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Au revoir, Syracuse (Part 1): waving goodbye to Wegmans

April 21, 2009

Today marks the first day of my last week in Syracuse.  (You might need to read that one a few times before it makes sense.)  In years past, I would have noted the occasion with very little sadness and nostalgia.  In fact, for most of my time here in Central New York, I have had a lukewarm (at best) relationship with Syracuse.  I found it to be much like an annoying, maladjusted, misunderstood guy at work constantly pestering some girl in the office to go out on a date with him: I was sure that there was a lot for some rare, patient person to love about the city, and I simply lacked the appropriate patience.

Until, of course, I relented, went out on the proverbial “date,” and learned to love all of the quirks, hidden gems, and wonderful qualities that, all along, had been right there waiting for me to recognize.

For the rest of the week, I plan on devoting my blog entries to bidding “adieu” to the parts of the city (and my life in the city) that I will miss the most: the places that I treasure, the people whom I love, and the memories that I have created here.  And what better place to start than Wegmans.

I must admit, I loved Wegmans even at the height of my Syracuse-hatin’.  And this is because there is so much to love.

A veritable rainbow of peppers!

A veritable rainbow of peppers!

For those of you who don’t know, Wegman’s is a grocery-store mecca, a magical place of produce second only to the farmers’ market, baked goods and desserts approaching the quality of the tastiest French patisserie, a cheese selection offering the finest from Spain, Italy, France, and New York, an in-store organic and health food section whose variety and affordability are unparalleled, a generic brand that is not only reliable but often superior to brand-names, a meat counter that makes my mouth water even though I rarely cook red meat, and the ability to boast that, for the past ten years, they have been listed as one of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” (and were cited as the #1 place to work in 2005).  What’s more, the DeWitt Wegman’s (where I do my weekly grocery-shopping) offers a full (and delicious) Chinese buffet, a pizza counter, a panini counter, a sushi “bar,” a coffee shop, a salad bar, a variety of pre-made dinners (including their scrumptious fried chicken, potato pancakes, and crab cakes), and the best chicken salad that I have ever tasted.  It is truly a magical place–so magical, in fact, that I wouldn’t be surprised if they had well-paid unicorns and leprachauns baking the ciabatta loaves and pretzel rolls (so yummy) each morning.

Only half of their sizeable olive bar

Only half of their sizeable olive bar

Our families have even come to hold Wegmans near and dear, requesting that we take at least one “field trip” to Wegmans during every visit to Syracuse.  We grab lunch from their many restaurant-style options, we load up on specialty teas or the Wegman’s brand 12-grain bread (delicious) for them to take home to their Wegmans-barren lands, and we browse the (mostly unaffordable) offerings from their new kitchen section.  It’s like going to the Shedd Aquarium (for the Chicagoans) or John Bryan National Park (for the Daytonians)–except tastier.

Who's counting carbs?  Not me!

Who's counting carbs? Not me!

Admittedly, my potentially exaggerated and over-inflated description of Wegmans (and the DeWitt Wegmans itself) is akin to an explosion of middle-class/foodie/consumerist glee.  But I love Wegmans so much that I am going to declare myself (irreponsibly) immune from critiquing it.  I unabashedly love their sun-dried-tomato spaghetti sauce.  I have an undying affection for their lemon berry tarts.  I could eat their chicken salad by the boatload.  I will miss the beautiful displays from their floral section.  I will miss the simple pleasure I get from looking at the produce section–just looking at it.  I will even miss Doug, who works at the fish counter, cracks the best jokes, and always makes sure that I get a sample of his pan-fried tilapia or the new Wegmans brand smoked salmon.

Roses from the Wegmans florist

Roses from the Wegmans florist

And I rue the day (which will occur sometime next week) when I can no longer regularly enjoy my beloved Wegmans.

So au revoir, Wegmans.  You have been loved by many, and many will come to love you.  I count myself among the lucky who have experienced this love.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2009 1:42 pm

    😦

    ‘nough said.

  2. renbeth permalink
    April 21, 2009 2:25 pm

    A “potentially exaggerated and over-inflated description”? Certainly not. Wegmans is the grocery store par excellence, no question. I cannot believe you are actually down to the point of making your final Wegmans run, though. That makes me want to cry – for me and for you.

  3. BirthingBeautifulIdeas permalink*
    April 21, 2009 3:26 pm

    Just so you both know, I’m saving the “farewell to my friends” post for last. Making my last “real” trip to Wegmans made me teary enough (yes, I was actually holding back the tears in Wegmans)–I can’t yet bear the thought of saying goodbye to all of you.

  4. Jenny permalink
    April 23, 2009 2:50 pm

    The way you describe Wegman’s reminds me of how I feel when I walk into Dorothy Lane Market! God I love that place. Maybe it’s a good thing, maybe it’s a bad thing that the closest one is probably 15-20 minutes from me and the best one (which is in Springboro) is closer to 30 minutes!

  5. BirthingBeautifulIdeas permalink*
    April 23, 2009 8:29 pm

    Jenny, Dorothy Lane isn’t a bad comparison! I think that Wegmans’ prices are a bit more reasonable than Dorothy Lane, and the people seem a little friendlier…but I’m still looking forward to getting back to the land of the killer brownie! 🙂

  6. Victoria permalink
    April 24, 2009 7:43 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to my favorite grocery store! The only thing you forgot to metion was thier AMAZING customer service. It’s been a couple years now since we moved far away from our beloved Hunt Valley, MD Wegman’s. Anytime anyone comes to visit from back home, we ask them to bring us the Wegman’s brand BBQ sauce and honey mustard. When in town, we eat as many meals there as possible, and are sure to get at least one Ultimate Chocolate Cake to indulge in during our visit. When I have a business trip that takes me to the Northeast I seriously choose my hotel location based on the closest Wegman’s. They are truly the Disneyland of grocery stores!

  7. BirthingBeautifulIdeas permalink*
    April 25, 2009 7:33 am

    Victoria, you are right–their customer service is truly amazing. Yet another thing that I will miss about Wegmans… Oh. And the Ultimate Chocolate Cake. 🙂

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