For the longest time, I’ve felt like Passaic County was the poor, misunderstood stepchild of the food world. No King’s, nary a Whole Foods, not a Wegman’s within 30 miles of here. Sure we’ve got your basic food stores, and yes, we’ve been surviving (barely) just fine, thank you. But come June 6th, we’re getting a Fairway!
And what a Fairway it is! Taking over the old Pathmark store on Rt 46 West in Woodland Park, Fairway management gutted the entire building and started from scratch. I got a preview of what’s to come from Dan Glickberg, third generation of the Fairway family. Dan’s grandfather started with a little produce market on 74th and Broadway in Manhattan 79 years ago, and they’ve been going strong ever since.
Join me, as I take you along for a sort of virtual tour. When you enter the store, beautiful fresh flowers greet you. If you decide to make a right, a wonderful wine store awaits. More about this later.
Make a left off the main entrance and welcome to the produce section. Since produce was the bedrock of the Fairway empire, it’s only fitting that upon entering the store, you are immediately immersed in it. They pride themselves on offering the highest quality produce. There will be a large organic section and plenty of local produce, and they try to source locally when possible.
If you can take your eyes off the fabulous fruits and veggies for a minute, take a glance upward at the artwork gracing the walls all around the store. These beautiful paintings are all done free hand by Fairway’s artist in residence. The attention to detail is astounding.
Next to produce is the bakery. Close your eyes and imagine made from scratch baguettes and bagels. Real. Water. Bagels. This Fairway will have a dough room, producing fresh pastry. I can hardly contain myself.
Keep up now. We’ve got alot more ground to cover. Here to our left is the deli, with everything prepared fresh in-store. We’re talking hot prepared foods, charcuterie, smoked fish, salmon, lox, and gads more.
An olive bar sits close by the cheese department with over 600 tantalizing offerings from all over the world. You might want to pick up some olives and cheese to go with that lovely Sauvignon Blanc you’ll buy in the wine store on the way out.
Something special in this store is a café serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, with an espresso bar, seating 60 people.
Now we come to the meat department. Dan proudly tells us that Fairway ages its own prime beef 21 days in-house, this gives it more flavor and tenderness. All the meat is hand selected and custom-cut on-site. They also offer choice beef, by way of breed-specific Hereford. American and Australian lamb will be in the meat cases, along with Dubreton pork, and a wide selection of Kosher meats.
All the Fairway stores roast their own coffees, and this one is no different. They will offer 68 coffees so you’re sure to find the perfect one to go with that morning bagel. Did I mention they were real water bagels? I may have.
As we venture down the center aisles, I see staff stocking olive oil. Dan tells me they offer over 100 olive oils, including some that Fairway sources on their own. They’ll have olive oil tastings every day.
Even though you may come to Fairway for a steak or some gorgeous seafood, or to look for that hard-to-find cheese you had on vacation in San Francisco, they have all your every day items, too. From dairy to cereal, from soup to nuts, they’ve got it. Their shelves are lined with over 45,000 traditional, specialty, and organic groceries, including a large selection of gluten-free items.
Now about that wine shop… Fairway Wines and Spirits in Woodland Park (only two other Fairway stores offer wine) has been designed by Joshua Wesson, the co-founder of Best Cellars, and in 1986 named one of the top five sommeliers in the world. Joshua’s theory in putting this store together was to create a breadth of wine selection, to create the excitement of a new wine discovery without having to pay alot. Eighty percent of the 600 wines will cost between $10-30.00. You’ll find wines not available elsewhere. Of course they will have daily wine tastings, but what makes these tastings different from other wine stores, is the food pairings – think smoked salmon, artisanal cheeses. And are you perplexed about what wine goes with that rack of lamb you just bought? The staff in the wine shop can help.
We’ve done a full circle around the store. Dan has been a gracious host, but they’re really busy putting the finishing touches on the store so we’ve got to go. But we’ll be back on Wednesday, June 6th at 10am for the grand opening. If I were you, I’d put it on the calendar. Not only will you be able to do your own touring around the store, tasting here and there, but they are planning some incredible opening day festivities, such as the Hindquarter Giveaway (where you could walk away with 130 pounds of prime meat), and a chance to Crack the Vault to win a $5,000 shopping spree.
So it may have taken awhile for Passaic County to get their due, but I think we’ve hit the jackpot on this one.
1510 Rt 46 West
Woodland Park, NJ
Terry Krongold is a life-long passionate baker. In addition to a full-time job in the pharmaceutical industry, Terry has been involved with food for many years, including co-ownership of a dessert catering company in the late eighties called I Love Cheesecake, specializing in fine cheesecake and unique desserts. Terry is the author of The Cook’s Tour, a blog focused on food, baking, and travel. When not working, writing, or baking, she spends time planning vacations around restaurants to visit. She can be reached at [email protected]