Monday, April 09, 2018

TOUR: City Fresh Market - Union City, NJ

Another longtime Union City institution is this store, which was previously Mi Bandera (my flag) Supermarket (later simply Bandera). It's been said that this was the first supermarket in the US to separate foods by country of origin rather than by type, a practice now followed by countless other ethnic-based stores, including Food Bazaar.
The Bandera operation included the supermarket on the ground floor and a Cuban restaurant on the second floor. However, in about 2014, New York City-based A&E Supermarket Group bought out the venerable Bandera Supermarket and completely renovated it, bringing it under their City Fresh Market family of stores.
 The curved glass section is seating for the restaurant.
There is a very small parking lot on the side of the building, which actually borders Despensa del Ahorro on the side.
The entrance is on the side of the building facing the parking lot. You enter and turn right to walk up the grand aisle, which runs along this side of the building. Deli/bakery are on this wall, with produce against the grocery aisles and butcher/seafood along the back wall. Checkouts line the front wall, with customer service in the front corner opposite the entrance and a liquor store immediately inside the entrance. You walk into the section under the red awning, which has some sale items and a security desk (hence the lack of a photo of that section). Then you walk into the spacious produce department...
City Fresh didn't cut any corners on their remodel and it shows. The store is absolutely beautiful. You make a 90-degree right turn here to continue along the side of the store.
 Juice/salad bar (try the fresh-squeezed lemonade!), deli, and bakery along the side wall.
Here we're looking back up towards the front of the store. Aside from Food Bazaar, few stores are effective blends of ethnic and upscale; City Fresh does this very well, with organic products alongside the ubiquitous plantains and root vegetables here.
Bulk grains, of course.
Looking towards the back of the store, we see two long tables with stools to eat in. One of these tables has since been removed in favor of more produce cases. Just beyond that is a hot food bar (delicious food) and a salad bar. And click on the picture to zoom in -- check out that high-ceiling area to the right. Great wall graphics and trim, which is almost definitely left over from some previous tenant. It almost looks in this section like a former theater, which isn't out of the question for a supermarket (the photos in the second article are unbelievable).
Apologies for the blurry pictures here. I wasn't using the cell phone I normally do to take pictures this day.
Here's a very good picture of the produce department. It goes very far back, and we're standing at the back of it here looking up towards the entrance.
Butcher and seafood in the back with totally up-to-date fixtures and signage.
The seafood department appears to be self-serve, with ice cases running along both sides of the walkway. Small, but stocked with plenty of fresh fish. The grocery aisles are pretty standard...
Very nicely-stocked, but if you do shop here, watch the dates in dry goods. You have to check them anywhere, but I found more than normal expired items in grocery here. Maybe I was just there on a bad day.
Here we're looking along the back wall of the store towards dairy/frozen at the far end.
Non-foods aisle slightly narrower than ideal due to columns--and displays inexplicably placed next to the columns.
Part of the frozen foods section in one of the last aisles is cut into shorter aisles with a pass-through.
 I was also here fairly early in the day, and I've been back since, so I know there aren't always boxes blocking the aisles!
Looking down the back aisle from the far end of the store towards produce.
Fancy custom aisle markers and endcaps.
City Fresh sells their own brand of Cherry Valley products (A&E also owns the Cherry Valley stores) along with the Parade brand from General Trading of Carlstadt, NJ, whose warehouse is just minutes away from this store.
A look at the front-end before we move on. The repetition of circular designs, such as these ceiling panels, is really effective and adds interest. Also, that (replica, probably) tin ceiling over checkouts is just cool!

City Fresh is definitely one of the better supermarkets of this group. It's the type of store you'd only find in the New York metropolitan area--a combination of ethnic and gourmet in an upscale environment. Check it out if you're ever passing through!

City Fresh Market

518 32nd St, Union City, NJ
Open 24 Hours
www.mycityfreshmarket.com
(201) 348-3660
My Rating: ★★★★☆

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