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It’s the first question that suburbanites ask, once they start to grok Trenton. OK, so they understand the beautiful historic houses, and the genuine, old-fashioned neighborhoods. But then they want to know, “Where do you go food shopping?”
It’s really the ex-New Yorker turned Princetonian question. Folks remember fondly those five years after college, working on Wall Street and living on the upper East Side, where the food store was two blocks away. The implication is somehow that if you can walk to the grocery store, Trenton might deserve to be taken more seriously as a place reasonable people would want to live.
Well, Trenton isn’t NYC. It’s not an island, and it doesn’t have the population density of any of the 5 boros, much less Manhattan. It’s also very well connected by roads to the rest of Mercer County. So the answer to the question, most of the time, is that we shop at the very same mega-food-stores like Wegeman’s and Whole Foods (and in recent years, Food Bazaar) that the rest of Mercer County uses.
But that’s really not a fair answer to the question. I realized the question was really code for, “Where do you go on a Sunday afternoon, when you need to pick up 6 items, and you don’t want to schlepp all the way to West Windsor?”. In other words, where can you go in Trenton?
Until recently, if you lived in South Trenton, there wasn’t a very good answer. Yes, there are wonderful specialty stores. But you don’t want to make more than one stop to pick up your 6 items. And the existing supermarkets were just dreadful. Frankly, I used to drive to Ewing or Lawrence.
Thankfully, recently, the Supreme Food Market on Lalor opened up, making the answer a no-brainer.
OK, so the Wegman family isn’t shivering in its boots. But it’s a decent sized market (10,000 SF, not a 30,000 SF superstore). The prices are reasonable, the meat, fish, and produce sections (targeting Hispanic buyers) are actually quite good, and the produce is fresh. You’ll get all your 6 items in one stop, spend about the same as you would in West Windsor, and cut your driving time by about 20 minutes. Very cool.
Since this review was originally written in 2007, Food Bazaar has opened in the Roebling Market. Since it’s also closer to my home than Supreme, I don’t use this place very often. Still, it seems to be holding its own as a “convenience” alternative to its bigger brother.