA my personal heaven), then to the fresh pastas, sauces, soups, salsas, salads, pickles, olives, hummus… holy crap! And the olive oil and vinegar section? We didn’t even know olive oil was produced in so many regions, but we darn well sampled them all at their sample bar, which led us to buy the most DELICIOUS bottle of syrupy sweet balsamic vinegar (just like it was in Italy) privately labeled for Fairway as super premium. YUM!
To add to the list of highlights was a full deli, meat market, fresh seafood counter, and bakery with fresh baked breads and sweet, sweet homemade goodies! Now, sure, all our area grocery stores have a mix of two to three of these, but NEVER all four done to the extent Fairway Market’s is! Anything you could need from any of these sections is available at your fingertips.
And, if you find yourself buying everything in site because you’re so hungry, you can stop by the intense cafe area for everything from pizza and paninis, to indian and chinese, to burgers, dogs and fries. Of course we had to get a little sometin’ sometin’ to tide us over, so we indulged in the balsamic chicken sandwich with roasted red peppers, olive oil, mozzarella, and broccoli rabe on their amazingly oooey gooey fresh baked bread. DE-LISH!
Once we were done exploring the utopia that is the outer perimeter, we ventured into the inner aisles, for a satisfactory, but less impressive experience with the exception of these highlights:
- COFFEE PARADISE – barrels and barrels of deliciously aromatic coffee beans from all over the world armed with eager employees ready to help you choose, grind, and bag, as well as well-written signs to describe each beans’ characteristics.
- A ton of organic / natural choices in all categories, including personal care and home care.
- Fresh granola, nuts, candies, peanut butter, snack mixes, etc. ready for your bagging.
On the flip side, the layout of the inner aisles was confusing, with awkward placing of organic from traditional groceries, and the same types of food being spread out in two, sometimes three different aisles. Assuming we can get past this strange layout with a view visits, we’re still left challenged with these three pitfalls:
- While all their fresh made and privately labeled food looks phenominal, none of it, not one thing, had the nutritional information on it. For a couple that tries to count calories (emphasis on tries) during the weekdays, this is a huge issue.
- Their selection of pet food and frozen food was very limited, which basically means we need to go to a second grocery store to finish our trip. How much is it to ask to have a ONE-STOP grocery store that has everything you need so you don’t need to waste your weekends grocery store hopping?
- And last, but not least, price. We thought Fairway Market was suppose to be significantly more affordable than Whole Foods, but, sadly it was marginally less expensive. Our bill came to $208, which is about $20 – $25 less than Whole Foods, and about $20 – $35 more than Stop & Shop.
After weighing out the good with the bad, we’re pretty sure Fairway Market makes the cut as our grocery store of choice… mainly because of the fantastic fresh areas and varieties. For this, we’re willing to pay somewhere in between fancy and traditional prices. We’ll be sure to update our blog once we’ve had a few trips under our carts… err, hats.
Address: 699 Canal St.
Stamford, CT 06902