We’ve had Fairway Market on the Upper West Side since 1930! And as the saying goes, it’s hard to beat an original. While so many old trusted stores in New York have folded up shop in favor of big banks and chique coffee houses, we’re fortunate to enjoy the few places remaining true to their mission, their customers and their neighborhoods. And while the company has gone public, customers still experience the same level of service and quality.
One of the great quintessential New York shopping experiences comes from Fairway on the Upper West Side. It lends an old school feel to the modern food shopping experience. The original store on 74th and Broadway can basically be broken down into four parts – produce, grocery, bread and fine foods.
The Upper West Side Fairway is huge and there are many sections where you’ll find different produce and foods. For example, a huge olive bar offers a selection of Italian green, Kalamata pitted, almond and lemon stuffed, and manzanilla olives amongst other types. There’s also a mushroom bar and a section for prepared veggies. Some of the veggies available at this open bar section include grilled artichokes, marinated sun dried tomatoes, sour or sliced pickles, capers, etc…
- Latest: Fairway Will Close SOME Stores
The first thing you can’t miss are the fruits and vegetables, since you don’t even need to go in the store to see what’s available. The products line the sidewalk, it’s a right of New York passage to take your time, and look for the best peach or cleanest box of berries. Head inside, and there’s plenty more where that came from. Once inside, explore the huge apple selection offering a bunch of different flavor varieties such as empire, sweet ginger gold, honey crisp, and granny smith.
A big chunk of the store is grocery items. A lot of it is stuff you could find elsewhere, but the prices are reasonable and the experience much better than your typical supermarket, where checking out takes as long as it does to do all your shopping. Fairway also has frozen prices and value prices to keep household items affordable for months at a time. There is even a second floor some don’t even know exists. Don’t be fooled, the elevator near the pasta isn’t just for staff.
Fairway Market’s Bakery
The bread section isn’t huge, but it’s essential to Fairway’s success. All of it fresh, much of it Kosher for those who need. The bagels are also a great deal, usually around 75 cents if not less in an area where bagel shops are charging upwards of a dollar. They do replenish during the day; just don’t wait until closing time to get yours. The bread section also has pies, cakes and other desserts including Greek yogurt cheesecakes, fruit tarts, bagels, bialy’s, Spanish fig cakes, red velvet cakes, and chocolate mousse pie. Go for the apple tart; there’s an almond flavor to it that makes it outstanding.
Cheese & Beyond
The peak of Fairway is the fine food, mostly because there’s so much that falls under that umbrella. Meats, fish, cheese, spices, nuts, hot and cold prepared foods, coffee, all of it top of the line. Their selection of coffee is actually a caffeine lover’s dream come true. There’s an incredible array of coffee varieties such as boquete estate, italian roast, costa rica Tarazu estate dark roast, havanero espresso, Puerto Rico estate, etc…
The guys behind the counter are real throwbacks who know the backstory behind the product. They can also help you find what you need. Again, a good meat Kosher selection with prices demonstrably lower than Kosher markets in the area.
And don’t forget the Fairway café, one of the great secrets of the Upper West Side, where you can go for a variety of foods in a relaxing environment. Yes, relaxing and Fairway can go together, assuming it’s not rush hour.
The cafe offers a section full of prepared foods which is always convenient for those who are constantly on-the-go. In the past, some of the more popular dishes included spinach pies, salmon teriyaki, and sriracha shrimp. The meals are always rotating which keeps customers coming back for more. You’ll never know what you can find: from orzo with spinach and pine nuts to crab cakes, turkey meatballs, or a spinach and feta cheese burgers. There’s always something for everyone!
As a general rule of thumb, don’t sleep on Fairway brand products, it’s not like going to a drug store where generic shampoo is sometimes just water. When in doubt, customer service at Fairway is also solid; look for the red apron.
Fairway Market also offers an excellent catering service. They make authentic homemade foods that can make anyone afraid of cooking look like an expert chef. They catering menu is large menu and also offers every imaginable dish available. There are classic sandwiches and deli platters, salads and brunch combos, wraps and mini brioches, and even some main course entrees.
Fairway is also great at providing food for events such as the Super Bowl and other special occasions. They also do kosher catering for weddings, bar mitzvahs, cocktail parties, and fundraisers. The food preparation follows the KOF-K guidelines for parve, dairy, and glatt items. Fairway also ensures everything is cooked in separate kitchens and with kosher ingredients of the highest quality.
Fairway’s long history in the neighborhood makes it dedicated to several community causes. As part of a charitable initiative, the store partners with the Food Bank For New York City. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of food are donated to the food bank every year. During Thanksgiving, Fairway donates turkeys, cranberries, potatoes, and all the works to local food shelters. This allows people who don’t have the means to enjoy a proper feast for the holidays. The company is also committed to environmental sustainability. As a result, many of their stores use eco-friendly equipment that don’t use up a lot of power.
Change the clothing and hairstyles and eliminate the cell phones, Fairway operates much the way it did years ago. A must for any Upper West Sider, it’s best to go a few times a week, so you can have the freshest food at home, and you can utilize the express line, definitely the best option. Their store on the Upper West Side is open from 6am to 1am every day of the week.