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Special Report: Stew Leonard's Farm Fresh Foods - Clifton, NJ

Stew Leonard's Farm Fresh Foods
Opened: May 17, 2024
Owner: Stew Leonard, Jr.
Previous Tenants: ACME Markets (2004-2015) > Seasons Supermarket (2016-2023)
Cooperative: none
Location: 467 Allwood Rd, Clifton, NJ
Photographed: May 22, 2024
Stew Leonard's has opened its second New Jersey location! (The first, in Paramus, opened in 2019.) The Guinness World Record holder for the world's largest dairy store has impressively transformed the 54,000 square foot former ACME, later Seasons, a kosher supermarket, at Styertowne Center. The finishing touches were still being put on the building's silo -- visible from nearby route 3, an east-west artery and approach to the Lincoln Tunnel -- when I visited a few days after the store opened.
There were a few other details to work out following the store's opening, such as a few signs around the property that still advertised Seasons Supermarket.
But Seasons is gone from here, so let's see what Stew Leonard's has to offer! The trademark mazelike interior winds us through essentially what would be any other supermarket's grand aisle from start to finish, with relatively few sections of packaged groceries. There are some, but the focus is on the perishables and the large liquor store in the center of the building, which moved from a nearby freestanding storefront.
Since the layout is right there for everyone to see, I'm not going to spend much time describing it.
Instead, we'll just see what the store has to offer! Because of the labyrinthine layout, the space feels much larger than it is. But like other stores with similar layouts -- such as Ikea -- there are ways to cut through.
Sale items are in the front, and although the rest of the produce department is in the back, we get some items here in the special displays.
Everything in Stew Leonard's is over the top, from the giant piles of peppers to the singing bears and dancing avocado girls (las chicas aguacate, as the sign informs us).
If I didn't love it so much, Stew Leonard's would be complete sensory overload. But who doesn't love Stew's Country Jamboree?
With a few exceptions, everything I've bought at Stew Leonard's has been very good quality. I didn't like a few of their products, but they tend to focus on doing a relatively smaller selection of things really well.
Like the bagels, for instance, which are delicious. Chewy and substantial.
While they're very different, I can't imagine this store is good news for either Clifton Stop & Shop -- although they both seem to do quite well. There is a Stop & Shop about a mile and a quarter away from this store in either direction on Route 3. About that far away is also the ShopRite in Bloomfield.
Prepared foods abound, although some of the departments hadn't opened yet since I visited in the mid-morning.
That's why you'll see things like the hot food bar completely empty to the right below, and the fact that it's fairly light on customers.
Small sections of grocery items and normal departments like frozen foods are interspersed in between the expanses of perishables.
All indications suggest that years from now, this store will look just as good as it does now. I was recently in the original location in Norwalk, and it was kept up just as well as the five-year-old location in Paramus.
The large liquor store takes up the center of the sales floor. Previously, there was a separate Stew Leonard's liquor store in a nearby strip mall.
Meat is another big focus here, and it all looked quite good.
The winding layout takes you through the liquor store a few times.
Massive seafood counter is up next.
Complete with a lighthouse, of course!
And following that is cheese and deli...
There are quite a few deluxe touches throughout the store, for those who don't know Stew Leonard's, such as homemade mozzarella.
Stew Leonard's, of course, started as a dairy store, so the dairy department is very substantial, and nearly all storebrand items.
And dairy gives way to several rows of produce in the back of the store. And las chicas aguacate, of course.
From produce we pass under a dairy van suspended over the floral department, because why not?
And then through the liquor store one more time before we get to the registers. It looks like there's probably a second floor over the front-end, explaining the low ceiling in this part of the store.
Stew Leonard's is definitely worth a stop if you're passing through and haven't seen it. And I look forward to seeing what other New Jersey locations they might have up their sleeve. Here's the other posts for today!