Wow, did I get suckered by the Stew Leonard’s hype machine and a lot of apparently closeted grocerystourists. We recently took a packaged day trip focused on a boat tour of the Thimble Islands of Connecticut. Amongst a couple of other stops, it also included what I was looking forward to the most – a stop at the “famous” Stew Leonard’s flagship store! Prime grocerystourism opportunity!
Just look at the hype on their website. Awards this, best that…
Do you know what Stew Leonard’s is? A bulked up Price Rite with Muppets.
We got off the bus and I’m a little leery looking at the size of the place, but I’m still practically floating through the parking lot. I just can’t wait.
Go ahead, play the sad trombone noise.
We’re walking through this place, this typical, overly decorated grocery store, and I’m still looking for something interesting. And then we were at the exit. I literally could not believe it. I could not believe the hype over this place. Do a little internet search and read the raves about this place. W. T. F.?
Yes, they have a hamburger stand outside. Yes, a decent produce selection. OK, yes, a lot of their own dairy products. But none of it was in any way interesting. Take the chips, for instance. They had a rather limited selection of brands and the prevailing variety was…potato chip. As in plain. So like 4 or 5 brands of plain chips. Sour Cream & Onion? Sorry, too wild for Stew. Now, true, they had a couple of fresh made, store chips in a couple of somewhat uninteresting flavors.
Cookies? You know what? They did actually have all the new Oreo Thins. *slow finger twirl* Hoo. Rah. Nothing interesting.
Oh, hey, let’s talk about that award winning buffet! Let’s just say that Whole Foods isn’t exactly shaking in their designer boots. Even Shop Rite should be feeling good about themselves. Somehow this is where we ended up picking up dinner for the bus ride back to Long Island, so I braved a few items. I’ll give them this, the mac’n’cheese was definitely not bad.
The whole ridiculous thing was like the vision of the ‘grocery store of tomorrow’…if it was like 1965. I’d say I’m speechless, but I wrote all that wordy stuff up above there. I was fairly speechless, and steaming, the day of, though. I was just mired in disbelief, this was the part of the day I was looking forward to the most, actually (sort of pathetic, maybe, ok).
But let’s not forget the Muppets. I guess we have to talk about that. So here and there there are these…displays…of puppets…hanging from the ceiling animatronically swinging around, etc. Push this button and hear a cow head moo…watch this Chuck E. Cheese knockoff band play…*sigh*. Here…something to look at…
Ladies and gentlemen…please try to control your excitement.
There are more exciting things in one aisle at Trader Joe’s than in this entire store. I guess maybe if you live near one the prices are OK and maybe their store brand stuff is decent? That’s fine, but to hype this place up as AN ATTRACTION to bring bus tours to??? Just stop.