MONTVALE, N.J. -- Expect a lot of "Jersey pride" when Wegmans opens Sunday, Sept. 24 in Montvale.
The new 108,000 square-foot store, at 100 Farm View Rd., features honey from Stiles (in Fords), wines from Old York Cellars (in Ringoes), Ravino artisan handmade pasta (from Millington) and plenty of Jersey tomatoes, among other wares.
The family-owned store, ranked number two on Fortune Magazine's 2017 list of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" (it's been on the list since 1998), is all about raising the bar on the shopping experience -- everything from superior quality to a spectacular abundance of choice, to restaurant-quality prepared foods and a nearly telepathic level of customer service.
The crown jewel of the store is the produce section with hundreds of different fruits and vegetables, including a large variety of organic options.
Immediately to the left upon entering the Montvale store you'll see a replica of the Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard in Canandaigua, N.Y. where the grocery store giant experiments with different organic and seasonal growing techniques. Here, a robotic rooster named Casanova comes out of his shuttered window every hour on the hour, giving customers the feeling of literally being on the farm. A small display of apples and pumpkins are displayed in front.
You almost don't know where to look first. Amidst the sorting, training, and stocking that was going on at a media sneak peek Friday, Sept. 22, this reporter saw the making of the store's famous cheese bread, the icing of cakes and got to sample the Maple Onion Bacon Burger (aged cheddar, smoked bacon, maple onion jam, chipotle aioli, toasted brioche roll) and Jammin' Salmon (six ounce grilled salmon fillet with pickled cucumber, lemon caper aioli on a toasted brioche roll).
There was also a generous sized Grilled Cobb Salad and a Shrimp Po' Boy for the media tasting as well as Tuscan fries, and sweet potato fries. Wegmans also prides itself on offering an assortment of vegetarian and gluten-free foods.
Options, it seems, are the theme here. The store, for example, is only one of three that has a pizza shop featuring fast-casual, made-to-order pizza baked in a custom rotating brick hearth oven where diners can pick their own size, cheeses, sauces, toppings, and fixings.
There's also sushi made fresh daily, a soup station with six seasonal varieties, an old-fashioned sub shop, an organic salad bar, a vegetarian bar, an Asian bar, an Italian bar, and a "Buzz" coffee shop with specialty coffee, tea, and breakfast sandwiches. Among the samplings: nitro cold brew coffee on tap as well as "Favors of Fall" including pumpkin pie latte, pumpkin frappe freeze, salted caramel mocha latte and steamed caramel apple cider.
And that's just the Market Cafe side. On the grocery side of the store, customers will find 65,000 products including ready to cook entrees and pre-marinated meats. Worth noting for those too busy to cook (or simply too busy): the store's new EZ oven package meals which allow you to put the dish in the oven without removing any of the packaging.
In addition, there's a large seafood department, kosher items, a European-style artisan bakery, a deli, a cheese shop (the store offers premium cheeses aged in the Wegmans Cheese Caves), a Mediterranean bar, an area devoted to natural and organic foods (including a "power up your smoothie" section), another area devoted to "Foods From Around the World," a pharmacy, floral shop, bulk foods section, health and wellness department, and a home and entertaining area filled with kitchen tools, tabletop decor and other accessories.
A 14,000-square foot space, leased to a third party owner, offers a wide variety of wine, beer, and spirits, allowing for one-stop shopping. Here, too, the Jersey theme rings loud and clear with a whole wall devoted to local craft brews.
When the spirits side of the store opens at 9 a.m. Sunday employees will offer tastings of Louis Roederer champagne (supply limited) as well as wine from Bon Vivant.
The grocery store will open at 7 a.m. with a company cheer as employees welcome the Montvale community with open arms -- and lots of free food samplings.
Call 551-249-2200 for more information or go to www.wegmans.com/montvale .
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