Tuesday, July 16, 2019

TOUR: Fine Fare - Bedford Park

Just half a mile north from yesterday's CTown doesn't seem like such a bad deal to get to this Fine Fare. But let me tell you, when it's 90+ degrees and high humidity, it's not wonderful.
This Fine Fare, however, was definitely worth seeing. It's kind of a relic in some ways and perfectly normal in others.
The building was unfortunately pretty covered with scaffolding for work unrelated to the supermarket. It does, however, rather obstruct our view of the Fine Fare. Should have called up the building super beforehand and tell him that The Market Report was coming so would you please remove any obstructions to getting the full shot of the Fine Fare.
This supermarket is nothing if not quirky. You enter on the right side of the storefront and turn right 90 degrees to go up a narrow and hilarious one-way ramp, as we'll see, to a tiny produce department with a deli. You then can go back down a separate ramp to meats in the first aisle, dairy on the back wall, and frozen foods in the last aisle.
Yep, you're looking at the entrance to the produce/deli room. Photography was quite difficult in this store in general just because of how tiny everything is...
Produce is made up of one single dead-end aisle that ends at the front wall of the store. The deli is at the back of that aisle. And hey, they do have one single whole watermelon!
No space is wasted in this store. Well that's true for most urban supermarkets, but, um, take a look at this. Also, I like this sign but does it really need to say "Fresh Produce" twice?
Deli department (in the Fine Fare font, a nice touch) at the back of that aisle. You can see the doorway to the ramp to the rest of the store to the left.
And now to wind back down through our ramp...
Well okay, after that, the rest of this store (we're looking down the first aisle towards the back of the store) looks pretty normal. That's true, unless you find yourself needing to go to the bathroom, which is on the right in the first aisle (making it behind the deli department but on the lower level).
My uncle, who's 6'6", would probably have a little trouble around here.
Looking along the back aisle of the store back towards the first aisle. Some pretty old fixtures here, it looks like.
Pretty narrow grocery aisles, but as usual, there's a nice selection packed into this tiny space. All the basics you could want.
Last aisle with some very old freezer cases and a whole lot of pickles.
I don't have too vivid a memory of this store, so it took me a while to figure out that we're actually looking across the registers here, not into the aisles. Man, that's a lot of stuff around the registers! I liked this store because of how quirky it was, but it's very old, very cramped, and not exactly the type of place I'd frequent for large shopping if I lived in the neighborhood. I'd instead go to the CTown that we're going to see tomorrow!

Fine Fare Supermarkets

3131 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY
Open Mon-Sat 8AM-8PM, Sun 8AM-6PM
(718) 295-5177
Photographed June 2018

Monday, July 15, 2019

TOUR: CTown Supermarkets - Bedford Park

We are beginning to close up the northeastern side of our circle here as we head north along Grand Concourse (just one block in here at the CTown on 198th St).
Generally these neighborhoods were quite pleasant to walk around. Much greener with more trees than you'd expect and generally hospitable for walking. This particular neighborhood was one in which I didn't entirely feel comfortable. It's a small and relatively isolated section that is, well, not wonderful. But anyhow, the supermarket was a good visit.
The CTown is located on the corner of Creston and 198th (yes, we saw another CTown a mile south on Creston) and the entrance faces 198th (we're looking at the side here). I got a kick out of these window signs. They're really promoting the produce department! Vegetable, produce, produce, fruits, and fruits. Quite the selection!
Like so many other stores, the deli/hot food counter is immediately inside the entrance on the left. Produce runs along the left side wall of the store, with meats on the back wall and frozen on the side wall. Dairy faces frozen. Customer service is in the front right corner of the front end.
It's actually a quite attractive produce department. The deli and hot food in the front corner is quite nice too, but the hot food counter was closed for the afternoon.
Very nice fixtures! Not really modern like we've seen at other places, but this store felt very homey. Which is an interesting feeling in the middle of New York City.
Looking back up towards the front of the produce aisle. I really like the wood-look hanging fixtures over the produce department!
Small area of cold cuts and other related products at the back of the produce aisle. We're looking over along the back of the store towards the last aisle.
Looking up the first grocery aisle.
The grocery shelving is pretty old if you look carefully, but I have to say the black inserts along the front of the shelving really make it look better as you look down the aisle.
I really like this store, but I'm not a particularly huge fan of how it looks. I do like the murals running along the top of the walls (see the deli department for an example), but the floor color choice is questionable (blue and brown?) and the aisle markers are kind of a pattern and color mess. A solid supermarket like this one deserves to look better.
Seafood and smoked meats on a short section at the back of the first aisle. I'm assuming the section behind this case, which juts out into the store slightly, is the receiving area that has elevators to the basement of the store. Meats run along the back wall. And nicer flooring in this section!
Nonfoods towards the end of the store...
Frozen and dairy line the last aisle.
Some fairly old cases here, although they do look to have been fixed up fairly recently. It's clear the owners here take good care of their store. Just take a look at that floor, how clean it is!
Beer section in the front corner of the store, and front-end with a confusing amount of signage and stuff hanging from the ceiling. I don't think it's a bad design (okay, some of these signs are actually awful designs), but there's just a lot of stuff and then a lot of patterns and colors on each sign.
Still a nice store, and kept up very well! Tomorrow we're heading a while north on Grand Concourse to check out a Fine Fare. Stay tuned!

CTown Supermarkets

30 E 198th St, Bronx, NY
Open Daily 7:30AM-9PM
(718) 933-2734
Photographed June 2018

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Snapshot: Mango Grocery & Meat Market - Kingsbridge Heights

First off, sorry for the late post. By the time I finally got around to writing this post, it was after midnight, so out of habit, I just clicked on the calendar to schedule for the next day at midnight instead of choosing publish now. Anyway, here you go!

Today's snapshot is a corner bodega that's taken the next steps in promoting healthy food in lower income neighborhoods that need it most, partnering with Montefiore Health System's Healthy Store Initiative. The program is designed to bring fresh products and healthier choices into stores that serve as neighborhood convenience shopping stops, rather than big shopping destinations.
The store is located at 101 E 196th St and is that uniquely New York City blend of tiny bodega with full grocery and meat selection.
Definitely a tiny place!
I do like the new facade with the fake wood design. It's a nice contrast to the green awning and the lettering really stands out.
And tomorrow we jump right back into the tours for a look at another CTown!

Photographed June 2018

Saturday, July 13, 2019

TOUR: Morton Williams - Fordham Manor

It's been a while since we've had a store tour, in fact more than a week! Today we'll be taking a look at the Morton Williams on E Kingsbridge Rd, which used to be one of two Morton Williams in the Bronx. (The chain also has locations in Manhattan and one in New Jersey.) The other Bronx location, at 2467 Jerome Ave, has recently closed for business.
Now this store is a long-standing Morton Williams, previously a member of the Associated chain until about 2009, but in 2016 the store was gutted and totally rebuilt following a gas explosion in the building.
And looking at this storefront, you're probably thinking this is the smallest Morton Williams you've ever seen. Don't be deceived, the store is an L-shape and this is only the tip of the L. There is also an entrance and a parking lot over on Jerome Ave around the corner.
You enter on the right to produce and deli along the right side wall. Grocery aisles continue in back with dairy, frozen, and meat in the back section. There are two sets of registers, one here at the front entrance and one at the side entrance on Jerome.
Following the renovation, the store is absolutely gorgeous. The produce department is well-organized and well-merchandised, and all the produce looks fantastic.
Bulk nuts and dried fruit at the entrance, with the registers on the other side.
Here's the front-end on Kingsbridge from the produce side of the store.
Clearly more work is put into the presentation here, and it shows. But it also shows in the prices. Morton Williams is a very upscale store with very high prices.
Beautiful deli/prepared foods section though, in the back of the first aisle.
Looking back towards the produce department from the hot food bar. There are small seating areas at both entrances.
The deli runs along the side wall of the store and is located at the back of the first aisle, in the corner of the L.
Aisles then run parallel to the front wall on Kingsbridge. We're looking from the deli side to the first grocery aisle in the back, which contains some refrigerated and frozen groceries as well.
The deli is just to the left in the above shot.
Morton Williams does always make the most of the space it has, such as turning this awkward corner into an international foods section.
The back wall of the store is frozen foods.
Here we are looking down the last aisle along the back of the store. The meat department and butcher is on the right side of this aisle (back wall), while the windows you can see straight ahead face out the side of the store onto Jerome Ave.
Looking back towards the deli. Morton Williams contracts with Wakefern Food for wholesale, so the storebrand products are all ShopRite.
Switching from frozen foods to meats along the back wall about halfway across.
The store's aisles are divided because the space is so long, so we're looking across the long end of the L here, from the back wall of the store back towards Kingsbridge. There are other stores on the other side of the dairy wall we're looking at.
Small but nice butcher counter in the back corner of the store.
There are four registers and a small cafe area at the side entrance on Jerome Ave. Let's take a quick detour outside to see the storefront facing Jerome...
Looks a little larger on this side, no? This is across the long end of the L.
A look over towards floral, the entrance/exit to the parking lot, and the cafe.
Dairy lines the long part of the L opposite meat/frozen. Notice how the department signs are actually located where you can read them from the cross aisles, and not centered over the actual department. Makes sense, but still a little visually confusing.
Quick look up one of the grocery aisles back towards deli. I love these backlit signs that you can even see from here, all the way across the store!
Dairy on the wall along the long part of the L. There is a small grocery selection around the corner in the short part of the L, opposite the produce department. I don't remember how many aisles there are, but not many. Maybe four? Here's a look at one of them.
Google Maps estimates the store is about 15,000 square feet, but somehow it felt much bigger. Maybe it's the mazelike layout and excellent use of space. I'm generally not a fan of Morton Williams, but this one very much impressed me. I just wish the prices were lower!

Morton Williams

15 E Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, NY
Open Mon-Fri 7AM-11PM, Sat-Sun 8AM-11PM
(718) 933-5910
Photographed June 2018