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whole foods coming to west orange?


bill70
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I'm ducking as I say this...I spent almost 2 hours in the new WF today (2:30-4:30ish). Went with 3 friends, all of whom frequent the Montclair store, all of whom were blown away by this one, and none of whom have ever been to Wegmans. :hmmm: I thought the same thing that Jim did--it reminded me an awful lot of Wegmans! That's NOT a bad thing, kids. Not a bad thing at all. It's a big, beautiful space and I'll certainly pop over there when I want to really shop at WF (vs. running in to the Montclair store for a couple of items). I'm with Jim on the vast amount of parking and on the lack of crowds once we were in the store, even though it was hopping--except for the dearth of senior citizens who literally turned a corner and got confused.

We had a quick/late lunch of Indian food from the hot bar. In general, the food was good, especially the Chicken Tikka Masala, which is my point-of-comparison dish. The aloo chole was lacking, but the spice was good; perhaps I'll try it again if it's a fresher batch. The only major complaint was the naan--not something that should sit on a steam table! I knew it when I took a piece, but what's Indian food without naan?!? :raz: That part of the store was annoyingly crowded, so we got our food and ran for the registers. Issue: There isn't a register dedicated to paying for food from the salad/soup/hot bars, so you wait in line with everyone else, hoping the food isn't getting cold (it was) before you can get a seat at the front of the store. Issue: The utensils are almost at the exit, rather than closer to the tables. You literally almost walk out of the store to get a fork. Weird, and easily resolved if they choose to. If nothing else, they could put some near the food bars!

I had gelato. GINGER gelato. And some pumpkin, too, but the ginger was just stunning. (Thanks, Eric, for sending me that way!)

I didn't shop a whole lot--it was definitely more about browsing, but I did have a short list with me, and managed to buy those items + a few bonuses. I saw lots of interesting items that I've certainly never found in the Montclair location, and a huge selection of Asian foods. They have a small clothing selection, a HUGE health/beauty aids dept, the seafood dept is very impressive, as is the chocolate (if you're into that--I'm not). LOTS of interesting salts in what I thought was an odd place--on a shelf in the cheese department behind tons of cheeses! Tasted the aforementioned Chilean Sea Bass, and was given the same pitch...then I realized that I saw a sign saying something like "WF Welcomes Back Chilean Sea Bass" in the Montclair store last week. It was tasty, but at $25/lb, I'd rather have Chef Zod cook it for me at Blu! :-) TONS of employees, and I loved the fact that I asked where something was, and the woman said "Stay here--I don't know, but I'll find out." And she did. Registers were slooooooow, but that's to be expected at this point.

The one thing I really didn't get is why there are a bunch of cops standing around at the entrance and exit, but NOT ONE directing traffic at the light on the Eagle Rock Ave side. I finally turned right and pulled a U-turn in the Chinese restaurant to maket the left turn. Somebody needs to look at the timing of those lights, as it's going to get far worse, not better.

VERY nice touch: cart retrieval guys in the parking lot. I was looking around for a cart corral, and a young guy came up and said "I'll take that for you." Shockingly nice service, imo. And when questioned, he said it is a permanent feature--not just special today.

All in all, I'm very happy to have such a huge WF close by; I'll just be very careful about when I go so I can avoid some of the traffic getting out.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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"except for the dearth of senior citizens who literally turned a corner and got confused."

Ahem!! That was me and Lowell.

I was disappointed that they didn't have kosher meat. I like kosher chicken and turkey. Otherwise beside leaving my mortgage money there I was very impressed with the store.

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"

TABLE HOPPING WITH ROSIE

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We got there last night after dinner - about 8:00 p.m. The lot was still crowded, but a parking space was easy to come by. In general, the store was fabulous, and I can see my weekly food budget bumping up with this paradise just up the street.

The salt selection was enticing. There were even more choices (plus the same ones from the cheese area) in the spice aisle. The freshly roasted spiced and sugared nuts were a nice addition. I like to cook from scratch, but some of the meats and poultry prepared for cooking were luring me in and, I will definitely plan a meal with the dry aged steaks - wow!

The thing that irked me the most at WF Montclair was that no matter when I shopped they were always stocking shelves. I think the space is so small that they didn't have any storage in the back of the store, so when the food came in it needed to go right to the shelves. With those narrow aisles, I was constantly detouring.

Welcome to town, Whole Foods!!!

Marie

NJDuchess

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The only question that remains is: who will want to go the Montclair location any longer?!

Folks who live or work in Montclair and see the drive to W Orange as a hassle.

The real question is whether there will be enough of those folks to sustain the Montclair store.

I work in Montclair, live in the opposite direction from W Orange & expect to get there once in a blue moon. Though if they stock Maine Shrimp in season when the Montclair branch doesn't, that will change to a couple times a week.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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The real question is whether there will be enough of those  folks  to sustain the Montclair store.

Maybe they are using the "big" Kings in Verona and the "little" Kings in Upper Montclair as a model ...

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$25/lb. for Chilean Sea Bass? LOL!

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." ~Winston Churchill

Morels- God's gift to the unworthy human species

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After grabbing dinner at Keo Ku this evening, we decided to stop off at the new Whole Foods for a quick browse. We got there at 9:45pm, and the place was quite empty. Only had time for a quick look around - a very decent sized store, certainly feels more like the Wegmans near my office in Woodbridge, rather than the Whole Foods in Millburn or Montclair.

Anyway, as I savored the delights of my Ginger gelato (yeah, I could get seriously addicted to that stuff), I purused the list of upcoming events (Adult sushi class - interesting!), as well as forthcoming vendor demos (Cheeses from Britain at lunchtime on November 5th, so I get get a taste of the home country!)

When I get a bit more time, I'll go back for a more leisurely browse (and try to escape without having to cash in the 401K ;)

edit: oops, typo!

Edited by jb_973 (log)
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I couldn't have been more impressed with this store! The parking is plentiful, the aisles are spacious, the staff friendly and helpful... It's quite a facility.

I was a little disappointed by some subtle differences b/w W. Orange and Montclair. Several of the items that are available as prepared foods in Montclair are kind of lumped together in the salad bar sections in West Orange.

Take for example, Golden Sesame Tofu. In Montclair, it can be purchased for under $7 per pound. In West Orange, it is available in the salad bar section where everything is sold at a flat rate of $8 per pound. I suppose I don't car for this generalized pricing as opposed to specific pricing for specific items.

This new location reminds me of the Edgewater location but just a bit... grander.

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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I forgot to mention, if you go, ask to try the bourbon maple pecans, they're spectacular!

They taste like maple wallnut ice cream, without the ice cream.

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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amazing! I didn't have enough time this trip to take it all in; it's a bit overwhelming. It could be the "Wegmans" of essex county I suppose. Huge selections, especially meats and seafood. Can't wait to return!

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not sure that I would compare it to Wegman's...But oh, what a store...I couldn't really take it all in ...was there for the first time today...they still have a lot of bugs to work out with their machines...BUT I learned from the Customer Service people that there will be a Paramus store...77,000 sq. ft. opening (??in about a year??) and then one in Union where the putting course is near Home Depot..and then the Millburn store will move over there...that one will be 60,000 sq.ft...and they are both listed on the Whole Foods Web site as under development...all I can say is WOW...and maybe Shop Rite will clean up their act...It is all good for the areas involved.. :smile::biggrin:

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At Whole Foods yesterday, I came to a startling and disappointing realization. At the salad bars, where they charge for food by the pound, they do not have a single scale! :shock:

This just isn't practical. I don't think that the majority Whole Foods clientele are going to break the bank at the salad bar, but I do think that you should have a better idea of how much food you are purchasing rather than just utilizing the "eyeball" technique.

They really should have a scale or two by the salad bar rather than just hoping that the customers won't mind when they find out at the register.

Blessed are those who engage in lively conversation with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called, "Dentists." (anonymous)

Life is too short for bad Caesar Salad. (Me)

Why would you poison yourself by eating a non-organic apple? (HL)

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I was there last night with friends (one of them on his 'virgin' trip to the new store), and we were thrilled to meet Scott, one of the guys working the counter at the Seafood Shack.

My friends were trying to decide on which of the smoked fish to buy (whiting vs. whitefish vs. salmon vs. about 8 other choices); Scott was extremely knowledgeable about the differences between the fish, and when he asked "Do you want a nosh?" my friend nearly jumped over the case to hug him. As he was cutting the whitefish, he handed her a small piece in paper, and we happily

'noshed' while he finished getting the rest of their order.

Then the virgin and I had some fun in the cheese department, where we again found friendly, helpful staff members. We tasted (and ended up buying) a gorgeous, rich semi-soft cheese with truffle oil (name escapes me, but it has a grey ashy rind, and runs $21.99/lb), a favorite of mine called Piave, which is a nutty, flavorful hard cow's milk cheese from Italy, a terrific Australian cheddar, and a few others. At some point, I said to him "All we need to do is open a bottle of wine over here, and we'd officially have a party!" :biggrin:

Service like that is the reason it's worth the trip and the cost, imo. I'm officially 10+ miles from this store, but have NO issues with making the trip!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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Do you think you can BYO at Whole Foods?

You know, that's not a totally crazy question, Rosie...when I was at the smoked fish counter (on the end of the Seafood Shack), I noticed that a guy eating at the counter was drinking what looked like a bottle of beer. Of course, this could easily be a bottle of IBC root beer, or some other such item. I fully intended to walk over an get a closer look, but it was at that moment that Scott offered up the nosh, and I got completely distracted.

Anyone well-versed on the ABC rules?? I could seriously plant myself in the cheese dept with a baguette and some wine...and some prosciutto...and some of those roasted tomatoes that they sell in the cheese department...and...and... :laugh:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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  • 1 month later...

I FINALLY got to the new Whole Foods in WO.

I knew it was going to be a great place from all the comments here ----- but I really wasn't prepared on HOW good! Was I ever impressed! With all the things they have packed into the store, I was amazed at how spacious it is. I've been back a secone time, but both visits were rushed as it was last minute food for Christmas, but I fully intend to bo back soon and just browse, to take it all in. (And to buy, too!)

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  • 5 weeks later...

Finally got to this place this afternoon, I suppose giving another little kick to my expiring ShopRite in the process. What I expected. Huge & overwhelming. Produce pretty consistently triple the price of that at the Rt. 17 Farmers Market. Good prices on mineral water & bulk cereals as usual. Selection of prepared foods to rival that at their Union Square outpost.

Highlight of the experience had to be getting deliberately shouldered by a young man in thug's clothing in an apparent game of sidewalk chicken as I approached the store's entrance. Not gonna be good for business if that keeps up.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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I had a piece of the whole wheat pizza a week or so ago, and while it was tasty, I actually thought the dough was too thick for what it was. It LOOKS delicious, but after the second bite, I felt like they're just selling heavy brick oven pizzas to make $$...not great pizza. And for $3.85 for what's essentially a slice, well, now I've tried it. :huh:

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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  • 11 months later...

Just got the following email from the West Orange WF, so I thought I'd share:

Shop with us on Wednesday, January 16th, as 5% of our net sales will go to support Action Against Hunger.

Action Against Hunger has helped feed the hungry in Northern New Jersey since 1991. Over the years the initiative has grown, and the food drive now encompasses four counties in Northern New Jersey. Action Against Hunger is now the largest food drive in the metropolitan area, serving 65 pantries, which assist more than 40,000 clients.

Edited to fix spacing issue.

Edited by Curlz (log)

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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