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Principia

Eating in Wegmans - A New York-Based Chain with Numerous Eat-In Options

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Oops, forgot to mention that sushi is out because we're going to Kotobuki on Saturday with my grandmother. Pizza is out because we went to 2 Amys last week. My mom makes the best Chinese food in the world IMO (though Joe's Noodle House comes close), so that leaves pasta, the salad bar or the sub shop. That works for me. Thanks for the tips.

One other thing -- does Wegman's have a seating area, or is it strictly take out? Because if it's the latter, I suppose we could go to the Hard Times in Herndon. They certainly don't serve Texas or Cincinnati chili in Beijing.

There's a large seating area upstairs. The soups at Wegman's are quite good too.

There's a Sweetwater Tavern in Sterling, for that matter - although I'd hardly characterise them as fast.

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One other thing -- does Wegman's have a seating area

There's a nice seating area upstairs from the cafe, so you should be fine there. If you're not planning on having leftovers, I'd stay away from the pasta or the salad - they're not really one-sitting meals unless you're really, really hungry. The soups are good across the board, but the kosher soups are particularly good (they're actually made on premises, and since they moved the regular soups out into the center island I'm not sure they are anymore). The subs or the baguette sandwiches at the bread counter are both good. Pizza and wings are also entirely acceptable. Basically you can't go wrong with any of it, and unless you hit them right at lunchtime or just after work, it's easy to get in and out quickly.

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...since they moved the regular soups out into the center island I'm not sure they are anymore... Basically you can't go wrong with any of it, and unless you hit them right at lunchtime or just after work, it's easy to get in and out quickly.

I'll double-check next time I'm in the store, but to my knowledge the stuff only got moved to an island because they wanted to free up a person from manning that station, not because the soup's no longer made in-house.

I would also recommend eschewing them right before any notably important sports events; if that's unavoidable, just know that the subs and pizza counters are going to be slammed.

Edited by Principia

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I'll double-check next time I'm in the store, but to my knowledge the stuff only got moved to an island because they wanted to free up a person from manning that station, not because the soup's no longer made in-house.

Well, since they never have anything but the ones you can also get prepackaged (chicken noodle, gumbo, italian wedding, clam chowder, shrimp bisque) on the bar anymore, that would seem to be a pretty big sign that something other than the location has changed. For instance, they haven't had mulligatawny once that I'm aware of since they moved out to the middle (and we're in there a lot). They also haven't had the soups from the recipes that run in the magazine, which they used to feature behind the counter once or twice a week. If they're still making actual soup in the back instead of just reheating, one would think they'd vary the selection a little more.

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Well, since they never have anything but the ones you can also get prepackaged (chicken noodle, gumbo, italian wedding, clam chowder, shrimp bisque) on the bar anymore, that would seem to be a pretty big sign that something other than the location has changed.  For instance, they haven't had mulligatawny once that I'm aware of since they moved out to the middle (and we're in there a lot). They also haven't had the soups from the recipes that run in the magazine, which they used to feature behind the counter once or twice a week.  If they're still making actual soup in the back instead of just reheating, one would think they'd vary the selection a little more.

I've seen a few different (from the pre-packaged) ones on the soup bar - cream of broccoli one night, a lentil soup (not the chili) another. Still dont' know if that means they are made there or not.

They must have a huge kitchen in the back of that place either way.

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My mom and I had the gumbo and shrimp bisque on Friday night. Piping hot, totally hit the spot. We also split a meatball sub with provolone and sweet/hot peppers. Solid, if not spectacular. We'd never been to Wegman's before, and the place definitely puts Whole Foods to shame.

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I've seen a few different (from the pre-packaged) ones on the soup bar - cream of broccoli one night, a lentil soup (not the chili) another.  Still dont' know if that means they are made there or not. 

They must have a huge kitchen in the back of that place either way.

Didn't get the chance to interrogate anybody on my last trip this weekend, but I did get to two tasks:

1. Trying their kosher soups. The Corn Chowder was most excellent.

2. Determining that the contents of their prepackaged soups vary from those in the kettle, which reinforces (well, to me, anyway) my belief that the soups for the bar are still made in-house. One very critical difference for a portion of the population is that while some of the prepackaged Wegmans soups are gluten-free, nothing that has come off the bar is.

Edited by Principia

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According to the soup chef I spoke to this weekend, the soups are prepared in house, but Wegman's corporate has asked them to stick to the "signature" varieties (ie the stuff that you can also get prepackaged), which means no more mulligatawny or white bean and escarole unless enough people complain. I asked if it would help to email corporate, and the chef said "yes, they definitely read their email."

The comment section of their website is at http://www.wegmans.com/guest/index.asp (scroll down for the comments form).

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My mom and I had the gumbo and shrimp bisque on Friday night.  Piping hot, totally hit the spot.  We also split a meatball sub with provolone and sweet/hot peppers.  Solid, if not spectacular.  We'd never been to Wegman's before, and the place definitely puts Whole Foods to shame.

Try the new one in Alexandria on Duke Street across the street from Table Talk. Decent supply of esoterica, a good prepared foods section. My better half and I had dinner there the other night, both had roast leg of lamb, she had roasted fingerling potatoes, I had french cut green beans and sauteed asparagus. Not bad for around $10. The lamb was excellent, way better than I expected.

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While Wegman's has its moments I it is not worth a special trip just to eat there. And heaven forbid you actually go on a weekend. I do enjoy their bakery items myself.

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Mike,

I have to disagree on the French Bakery items. I bought a Lemon Tart there recently, it was so beautiful. But it just did not compare, to what I make, or to any restaurant I have been to. It would have been so easy to make it taste good, I was so dissapointed.

I agree though, I would never make a trip for the soul purpose of eating there. Not the Fairfax or Sterling store. Have they opened the Maryland store yet?

And does anyone know when they are opening the restaurant at the Fairfax store?

Edited by RaisaB

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While Wegman's has its moments I it is not worth a special trip just to eat there.  And heaven forbid you actually go on a weekend.  I do enjoy their bakery items myself.

I miss Wegmans - spending 4 years in Ithaca, NY does that. But now that I live in the District, I just can't justify trekking to Sterling/Fairfax/Hunt Valley for it. Don't know about Whole Foods, but it definitely puts Giant and Safeway to shame. Though I heard they don't make the apple fritters anymore :)

Maybe that big plot of land that DC will never figure out what to do with, aka the old convention center, could house a Wegmans.....

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While Wegman's has its moments I it is not worth a special trip just to eat there.  And heaven forbid you actually go on a weekend.  I do enjoy their bakery items myself.

Well, I never suggested it was worth a special trip just to eat there. I just said that, while it's primarily a grocery store, it was an OK, even perfectly fine, place to eat, in contrast to Meaghan's chartacterization that the suggestion of eating there was somehow like porn. That said, it IS worth an occasional trip for stocking up, and you can eat there as well if you want to. I live in the district and probably go about once a month.

Note--it is as worthwhile for low end stuff as high end stuff. For example, their store brands of most things are very good, frequently superior to national brands, so I spend about equal time in the fancy part and the everyday part of the store. And the place is a delight to shop in, in contrast to anyplace I've been to closer in. Remember, those two stores are the two highest-grossing stores in the US, and there's gotta be a reason. I agree, they can get a bit crowded on weekends.

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Wegman's bread is not as good as the Bread Line. Nor is it's soup as good as New York's Hale and Hearty although several flavors are close to the Bread Line, gumbo among them. It's cheese shop competes with the Whole Foods in Vienna, perhaps even surpassing it. Wine is a disappointment. But this IS a supermarket. Pizza is decent. Subs are, too. Perhaps more so-just don't expect Atlantic City. Entrees are also "decent"-maybe real decent considering their price. Pasta can't compare to a single restaurant in D. C. where they make their pasta in house. But, after all, this is a grocery store. Remembering this it's really pretty good. Their salads don't compare to Sweetwater, Houston's, Coastal Flats or a dozen or even two dozen other restaurants in the D. C. area. Maybe three dozen. But this IS a grocery store. For that they are awfully good-better than any other. Their Chinese food does not compare to Chinatown. Or any of a dozen other places raved about on this or other boards. But, again, this is a grocey store and they have about 60 different entrees on a steam table-they are all at least as good or a better than a neighborhood Mom and Pop takeout.

They also have Serrano ham. And Proscuitto. And Black Forest from the Schwarzwald. And fantastic chocolate. And, seasonally, dry aged bone in Prime rib @$14.99 a pound. Don't laugh-it's $23.99 @Balducci's! And Zweigle's hot dogs in natural casing. Red and white. Hoffman's, too. And the best horseradish mustard of all to go on them!

Five cases of Coke for $10.00. Fancy feast for thirty nine cents a can. Vermont butter, both salted and unsalted. Shrub's pickles from Toronto. Violane nano AND Bomba-both under one roof. Dinosaur chili and chocolate Babka among New York's best. Route 11 potato chips AND Martin's chips.

Fairfax has a total of 35 registers to ring this up, Sterling has 33 total. On weekends all of these are open and there are no empty spaces in the 900+ space parking lot at Fairfax or God knows how many at Sterling with most full. Think about this for a second: 900 or so spaces @two per car, perhaps more than this considering that Wegman's attracts seemingly more families on weekends than individuals-it's an event. That's TWO THOUSAND OR SO CUSTOMERS SHOPPING IN ONE STORE AT ONE TIME. Two thousand!!! or more.

There is only one other Wegman's-and I have been in over twenty others-that even comes close to this and that is their former showcase in Rochester. Both of these are superior to it. Actually far superior. And to Woodbridge, Princeton and Norristown and every other grocery store whether it's called Central Market in Austin or Plano, 275,000 square foot Woodman's in Racine and elsewhere, 285,000 square foot Jungle Jim's in Middletown (bigger but nowhere near as good), Larry's in Seattle, Byerly's in Minneapolis, Schnuck's in St. Louis, Stew Leonard's and on and on and on.

No they are not Pike Place nor Bologna nor the market on the Ramblas in Barcelona. But they are ours'. We're lucky to have these two. They're worth the occasional drive from downtown. And farther, perhaps much farther. I've seen West Virginia license plates in the sterling lot. As much as I love Washington, D. C. there is nothing else even close to them either here or anywhere else. Just accept them for what they are: a grocery store. A very, very special grocery store, not in another city for us to talk about, wishing they were here. Wishing we could have something like this. They are here. They are our's.

Unfortunately fifty thousand or so other people know about them and another several hundred learn about them every weekend, giving in to seeing what they are like, only to return over and over. Still, Wegman's is growing. Leesburg is next.

Edited by Joe H

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Have they opened the Maryland store yet?

Probably never, at least in Montgomery County.  :)

As far as I know, the Maryland store is open now.

This is not a huge chain at this point--maybe 65 stores nationally (all on the east coast). That is part of what--I think--keeps the quality up. I think they're great--their products, their selection, and their staff.

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I too spent four years in Ithaca and I blame Wegmans for my double-digit weight gain, at least in part. Those damn chocolate chip muffins!!!! Curses. I was very grateful when they changed the recipe to include a glaze I find disgusting as it helped me regain my, uh, girlish figure.

For me (not a Dupont dweller), there isn't yet a Wegman's that's worth the trek. Anything frozen would melt by the time I got home. Hopefully someday because my present options are less than stellar.

Regarding "Eating Inside Wegman's," this is one of my mother's favorite things to do because she gets to indulge in things she tries not to eat in front of my perpetually-on-a-diet father: pepperoni pizza, huge subs, Chinese food. When she drags me along, I usually stick with the not-bad pizza.

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To me, "Eating inside Wegman's" sounds like some sort of indie flick -- perhaps Sundance is affecting me remotely?

As for dining within the grocery store, I've done it once and found it utterly unmemorable. I liked the place fine, but it really, really got on my nerves within a short period of time. Really, really.

I'd like to go back, largely to see if I can appreciate it more, but I'm pretty satisfied with the stores around where I live -- I'm walking distance from Arrowine, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Giant -- so don't really feel the need to trek from Arlington to Fairfax for groceries.

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To me, "Eating inside Wegman's" sounds like some sort of indie flick -- perhaps Sundance is affecting me remotely?

Strike "indie" replace with "porn"

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As for dining within the grocery store, I've done it once and found it utterly unmemorable. I liked the place fine, but it really, really got on my nerves within a short period of time. Really, really.

Let me guess... you were there on a Saturday? Me and mine don't come within a few miles of Weggers on weekends.

I'd like to go back, largely to see if I can appreciate it more, but I'm pretty satisfied with the stores around where I live -- I'm walking distance from Arrowine, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Giant -- so don't really feel the need to trek from Arlington to Fairfax for groceries.

I will point out that the original genesis of this thread was as part of a DRers query about quick eats near Dulles Airport. No one is suggesting that you trek halfway across creation just to go grocery shopping (or at least I'm not). :)

Edited by Principia

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I ordered a carryout pizza from the Fairfax Wegmans (click here for the pizza menu), and got pretty much what I (should have) expected.

Dialing the phone number on the website, I was first tranferred to "Pizza," and then tried to order a Medium Steak Quesadilla ($12.25) pie, only to be placed on hold for a couple minutes by a bewildered employee. Then, someone else picked up and didn't know what I was trying to order (I suspect they don't do a ton of phone-in orders here), before finally saying they could do a steak pizza, and that it would take 20 minutes.

It takes twenty minutes because there's a slow-rolling, heavy-duty conveyor-belt system, which rendered the crust doughy, but not at all crisp on the bottom. With a food court the size of most warehouses, it's pretty much a given that you have inter-booth ingredients sharing, and that there's a vast array of choices for the hungry shopper.

As for the pizza itself, it ended up having thin, frozen steak, bland tomato sauce, gummy cheese, mushrooms, and onions. It's been forever since I've had a chain pie, but from what I recall, this was no better (and no worse) than the standard mega-places.

Not my cup of tea,

Rocks.

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I ordered a carryout pizza from the Fairfax Wegmans (click here for the pizza menu), and got pretty much what I (should have) expected.
Next time try one of their subs. I likes 'em.

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Not my cup of tea,

Rocks.

I have only eaten at Wegman's twice, but that was two too many times. The pizza actually sounds like a treat compared to what is on offer on the buffet (think Panda Express style 'Chinese' food).

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Yes, the subs are great. Only they are outdone by the $2.50 pints of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA at the Seafood Counter.

You have to order food, but 2 drafts and a nice Scallop entree for less than $20 is a steal.

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