New York City, NY, USA

Who’s Winning the NYC Supermarket Showdown?

We turn to Yelp to see what New Yorkers are saying about their three favorite grocery stores: Fairway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Fairway Supermarket in New York's Upper West Side

New York City shoppers flock to the Upper West Side Fairway for its unusually wide variety, especially for items like cheese, oils, chocolate and olives.

You may have heard that Fairway is planning to open a Chelsea outpost this summer (late June is what a Fairway rep told us), mere blocks away from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Meanwhile, Whole Foods is slowly but surely building its new location in Gowanus — threatening to woo car-owning Brooklynites away from Red Hook’s Fairway and Cobble Hill’s Trader Joe’s. It’s a constantly changing landscape for these three grocery purveyors, which got us wondering: How are New Yorkers weighing in on this three-way supermarket showdown? We turned to Yelp to see what folks are saying about each market at their respective Upper West Side locations.

Trader Joe’s

Yelp fans can’t say enough about the affordability. “Unlike WFM [Whole Foods Market] you don’t need to check your credit score before stepping into the store,” says one Yelper. They call Trader Joe’s “the BEST place to buy fruits and vegetables,” and the staff gets high marks for being “superbly friendly and great conversationalists.” However, the store tends to get crowded. As one Yelper warns, “I’ve actually walked by it when there was a line outside the store with a bouncer slowly letting people in.”

Fairway

Shoppers flock to Fairway for its wide variety of various products. “Every energy bar, bagel chip, obscure Greek yogurt … they have it, and they have it in every flavor,” says one Yelper. Another touts “the amazing selection of cheese, bread, oils, and chocolate and bakery items.” The olive bar is especially popular. As far as atmosphere, one fan calls Fairway “cheaper and feels more like a neighborhood grocery store than Whole Foods.” Just beware the “awkward layout, which seems to cause bottlenecks and traffic jams of people, strollers and carts.”

Whole Foods

The biggest complaint against this national chain is nothing we haven’t heard before: the pricing. “Why would I pay double the price for the SAME stuff I can buy a few blocks up north at TJ's,” wonders one Yelper. But others say the high prices reflect the store’s “emphasis on quality.” Fans tout the fresh produce, and there’s a lot of drooling over the prepared food bar, which includes “delicious Indian selections as well as tons of raw veggie and grain salads.” Imbibers give the store “4 stars strictly for the beer selection,” and another says “their bulk section is the best I’ve found in Manhattan.”


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