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Gael Greene—Insatiable Critic, hat lover, one-time Elvis paramour—is not a fan of the Trader Joe's that opened in September on the Upper West Side. Greene has her problems with Fairway, the neighborhood's reigning grocery store, but in her newsletter today, she makes it clear why she'll never be on Team TJ's. For one thing, there's the food:
Joe's egg white salad with chives was inedible. Frozen eggplant pasta, pathetic. I grabbed a big bag of dried apricots, half the price of Fairway's Turkish variety. It was like chewing a shoe.Then there's the corporate atmosphere:
As my intern Alissa Merksamer observed, it's sterile. Odorless. You can't smell anything cooking or get a big whiff of coffee beans in the grinder. Germans from California? What do they know about New York? The store is so generic it doesn't have babka or black and white cookies.
Not only did Fairway win the battle for Greene's heart, but she thinks it'll win the whole Upper West Side supermarket war. Back in October, Fairway's manager wrote on his blog that he believes TJ's will close within the next year. And Fairway's staffers seem to agree. When Trader Joe's opened, they made their best efforts to act like the chain's chipper employees, but after about a week they went back to being sullen New Yorkers. Greene's interpretation: "I guess they know Fairway has already won."
· Say Hello to Fairway's Worst Nightmare: UWS Trader Joe's [Racked NY]
· Fairway vs Trader Joe's [Insatiable Critic]
· The Fall Season and Some Reflections of a Summer Just Passed [The View from the Floor]