Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

A Fowlers Report


bandregg
 Share

Recommended Posts

I spent some pre-holiday time at the newly reopened Fowlers today; these are my impressions.

Wine

The wine department is almost fully returned to its former glory. The Champagne wall was been moved to a more prominent location and there are now a slew of choices in French Chapagne around the 30$ price point. There is also a fair amount of vintage Champagne around the 55$ price point. Notably absent form the sparkly section of the past was the Krug, not that I could ever afford it, but it was always there.

The floor selections were, as before, good bottles at better prices, with plenty of cases ready to be snatched up for a quick fete. There were also a number of individual bottles for sale at 25% on a center table. Some of these appeared to have damaged labels, and others looked like they just needed to be moved. No really great deals, I'm afraid.

The rest of the section was a little slimmer than before the close and at the height of that departments glory, but the world was well represented with choices ranging from white spanish wines to red south africans. All in all a very plesant place to pick up a case (15% discount). There aren't prices on everything just yet, but hopefully that will change soon.

Beer

The beer coolers were nearly stocked full with your favorite hard to find labels. Fortunately for us, but not for Fowlers, more and more of these can be found at Whole Foods or even the Teeter for a little less.

Specialty foods

The specialty food section was, as always, a wonderful and chaotic place to shop: a few dozen hot sauces here, a six pack of stuffed olives there, and plenty of dried pasta. There weren't any glaring omissions, though again, not everything had a price on it yet, and the shelves were more bare than last year at this time. The candy department still had a wonderful array of chocolate and I'm enjoying a piece of the new sharffenberger milk bar right now (finally, milk chocolate worth eating!).

Prepared Foods

There was a fair line of people ordering and eating lunch when I was there. I was planning on eating some home-made bbq so I didn't check this out too much. The smells coming from the kitchen indicate that the cooks know what they're doing. I'll be grabbing a bite sometime in the future.

OK, so far everything is great, a little trimmer than before, but that's too be expected. So onto the bad news.

Produce

I'm not sure why Fowlers even has a produce bin. Even when the market was in full swing in the past they've only had the random assortment of fresh veg and pretty much never enough to proclude me from having to shop somewhere else anyway. I guess some people are happy paying extra for a squash, not my thing. The produce bin was just as before.

Kitchenwares

There are no kitchenwares to be found outside of some foil cups with the baking supplied. I know this is a touch area, the new owners have been quoted as saying that Fowlers NEVER made money on kitchenwares, but that they were expected to carry them anyway. I hope that they figure this out. I think the previous owners had it wrong. I'll go to Fowlers to buy a measuring cup, or other cooking implements. I'm not going to go there to buy Asian themed plateware. I hope they work it out.

Meat

I never shopped at Fowlers during the glory days of their meat counter. When I started to drop by the meat guys always had a few good looking pieces of something, but no variety and high prices. I used to think the stories I heard about the meat counter indicated I didn't know a secret password or how to find the walk in. The meat counter is one, short refrigerated cooler, just like before they closed. They had some homemade looking sausage, and some Filet's for 23$/# as well as a few porkchops (4.99$/#) and that was about it. I'm holding onto my hopes that I'll get to see the past I missed reborn.

And that's that.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Bryan. Your report confirmed my fears. In its current state, I don't see how Fowlers can compete with Southern Season and Whole Foods. I stopped going to Fowlers when they moved into their current space, because they also stopped providing the specialized service for cheeses and meats. Cheeses were still OK, but not what they were. Oh well. Anyone know of a kick-ass butcher in the Triangle?????

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whenever we have had to find obscure meat or fish, we have had much better luck at Fowler's than anywhere else in the Triangle--and we have looked quite a bit. Price is always high, but they have been able to find things that others could not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember going to Fowler's many years ago--while visiting a friend in the area--and being delighted by it. I'm sorry to learn that it's not all of what it used to be. What happened to the former ownership? Does anyone have time to recap the history of the place? It sounds like it may have been shuttered for a while before this re-opening, no?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I meant to include a review of the cheese counter. Here it is.

The cheese counter looks pretty much like it has in the recent past. Two cool cases of good quality sometimes hard to find cheese. It was much less disappointing than the meat counter. That said, I don't know that they had anything I couldn't get at Whole Foods.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Cliff's in Carboro for a butcher. Its okay. Old school. they get there meat from buckhead beef.  Good Ckickens.

Yeah, Cliff's. We got some good Australian lamb shoulder there for 3.99/lb.

And I'm intrigued by all the Mexican goodies.

But it looks like there used to be another room in use there. I just moved here so I don't know- are they expanding? Contracting? Probably the latter, as even Whole Foods mows down locally-owned food shops. :sad:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Cliff's is alright if you're in need of cheap/tolerable steak, but it's definitely not a full-fledged "kick-ass" butcher. If you're looking for a wide variety of truly high quality meats in the Triangle--as far as I know--you're fuct. I'd kill for some serious boar.

And I'll have to counter your cheese counter comment, Varmint. I've managed to nab a number of beautiful cheeses that I can't find at Whole Foods or A Southern Season; it rocks.

Formerly known as "Melange"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am usually not one to stick up for the institution/individual being knocked, but I will say in this instance, that I was impressed that Fowler's does dry age their own beef and they will cut their steaks to order. That is nothing to blush at, I reckon.

Secondly, from a vox populi stand point, the last couple times I have been in there around lunch time (it is located close enough to Torrero's that I like to duck in when I go for Macho Burrito Mondays) there seems to be more than decent sized crowd for a lunch time location in downtown Durham.

William McKinney aka "wcmckinney"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was there for the first time about a month ago lured by 13.99/lb whole USDA Prime Tenderloins. These were worth the price and were very nice pieces of meat for the money. The meat looked good to me with about a dozen or so selection. I also bought a wonderful duck breast and a piece of fois gras.

The wine dept was decent

The cheese dept had some cheeses I have not seen in NC so I was pleased, they even had one of my favorites Brin d amour (a sheeps from Corsica)

All in all I was impressed and will be back for selected goods. Not a one stop shop, but a nice place to have around.

I will have report though that I bought 16 gulf oysters to fry for an salad, and they were all way past gone. When I shucked them they were shrivled up and rancid. I have never experenced this with gulfs and get good ones from places like WinDIxie. A dissappointment. They did have a whole Turbot in the window at 23/lb.

nate

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fowlers meat department is perfect if you are looking for prime aged beef and some game type meats. If you are looking for something more simple, then the prices are too high. I've had some homemade venison sausage and some aged strips and they both were excellent. They now have foie gras for a small fee of $70/pound.

I will quickly mention their beer selection is outstanding for the size. I feel like I know my craft beers and Fowlers delivers in this area. The beer buyer is the former buyer at Whole Foods Durham. They do not have the selection of Peace St. Market or Sams quick shop, but they do have quality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...