Fairway Market is so good that I don’t go to Whole Foods anymore

Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

  • In a shocking twist, New York City has the best regional grocery store: Fairway Market.
  • Whether you prioritize prices, selection, or customer service, Fairway Market is the best choice.
  • I visited the Red Hook, Brooklyn, location on Wednesday afternoon for a look at why Fairway is the best regional grocery chain.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you’re not from northern New Jersey, southwestern Connecticut, or New York City (and surrounding counties) – the so-called “tri-state area” – chances are you haven’t heard of Fairway Market.

Heck, even if you are, there’s a strong possibility you’ve never been to one. With just 15 stores, Fairway is one of the smaller regional grocery chains (there are nearly 100 Wegmans stores).

It’s also one of the better regional grocery chains – Fairway is, by far, the best supermarket in New York City. I went on a tour of the Red Hook, Brooklyn-based store to find out why:


The Fairway Market in Red Hook has an unfair advantage: an absurdly gorgeous, clear view of the Statue of Liberty.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

But let’s head to the supermarket instead. From the outside, Fairway Market looks like any other grocery store …

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Some sale items are kept outside to entice shoppers on the way in — pretty standard supermarket stuff.
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

… but things start to look different once you set foot inside. What I like most about Fairway is the incredible selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies.

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It’s fig season, y’all!
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

More than just fresh and seasonal stuff, Fairway carries a variety of produce from the region …

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

… and the selection is absolutely absurd. This is just the first aisle of produce.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Here we come upon an example of why I’m a die-hard Fairway Market customer: Fairway goes all the way in on selection. These are just some of the chili peppers available on an average Wednesday afternoon.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Another crucial point: Not only is the selection killer, but it’s remarkably fresh.

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Those shishito peppers in the distance are calling me.
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Just look at this absurdly gorgeous, curly parsley!

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Fairway’s obsessive dedication to selection extends beyond produce — this is just half of the extraordinary olive bar, which features a massive vat of capers alongside an large selection of olives, pickles, and various pickled items.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Let’s move on to cheese for a moment, because this is quite a cheese selection. Fairway not only offers a wide variety of different cheeses, but it also offers locally made cheeses.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Fairway also makes its own fresh mozzarella on site.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

But maybe you’re just looking for some massive hunks of real Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy? Those are scattered around liberally.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

The butcher section is especially great — not only does Fairway make sausage in-house …

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

… there’s also an in-house dry-aging program!

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

On the other side of the butcher case, a wealth of seafood is laid out over ice. Next to that, unlike most supermarkets, is a case full of lobster!

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Moving past the meat and seafood section, Fairway really demonstrates its obsessive dedication to food-loving shoppers: An entire section of the store is focused solely on olive oil. There are even little tasters set up so you can try olive oils before dropping any cash.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

But perhaps you’re more of a coffee person?

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Good news: There is an absolutely ridiculous selection of coffee that gets roasted on-site, and can then be ground to your desired fine-ness.

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Yes, that giant machine is a coffee roaster. This area smells exactly as good as you might imagine.
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Notably, I haven’t even begun speaking about absolutely jam-packed aisles full of thousands of items from all over the world. There is no wasted space at Fairway.

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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

Here’s just one snapshot of a single section of a single aisle, absolutely teeming with stuff. It’s a little overwhelming at first, honestly, but after a few visits, it’s hard to go back to normal grocery stores.

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I’m not gonna waste your time with a bunch of images of supermarket aisles. Rest assured they look exactly like you think they do.
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider

In 2019, visiting Fairway Market feels like visiting Whole Foods at its peak. Each store feels like its own distinct entity — a reflection of the community it serves.

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And yes, I used Stew Leonard’s reusable shopping bags at Fairway. Sue me!
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Ben Gilbert/Business Insider