If you have never been to a Wegmans, you've probably been wondering why all the fuss about a new grocery store. If you have been to a Wegmans, then you-- like me-- are most likely in a rapture of foodie joy and delight, swearing off all other supermarkets forever and ever. (Impractical, yes, but the feeling is there.)
Just after opening day I took a jaunt down to the new Village at Waugh Chapel to check out the new store. It's your typical Wegmans, all right: three-quarters enormous grocery store (with excellent prices, I'd like to add)-- and one-quarter gourmet paradise. Set up to look like a European market, the "fancy" side of the store offers a sumptuous bakery full of pastries and fresh breads, a wonderful deli, butcher, seafood counter, and prepared foods area, and the best sushi selection between here and-- well, the next Wegmans.
And it isn't just window dressing, or artistic presentations of ordinary staples. Wegmans offers delights not found in any other store in the area: fresh-cut lox (usually you have to go to New York City for that), an incredible selection of cheeses, unusual breads just out of the oven, Siggi yogurts from Iceland and a wide array of goodies from Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Anglophiles will love the shelves of imported British delicacies, and I was delighted to find two of my favorite hard-to-locate treats: stroopwafels from the Netherlands and Manner hazelnut wafers (Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite!) from Vienna.
For years I've been venturing out to the Wegmans stores in Hunt Valley and, more recently, Glenarden, but until last week I never did a full shopping trip at one. I'm too easily distracted by all the wacky stuff and forget to get the normal items. Having finally put it to the test, though, I was very pleased with the prices-- better than at the other supermarket closer to my house, without a doubt. I have four kids, so for Wegmans to be more than a novelty trip, the prices need to be competitive-- and they are.
One of my favorite areas is the hot food bar. At $8.99 a pound, it isn't cheap, but if you're in the mood to spring for it, the Chinese, Indian, Thai, and vegetarian selections (as well as the chicken wings and homestyle fare) are great. The seating area is quiet, attractive and very pleasant. Normally I wouldn't suggest to a girlfriend that we meet at a grocery store for lunch, but next week I'm going to do just that.
Hope you enjoy the new store as much as I do! Check out the photo gallery from my trip to get a feel for what the place offers. Happy shopping-- and cooking!