To those of you reading who have not been to Wegmans, I just want to tell you now that the coming Navy Yard location is going to change. your. life.
Although there are multiple Wegman’s locations in New Jersey, I did not fall in love with the supermarket giant until I went to college. Penn State is known as a party school for a reason, but to be fair, there isn’t much else to do in Centre County, Pennsylvania other than drink. Trips to places like Target or Wal-Mart were exciting. If you had a car, or knew someone with a car, you made frequent trips up and down Atherton St. But no matter what places were on your to-do list, everyone put Wegmans as #1. It isn’t just a grocery store, it’s the Disney World of supermarkets.
Wegmans is sometimes described as a cheaper Whole Foods, but that’s not entirely true. Wegmans is pretty pricey, yes, but it doesn’t have the same granola, trustafarian vibe that Whole Foods possesses. Although the chain prides itself on having healthy, non-gmo options and being a Fortune 100 company to work for, the main draw to Wegmans is the endless amount of options. Think of any brand of cereal you can think of. They have it. Been searching for a certain McCormack seasoning mix? Not only do they have it, but they have a couple others you might pick up instead. Oh, were you looking for a birthday card also? They carry some that don’t look like they’ve been there since 1994! And that Essie nail polish you’ve been searching every Duane Reade for? It’s there. Fully stocked.
You know that scene in Willy Wonka where Charlie picks something off of the tree and it immediately grows back? That is Wegmans. The land of plenty.
Also, like most grocery stores, Wegmans is separated into various sections that have their own hand painted sign. Not only do Wegmans locations boast a baller serve-yourself candy section in every store, but they also have a florist, an extensive organic department, a pharmacy, an “ethnic foods” section that *always* has Mexicokes, a bakery, a coffee shop, a hummus and olive bar, and, most importantly, a cafe.
Ah, the Wegmans cafe. Highlights include turkey subs on an everything roll, great sushi and even better seaweed salad, not bad pizza, amazing chicken wings, and legit-as-hell Italian wedding soup. All of the employees who work in the cafe often wear full Swedish chef gear, white jacket and tall white hat included. This seems like a little much, but they always smile genuinely when they hand you your pizza slice, so just go along with it. Also, depending on the location, the craft beer section is usually by the cafe, which means you can be pretentious about beer at the same time! They also have individual bottles of craft beer so you can create your own six-pack, and at least in Pennsylvania, you were able to drink them right in the cafe. Talk about an insta-opportunity! Most importantly, the cafe is always clinically clean. Yay!
Here’s the bottom line of what you need to know: It is not necessarily a “cheap” option until you compare it to Whole Foods or Dean and Deluca. You do pay for quality though, most of the time. The bakery and cafe are definitely worth the trip. C-Town or Key Foods will still remain your mainstay for day-to-day groceries, but Wegmans may establish itself as a once-a-week trip for items like meat, poultry, fish, affordable organic produce, frozen and canned items you can’t find local groceries, and muffins. The muffins. You’ve been warned.
Most of us probably didn’t grow up going to Trader Joes or Whole Foods, but instead probably frequented places like Shop Rite, Foodtown, or Stop and Shop. Wegmans is part of this tribe. However, Wegmans is not ordinary. Wegmans is grocery utopia. Wegmans is the queen bee of food stores. Wegmans is Homecoming Queen, Class President and Captain of the cheerleading team. Wegmans is EVERYTHING.