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The E. 86th Street Fairway Opens to Massive, Hungry Crowds

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When Fairway opened its eighth location on the Upper East Side this morning, the mob waiting outside rivaled yesterday's line for the Club Monaco sale. It was nearly impossible to approach the entrance, where Fairway workers were handing out free bags of chips and custom spray-painted t-shirts, and the crush of people consumed about two-thirds of the block.

According to state assembleyman Micah Kellner, who spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, residents started begging for a Fairway as soon as Barnes & Noble and Circuit City closed in the 86th Street space. (They were also specific about what they didn't want. He says locals told him, "Please don't bring us Forever 21.") The venerable New York food family behind Fairway completely remodeled the space, creating a 25,000-square-foot palace of food in a neighborhood not known for its grocery stores. In the process, they also created 400 new jobs.

The new Fairway isn't four stories, as initially promised, but it's certainly big enough. It looks a lot like its siblings: Same signage, same prepared foods, same daunting variety of olives (over 50 kinds), olive oil (over 100 kinds), and cheeses (over 600 kinds.) There's organic produce, house-smoked salmon, and homemade mozzarella, a bakery and a special coffee section. But unlike any of the other Fairways, this one has "Fairway To Go", a separate cafe with salads, sandwiches, and other snacks for people who don't have time to personally examine 600 different hunks of cheese.

Fairway has been opening two stores a year since the founding Glickberg family sold a majority stake in the company to a Connecticut-based investment group back in 2007. Since it's just July, that means we can expect another major supermarket launch before the end of 2011. Due this November: Fairway in Queens.
· Some 200 People Are Waiting in Chelsea for the Club Monaco Sale [Racked NY]
· Brace Yourselves, Upper East Side: Fairway is Opening in Two Weeks [Racked NY]
· Peek Inside All Four Stories of Fairway's New UES Location [Racked NY]