How do Upper West Side grocery stores comare with one another?
July 7, 2008 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Fairway, D'Ag, Westside Market, Garden of Eden. What's the diff? Tell me all about Upper West Side grocery stores.

I'm moving to the UWS soon and during my last visit I was shocked--and thrilled!--with my grocery shopping options. So how do those stores compare with one another? I'm mostly looking for price comparisons and differences in inventory.

I'll be living on 107th and Broadway, so are there any other grocery stores around me that I haven't yet discovered?
posted by HotPatatta to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yelp is great for grocery store reviews.
posted by nitsuj at 9:52 AM on July 7, 2008

Not sure if you neglected it for a reason, but how about Zabar's on Broadway at 81st?
posted by JaredSeth at 10:22 AM on July 7, 2008

d'agostino and westside are good basic stores with some gourmet stuff. fairway is cheaper, bigger, has a much broader selection, and is further away (you will definitely need a granny cart and possibly have to spring for a cab to get home if you don't want lug your goods on the subway).

i don't remember garden of eden (haven't lived on the UWS in about 6 years), but if it's what i'm thinking of, it's going to be your basic overpriced but crunchy health-food store.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:52 AM on July 7, 2008

Here's my impression as a three year UWS resident. Fairway is your best bet in terms of price, inventory and selection. While you may be closer to the Harlem store the UWS store is more accessible via subway. The gf and I do our larger shopping runs primarily at either one of these two locations. Unfortunately, there is a bit of an underlap in what they stock which means if I want portabellinis (Harlem Fairway) I have to forgo organic fat/sugar free bulk granola (UWS Fairway).

As for any other store, I find that price comparisons need to be made on an item by item basis. For instance, at my local grocery store, Broadway Farms @ 85th, their organic milk/yogurt is way overpriced but their organic apples are competitive. So I tend to buy dairy there only when I'm completely out but apples with abandon.
posted by funkiwan at 10:54 AM on July 7, 2008

Fairway is like no other market. Seriously. It's like an actual super-market. But it's a schlep to the two locations around there from where you are. It is good for a serious first-stock-of-the-kitchen run, as they have pretty much everything you could want and the prices are very reasonable. If I could, I would shop there all the time, but it just isn't that convenient for me. It's sort of confusing, with things appearing in multiple locations and sometimes the layout/location of items isn't logical. Be prepared with a little granny cart, a car, or to pay for delivery. The giant freezer is awesome though (especially in the summer). You should go just for the experience and I guarantee you will end up buying stuff (like we did).

I do most of my store-based shopping at Westside and D'Ag. Lately Westside hasn't been doing so well in the freshness department - I had a seriously gross apple and a moldy frozen pizza from one recent shopping trip. Otherwise I have been pleased with them. They are very friendly and will generally stock something if you ask for it. I head over to D'Ag's for whatever I can't get at Westside in any given trip since they are across the street. The prices are okay at both locations, I haven't really noticed them as being outrageous.

Zabar's is great but I wouldn't really consider it a "grocery store" - but it's great for ready-to-eat or harder-to-find delicacies. I found the same with Garden of Eden. These places are a little more gourmet and I noticed the prices to be a little higher.

I highly highly highly, recommend FreshDirect, supplemented by purchases from any of the stores in the area. To be perfectly honest, all those thrilling grocery options get old really quickly when the store is so packed you can't move and you are sick and tired of carrying your groceries home in 95 degree weather or pouring rain or snow. Seriously, I can't speak highly enough of FreshDirect. There is nothing like buying your groceries over your lunch hour from the comfort of your desk and then just sitting back in your apartment while you wait for the delivery man. They also have recipes and ready-to-cook stuff. The prices are comparable with area stores, though lately some of them have seemed to edge upwards.
posted by ml98tu at 11:05 AM on July 7, 2008

Fresh Direct is great, if you like ruining your neighborhood by clogging your streets with idling trucks--causing pollution, traffic jams, and highly dangerous situations for cyclists whose bike lanes are blocked by these wonderful trucks of joyful abundance. Plus, you have no control over produce, you know, doing things like looking and touching for freshness and ripeness.

I grew up on the UWS and Fairway is IT, unless you want quick basics in which case you pop into Gristedes, Westside, or D'ags (but never the overpriced Food Emporium).
posted by pinto at 11:16 AM on July 7, 2008

Another vote for Fresh Direct.
posted by Zambrano at 11:40 AM on July 7, 2008

I haven't tried FreshDirect, but IMO
Fairway > Westside Market > D'Ag > Garden of Eden.

Westside Market is relatively well-priced, has fresher vegetables and a generally larger selection.
D'Ag tries to lock you in with their points system, but have okay quality nonetheless.
Garden of Eden is really good in terms of quality, but everything tends to be overpriced -- once I almost bought grapes for $4 a pound, before looking at the price, walking four streets north and getting a pound for $1.50 at Westside.
posted by suedehead at 11:53 AM on July 7, 2008

What ml98tu said. Given your location, Westside supplemented with D'ag is probably your best local bet. Groceries get heavy very quickly.

If you're looking for cheap non-perishable staples or Latino specialty items, there are a few bodegas worth checking out on Amsterdam below 110th.

About pinto's FreshDirect concerns: bike lanes? Not around here. The produce is almost always well-selected, and if it isn't you'll get credit without any questions.

The idling trucks and the sea of cardboard and the questionable labor practices, sure, those can be problems. You'll also have to order more at once to make the delivery fee worth it. I tend to stock up on heavy items once every long while from FD and supplement it with trips to Westside--it depends on how much food you go through.

Don't forget the greenmarket on the east side of Broadway between 114th and 116th on Thursday and Sunday.
posted by deeaytch at 11:59 AM on July 7, 2008

Welcome to the neighborhood

First off, I'm not working consistently, so for me, price is the issue.

I shop at a few different places. Groceries at 125 near Broadway (a bit East). Near vegetables at 103 and Amsterdam (Kims, I think it's called). Far vegetables: Vendors line up next to the Manhattan Bridge (North Side). Seafood from Fish Corner (Where Canal bends in the middle, south side). Olives and Cheese from West Side, Broadway north of 110.

Additionally, bread is lovely at Broadway at 105 (something moon) . Bagels: Broadway 108. I feel like family at the wine store, Broadway south of 106. Pizza for me is next to West Side Market near 111 (Koronet sp?). And my apartment more and more looks like the 99 cent store, Amsterdam and 106.

So that's your third question.

Your first question: I like Fairway, but I don't get there. I hate D'Ag. Love WestSide, but they don't have everything I need, and price issues. Garden of Eden, is that the place on Broadway and 106?
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 12:00 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

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