I love food. I hate wasting a meal that isn’t either designed to help me improve physically, or just taste great. So where I buy my food is extremely important. There are a number of grocery stores in Newport News, but one high-end store stands out from the crowd; Fresh Market. Conveniently located on Jefferson in the same plaza as Costco and World Market, the style and class of this store make it one of my personal favorite shopping spots on the Peninsula. For the vast majority, Fresh Market isn’t going to be your everyday grocery store. Most of us are on a tighter budget than this store will allow for, and unless you’re a strict Paleo Dieter, you’ll probably need to go to another store to get everything you need since they don’t carry the huge selection of brand name packaged foods you see at the big chains. But that doesn’t mean that it’s still not worth going to as often as you can. I’ve said it to people before; I would live in Fresh Market if they would let me.
So what’s so great about this place anyway? First off, there’s the store atmosphere. You notice it as soon as you walk in. This isn’t your typical big chain, discount grocery store. With classical music in the air, instruments atop the shelves, and rich, dark wood throughout, Fresh Market feels more like a boutique coffee shop than a grocery store. People tend to treat the store that way as well. The patrons here seem to be more polite, and their children quieter than in other stores. I think the regular customers here tend to all be looking for the same experience, and that’s keeps the environment consistently friendly and welcoming.
As soon as you walk through the doors you run right into one of my favorite sections of the whole store; the free coffee sample bar! Regardless of the day or time, I always pour myself a coffee. I could be stopping off on my way home from the gym on a 105 degree day and I’ll still get a coffee. I don’t know why either, I don’t even drink very much hot coffee! (I’m an ice coffee guy) But there are always fun flavors that I would probably never buy, and walking around sipping on a coffee while I find what I need makes the whole shopping experience just a little bit better. From there you’ll usually find me heading towards the deli in the center of the store. The selection here is just awesome. With fantastic pre-made sandwiches, freshly made sushi, a great selection of salads, pasta salads, rotisserie chicken and more, sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to figure out what I want; there are too many great options. Some of my personal favorites include the rotisserie chicken salad (which is so good I eat it straight from the container), the Greet feta and artichoke salad, and the mamma mia meatballs. I’ll stop off probably once a week to grab a whole rotisserie chicken to split with my wife for dinner (the dog gets some too!). And from the sandwich section, my personal favorites are the Turkey & Swiss Wrap (it’s stuffed with thick cut real turkey), and the buffalo chicken wrap (which comes with a side of the best blue cheese ever). You’ll often find me scarfing down one of these, while sitting in the dining area at the front of the store.
If I’m grabbing something from the deli, I’ll easily fill my basket from the fantastic fresh produce section, which is easily the best that I know of, or I’ll be back at the butchers grabbing picking up some phenomenal steak kabobs and premade burgers. The back of the store is like Toys R Us for the griller in the family. Pretty much every meat you can think of, with a great seafood selection, will have you in protein heaven. You’ll probably want to grab some fresh seasoning while you’re there, to show your friends and family that you’re a pro.
A few of my other favorite spots in the store include the self-serve nut bar, where I regularly pick up a bag of almonds or brazil nuts. The self-serve candy section is pretty awesome too, but I try to avoid that one! The olive bar, and seafood salad bar are fantastic as well. The store even has a great wine and beer section. It’s not enormous, but with reasonably priced wine from around the world, and a beer section made entirely up of smaller producers (no BMC beers allowed), which allows these sections to stay right in line with the high quality expected from every isle.
Now everything about Fresh Market isn’t perfect. There are definitely a few drawbacks. This store is a little pricier than the others in the area. It’s tough if you’re on a budget to make this your primary grocery store, but generally, you’re paying for a higher quality. The salad bar is mediocre at best. There are better and less expensive salad bars in the area, and I feel like it was added only as a reaction to a market surprised by its non-existence. If you want a salad, definitely just go grab a pre-made one from the deli. Then there’s the fact that there is no express lane. Usually it’s not a big deal because most people only grab a few items here at a time, but every now and then you get stuck behind someone with 50 items and nowhere else to go. And because the registers aren’t designed for large purchases, checking them out takes forever. Just know that this is going to happen every now and then. Make sure you bring your phone, play some Words with Friends, or come back here and watch a home tour, and you’ll be just fine.
Have you ever been to Fresh Market? What’s your favorite thing to get there?
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Saturday: 9am to 9pm
Sunday: 10am – 8pm
Phone: (757) 269-0034
12131 Jefferson Ave
Newport News, VA 23602