Friday, May 20, 2011

The biggest supermarket in New Jersey?

Dipnet fisherman on Copper River at Chitina.Image via Wikipedia
Wegmans has fresh wild salmon from the Copper River in Alaska, above.

Correction (May 16, 2012): After reading news reports about the size of Wegmans Food Markets, I called company headquarters and was told the Woodbridge store is nearly 140,000 square feet. A year ago, an employee told me the store is 45,000 square feet.


As big as it is, I completely missed the Wegmans Food Market in Woodbridge and drove a mile or so out of my way on Friday before asking for directions.

At nearly 140,000 square feet, this is the largest Wegmans in the state and likely one of the largest supermarkets in the Garden State -- if not the largest.

We entered the long, two-story brick building at the end with a cafe and market, and decided to have lunch before doing any food shopping.

We saw a sub shop, a pizzeria, a kosher deli, a bakery, a large cheese counter, an olive bar and a sushi section, in addition to hot and cold buffets. You can eat your food in a spacious second-floor dining room.

My wife and I chose food from the Asian Wokery, including white or brown rice, all at $7.99 a pound, resulting in a pricey lunch that wasn't worth the detour.

For $6.95, I got vegetarian meatballs, which I liked, though the Panang curry sauce was bland;  plus cauliflower and stir-fried tofu. But the small container of brown rice rang up at an additional $2.96. 

My wife chose what looked like three meaty ribs and broccoli for $8.39, but asked for and got a refund. She said the ribs tasted as if they weren't cooked thoroughly.

Wegmans Food MarketsImage via Wikipedia

We found a small shopping cart and started exploring the grocery aisles under a two-story, warehouse-like ceiling, discovering a garden shop, kitchenware section and pharmacy.

The prices at the seafood counter were through the roof, but Wegmans is the first store I've seen this season with fresh wild salmon from the storied Copper River in Alaska. 

The fillets were $24.99 a pound -- about $10 more a pound than Costco Wholesale charged last June.

Unlike Whole Foods Market, Wegmans carries live lobsters for $9.99 or $10.99 a pound, depending on size.

We saw lots of groceries at low prices with a store card, including a 64-ounce bottle of organic lemonade for $1.99; a 6-ounce cup of low-fat yogurt with fruit for 40 cents; and VO5 shampoo for 77 cents.

I also bought a 10-ounce container of panko breadcrumbs for $1.99 that is sold under the Wegmans label, as are eggs, milk, cola, pasta sauce and many other items.

A half-gallon of Smart Balance fat-free and lactose-free milk was on sale for $2.79, an unusually low price for milk without lactose.

I asked an employee at the courtesy counter whether Wegmans is planning a Bergen County store. He said a few years ago, the company looked and couldn't find a property that was big enough in the "Hackensack area."

Now, he said, the company is pursuing expansion in other states.

Wegmans Food Market, 15 Woodbridge Center Drive, Woodbridge; 732-596-3200.
Web site: Wegmans

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  1. Wegmans Shmegmans. 45,000 square feet, that's a bodega compared to the Fairway in Stamford, which is 80,000 square feet, and I'm guessing it's about equidistant from Hackensack compared with Woodbridge. I don't know about Copper River salmon, but they do have Copco tea kettles.

  2. Woodbridge is 35-37 miles from Hackensack.

    With a Fairway in Paramus, why would I drive to Stamford?

  3. Wegmans has one thing in common with Fairway. Neither gives you a discount for reusable bags.

  4. Because the Fairway in Stamford makes the Fairway in Paramus look like a 1950s A&P by comparison. You won't find different specials from the one in Paramus, but as a culinary adventurer, don't you kind of owe a review to your readers? I mean, wouldn't you want to visit the Taj Mahal even after you'd been to the Trump Taj Mahal? PS: Fairway Paramus' customer appreciation barbecue is this Saturday, free hamburgers and potato chips.

  5. And Stamford is 38 miles. All you do is turn around and go in the other direction on Route 95. Heck, even the tolls are about the same, five bucks on the Tap, maybe less if you have EZPass, and it has to cost a coupla bucks to Woodbridge.

  6. Yes. I'm posting something on the Paramus food stampede tomorrow morning, but will get as far away from there as possible.

    If I go to New Haven for coal-oven pizza, I can see stopping at Stamford Fairway on way home.

  7. Don't tell me you're getting a cut on Stamford sales.

  8. No cut on the sales, but they do have pizzas at the Stamford Fairway.

  9. And there is a Wegmans in Bridgewater that may be a couple of miles closer to me.

  10. Once upon a time in the mid 90s Wegmans was reasonably priced. I first went to their locations in Johnson City, NY and Dickson City, PA. I hadn't been to one of their locations in quite a while then around 2005 or so went to the Bridgewater store and realized how inflated their prices were. A few years later while on a business trip to Scranton I had lunch there and ended up paying close to $20 for a plate of Chinese food and a drink. The quality was always there but the prices are really through the roof.

  11. In fairness to Wegmans, we chose the lunch by the pound, but there were signs offering $6 lunches -- an entree and two sides. I'll do that next time.

    Wegmans low-fat yogurt with fruit is 40 cents for a 6-ounce cup, but it's really delicious, as good as organic.

    Also, Wegmans charges $1.99 for organic lemonade, the same price for Whole Foods' conventional lemonade.

    I'm planning to check out the Bridgewater store next; it's a few miles closer to Hackensack.


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