Fresh Market – A Townie’s Response

j0411816.jpgMy friend The Diaper Diaries and I were anxiously awaiting the grand opening of “Fresh Market“.  It is in Waterfall Shoppes, by the Cascade Costco. And by anxiously, I mean obsessively. This week, it finally opened!

We both paid visits within days (for her it was hours, actually) of the Grand Opening.  We share tastes in pretty much everything food related (recipes, restaurants, etc). Much to my suprise, we had very different experiences. So here you have it, because two whole people asked me by popular demand – my review.

The store is very nice. Great lighting, great layout, and attractive beyond the fact that it is simply shiny and new.  The pastries looked awesome. The staff is very friendly (although the shoppers were not – it’s a grand opening, Oscars, stay in your garbage cans until it slows down if you’re going to be grouchy about a crowd!).  The cashier actually held Maybelle behind the counter and let her push the buttons on the cash register! They have a free cookie club, and kids get a cookie every time they go in. 

Up until this point, the Fresh Market was like the new guy in high school.  Very cute! You’ve heard great things! He’s finally sitting by you at lunch!

Then opens his mouth he starts talking, and you realize the home grown boys you’re been in class with since preschool are just as good, if not better.

They had samples of some of their ‘TFM’ store brand items out.  The coffee (disclaimer: see this post for more info about my coffee snobbery) tasted a lot like a very famous coffee chain’s brand that is not my favorite.

I bought a bottle of their house brand San Pellegrino Water which was OK but not cheap enough to convince me not to spend the extra change and get the real stuff. I also bought a loaf of sourdough bread with garlic butter from the bakery, and we had it with dinner. OK but not amazing.

Their wine selection is good – but not as good as Martha’s.  Their spice selection is good, but not as good as Harvest Health’s. They have all the healthy snacks, like Bear Naked Granola and FruitaBü, just like Forest Hills Foods.  A special nod to FHF – one thing you can find in your store and not at the Fresh Market (ironically) is Crème fraîche.

It has a good selection of international foods, but not as good as Meijer and G.B. Russo . The deli items were really good looking, but nothing I couldn’t find somewhere else, like Grand Central Market or Grand River Grocery.

And the produce – while beautiful – had nothing on the Farmer’s Market (see my recent post on this) in season and Horrocks year round. I did not see one bit of local produce and I am not about to buy a peach from California when the local Red Havens are all over the place.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, or that I will never return. It was nice to have many things in one place, but since I would go to the other stores anyway for other things, it really doesn’t offer me anything I didn’t already have access to.

I was suprised by my response to the store. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I will continue to support local business whenever possible.

Did I miss something? Either in the Fresh Market, or around town? I’m curious to read everyone else’s opinion, leave a comment either way if you’ve been there (or even if you haven’t!).



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8 responses to “Fresh Market – A Townie’s Response

  1. cleaver mama

    EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! EXPENSIVE! Holy cow! I was ready for a little bit more expensive, but not that expensive. I agree it was an amazingly well put together store with lots of fun things to look at and taste. I will only use this store for special occassions. As for everyday things I am still an extreme HORROCKS fan.

  2. I think we’re going this weekend to give it a whirl with a small food budget in mind… we here at eastowners like to get a bit carried away on groceries & the like…..especially if it’s something new we haven’t tried yet. Oh, and for spices….you need to go to Penzies in the shopping center where Q Doba is on 28th St. They have FAB spices, and jars open for sniffing, so you can find just what you need. All freshly ground of course.

  3. thediaperdiaries

    OK people, the reason I loved it so much is because you had to list 10 different places that you find that stuff. I loved it cause it was 1 stop shopping. I too am a Horrocks lover, but I can’t get everything I need there, nor Harvest Health, nor GB Russon (all stores I love). And this is super close to my other shopping obsession: Costco and Target.

    I will admit Forest Hill foods gives it a major run for its money, but I haven’t been there for a while and at the time I went they still didn’t carry some products that I found at Fresh Market. I have been informed that now they do, so I need to go back.

    I will most likely continue to shop at Horrocks and Meijer, but if money was no object I would ditch both in a heartbeat for Fresh Market because I like to shop in pretty places. Although Forest Hill Foods does bring your groceries and load them into the car. With kids, that kind of trumps everything else.

    You should have just let me guest author your blog. My comment is a blog post unto itself.

  4. I would like to thank all the above posters for their kind words about our store, G.B. Russo & Son International Grocery. We are a locally owned, family business since 1905. Many of the brands and products that are now commonly found in this area were introduced in our store first. We continue to search for the best products that are produced locally and abroad for our customers. We chose to stay small to keep more focus on our customers and products.

  5. cleaver mama

    As pretty as it is, I still think its cheaper to drive across town and spend the gas money. Definetly a special occassion place to shop. I love debating with the diaper lady 🙂

  6. I went with my mom yesterday. I liked the atmosphere, although it was insanely busy. I also thought it was a little/alot expensive and the whole time I kept thinking “so what’s the fuss?” I didn’t understand it since we already have places in town where you can get all the same kind of goods for the same price or cheaper. It was also a lot smaller in selection than I anticipated. My mom on the other hand was beside herself in love because she found her favorite long lost kind of jam there.
    I bought a rotissiere chicken for dinner…for the huge mark-up in price, it wasn’t any better than any other store. I also bought a small container of milk because we needed it and 4 cups later, the milk and my $2.69 is gone.
    One thing I did LOVE LOVE LOVE about it was the dessert area. We got an eclair and a canolli. We were bummed because the Napoleans were gone. Expensive but absolutely fabulous. I would definitely go there for a special dessert treat again.
    SO, overall, I still don’t understand what the big deal is but you still might see me standing longingly in front of the dessert case at Fresh Market with a long line of drool hanging from my mouth.

  7. I have a couple of suggestions for your mom’s jam quest.

    First is Erika’s Deli, which ja ist es deustch nicht hollandisch, but they might have it. It used to be on 28th St but now it’s on Cascade. Here is the website:

    deReuze Market is by the Grandville Mall, across 44th St.
    There is a very nice D&W and Costco closeby, and a Family Christian store. And an educational store we went to – I have forgotten the name of it now – when A.P. was on his search for an MLK poster last year.

    Maybe take her there next time. Or I will, your mom is nice 🙂

    Diaper Diaries, have I won you over yet?

  8. Thanks, you’re a peach! I hope to amaze her with my ability to find high quality jams next time she comes. She thinks you’re the best by the way, and let’s not forget what she thinks of guys who ride bikes!

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