You don’t have to be a so-called Wegmaniac to have heard the news: Wegmans, the beloved family-owned supermarket chain that dots the Northeast, is opening October 27th in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
It’s the first New York City location—and 101st location—of this Rochester, New York-based grocer that's known for its wide array of prepared foods, competitively-priced produce and endless aisles of products—from national brands to more regionalized items. It’s just as easy finding your favorite flavor of LaCroix as it is to buy a vacuum-sealed package of serrano cheddar sausage from Williamsburg’s popular Meat Hook.
As New Yorkers, many of us love our corner bodegas but, historically, there’s been a dearth of grocery store options (not to mention the “food deserts” in parts of the city where many people don’t have access to fresh food). So it’s no wonder we go crazy when a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods opens in the neighborhood.
“Brooklyn is going to see something it’s never seen before,” says store manager Kevin Cuff. “It’s a pretty proud moment for us.”
This Wegmans is 74,000-square-feet and sprawling by New York City standards, but it's almost half the size of other locations, which range from 100,000- to 150,000-square-feet. There’s a second-floor mezzanine with a bar serving wine, beer and cocktails. (Happy hour is 4-7 pm during the week.) For those of us really looking to live the suburban dream, there’s a parking lot with 700 spots. It’ll be open 7am–11pm daily.
The soon-to-open location of the buzzy supermarket is also worth noting because the surrounding Brooklyn Navy Yard is undergoing a renaissance. Transmitter Brewery opened this past spring inside Building 77, which is already home to New York institution Russ & Daughters. Rooftop Reds, a rooftop vineyard, is located nearby, and you’ll find its wine on the Wegmans bar menu.
Time Out New York got a sneak preview before Sunday’s opening as employees were still stocking the shelves and tasting the food. Pro tip: if you’re taking the F train, turn left as you exit the York Street station and walk down Sand Street for about 10 minutes before you find the store.
You’ll be greeted by a coffee bar at the entrance and the prepared food section up front. There’s a pizza oven made from stones sourced from Mount Vesuvius, burgers, salads, soups, sushi and vegetarian options.
“You could literally have anything you want,” says executive chef Stephen De Lucia, who oversees about 150 employees who cook and prepare the dishes in this part of the store.
The market sells nearly 50,000 different items, from more than 350 varieties of cheese to Bison French onion dip, a favorite of upstate New York residents. We were impressed by the balanced selection of big name brands mixed with Wegmans-specific products and more local brands, such as beer from at least 18 New York craft brewers.
Wegmans’ prices are competitive with the likes of Whole Foods, Fairway and even Trader Joe’s. It’s $2.69 for a family pack of three dozen eggs, $2.65 for a gallon of fat free milk and there’s even Impossible meat, the popular plant-based burger.
The low prices and big box feel didn’t strip away the store’s personal touches, however. Like other Wegmans, there’s a Lionel G-gauge train set that runs above the dairy section, and photos of New York and New Jersey farms, from which some of the produce is sourced, are placed throughout the vegetable and fruit aisles. If the trek to the Brooklyn Navy Yard sounds daunting, you can still shop here in true New York fashion: Instacart, the grocery delivery service, is available starting October 30th.
Wegmans is located at 21 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11205