Fairway Markets: Soon We’ll be Tripping on ’Em

So, at the prodding of one of my readers, Caseycat, I followed up with the folks at Fairway, who once projected a 2009 opening of their Pelham Manor site that—you guessed it—didn’t quite happen. (See, I read all your posts with intense interest, because I like you, each and every one of you.) To be honest, I can’t blame Caseycat for being apprehensive. Last year’s economic swan-dive meant that there are a lot of stalled and abandoned projects—including Danny Meyer’s Greenwich Blue Smoke Chop House planned for the still-ruined HoJo’s off I-95. I mean, what if the Pelham Fairway turns out to be a fiction, too?

Here’s the scoop. First, it’s actually going to happen. The build-out is nearly complete, with the Pelham Fairway projected for an early April opening. (Sources claim it might even debut in March, but when has a much-anticipated opening happened early?) The new site is vast, 75,000 square feet, occupying the Route 1 spot that ancients remember as a Korvette’s, and, later, a Caldor. Though no cold room is planned—which works for me; I find loaner jackets skeevy—the Pelham Manor spot will have all the Steve Jenkins-curated cheese and Ray Venezia meats that still draw me to the Harlem store. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m exhausted by trying to source poussin, magret, crème fraiche, or even pork roasts at Whole Foods. We’re talking habitual, dreary shoot-downs, though Whole Foods does have a pretty produce section and a hot Indian food buffet, if you like that kind of thing (and I don’t judge).

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And then, of course, there’s the Fairway Liquors being discussed for right next-door to the Pelham site. That’s right, taking a page from Stew Leonard’s (not to mention Port Chester’s Batali/Bastianich at Tarry Fine Foods and Tarry Wines, the Pelham Manor site is projecting a connected—though not in-store like in most civilized countries, that’s apparently still illegal—wine and liquor venue operated under the Fairway brand. (Final licenses are still pending.) We’re excited to see how Fairway’s marketing niche, which I’ll classify as “urban-grubby,” will be manifest in wines and booze. We’re still gnashing our teeth that none of Westchester’s three Trader Joe’s spots offer next-door wine stores, as they do in Manhattan and elsewhere. I’d love to fob off the fabled Chardonnay “Two Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s on my most irritating oenophile friends—though a good sub is Tarry Lodge’s honest Joe’s Rosso at $29 a bottle, which we hope he sells at Tarry Wines for under $8.

Though no Fairway Steakhouse is planned (and no word yet on lobster rolls which proved such a draw at the Red Hook store), the Pelham Manor Fairway will sport a large Fairway Café. Expect a wide selection of reasonably cheap, popular snacks, soups, and sandwiches, which will make the perfect refreshment after battling through Fairway’s trench-like aisles for boutique farmhouse cheese. (PS: if you see that Knight de Fromage Steve Jenkins in Pelham, DO NOT ask him a stupid question. I once saw him eat a callow Barnard student alive after she enquired about an absent, mass-produced cheese.)

According to sources at Fairway, the Café’s dining options will be conceptual, as in: “the Pelham Café will consist of multiple culinary segments to include a Fresh tortilla concept where we will be making our own tortillas for use in our Mexican themed station. In addition we have a full line of gourmet prepared entrees and sides, a panini and brick oven pizza concept, a signature chopped salad concept, create your own sandwich concept, our famous sushi bar, a full-service coffee bar with espresso-based drinks and artisanal baked goods. We will also be featuring our signature hot and grain bars as well as a self-service beverage center.”

And if Pelham Manor is a bit of a haul for you (though the new store will be right off I-95), there’s an upcoming Stamford, Connecticut, Fairway planned to debut this fall. That’s right—the company that brought a last year’s Paramus branch is doing two stores in 2010. Reportedly, the Stamford store is practically ready to go, and only sitting in the wings until the Pelham site is successfully launched.
Interested? Annoyed? Want to see your name in print? Shoot me a line, I’d love to hear from you.

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