The just-opened Paramus Fairway is a short drive from Baristaville — a straight 15-minute shot from Upper Montclair up the Parkway to 17. Inside, between Loehmann’s and a Blimpie, are tens-of-thousands of square feet of great grocery shopping.
If you want it, they have it — from niche ingredients like artisanal Argentine and Umbrian honey, to skyr yogurt from Iceland, plus the entire conventional grocery roster. For any single item, there are half a dozen options to choose from, not to mention whole aisles for kosher and gluten-free shopping. Most of the items I regularly buy–like Greek yogurt, the Silver Palate tomato sauce, even cat litter — were 50 cents to $1 cheaper at Fairway.
Fairway could not have come up with a better tagline. It truly is “Like No Other Market”. I fell in love with Fairway as a college student in upper Manhattan and have been enamored since. Here’s a slideshow.
There’s a lot of everything. Fruit and vegetable displays are six feet high. A husband and wife commented in amazement at the giant bin of mesclun; take as much as you want for $5.99/lb. There are deep containers of super crispy string beans and arugula and boxes of sugar snaps and snow peas. Then there are the mushrooms and mounds of different apples and potatoes that allow you to search for the perfect specimen. No more settling for anything pre-packaged, wilted, dried out or plain tired-looking. And if one bunch of apples doesn’t look great, go to one of the six other kinds stacked nearby. You’re bound to find what you want.
Refrigerated cases along the edge offer an endless selection of store-prepared foods, perfect for lunch or a take-home dinner. There’s hefty beef shepherd’s pie for $12 and sesame chicken salad with ginger dressing, red bell pepper and orange segments for $6. There’s also New England clam chowder by the quart, chopped chicken liver, and eggplant salad. The choices can seem overwhelming, but it’s really an embarrassment of riches.
A giant Probat roaster churns up to 26 pounds of coffee at a time, from Yirgacheffe, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala — anywhere beans grow, really, and it’s available freshly ground. The smell is intoxicating, and many shoppers exclaimed as much when they encountered the barrels of beans.
There are 600 varieties of cheese, including a dizzying array of international and domestic selections, like the fabulous Smokey Blue from Rogue Creamery in Oregon and fresh hand-pulled mozzarella for $3.99/lb.
More than 300 employees work in three shifts to keep the place stocked and humming. And hum it does. One woman said: “This place is so freakin’ packed. It’s a zoo! I can’t find a thing.” On Sunday morning at 9 am, the parking lot was full. The store could take getting used to. As at the Fairways in Manhattan and Brooklyn, navigating the aisles is a game of bobbing and weaving. Your first visit might require a map, but by the second or third you’ll have it down.
I’ve been waiting for Fairway to open for months, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m not fazed by the layout, which can be easily memorized. To me, it’s the best one-stop shopping around, combining an upscale market with a traditional grocery under one roof. Most important, Fairway puts the choice back in my hands by providing as many choices as possible for a huge assortment of goods.
Fairway Paramus, Fashion Center Mall, Lower Level, Rte. 17 North, Paramus
Open 7 days, 8 am to 11 pm