I was invited to hang out at Stew Leonard’s with Stew Leonard Jr. in Farmingdale as he escorted me and a few other bloggers on a special tour of the store. I have never been to the store before and actually thought it was a department store. Before I forget, he’s very involved in local charities too. Located 25 minutes away from Valley Stream, I never considered driving out there.!
I instantly fell in love with the store and plan to return soon especially for back to school lunch items and more. My husband works just minutes away from the location so he can expect me to send him a grocery list from time to time as well. The good news is that their newest location is set to open closer to us in East Meadow in mid 2017.
The new Stew Leonard’s store in East Meadow will be 70,000 square feet and located on Front Street, just off of Hempstead Turnpike, in the Serota Organization’s East Meadow Mall, which will be renamed Stew Leonard’s Marketplace and completely renovated in the coming year.
Once you walk into the store, you instantly forget that you’re in a grocery store. There’s an ice cream counter right at the entrance. What a way to welcome a customer! Not only that, you can smell the fresh baked bread made daily just steps away. Well, that’s if you have enough will power to walk past the free apple cider donuts they want you to sample. Word is that Long Island sells the most apple cider donuts than any of their other stores. I guess LI loves their donuts!
I don’t know if this is done at any other grocery stores, but if a customer wants to sample any item on the floor before making a purchase, you can. Say what????
As we continued the tour, there were surprises around every corner for both the kids and for adults. There are tasty samples everywhere! The day we toured, I sampled cole slaw, chicken salad, fresh mozzarella, bread, and even tasted a cotton candy grape. Yeah, I’ve never heard of that either. They aren’t available year round, but when they are in season they grab as many as they can just for customers.
And folks, they really do taste like cotton candy. I kid you not!
Now, back to the surprises for the kiddies. My kids are never excited to go to the grocery store unless there’s something in it for them, and I hate taking them. However, known for being the Disney Land of grocery stores, I saw kids having fun at the grocery store. Around every twist and turn, there’s a button they can push to start a song or performance from some of the fun characters. There are also monitors/TV everywhere too with fun facts, videos, and more.
I cannot say enough about this place, folks. I’m a little persnickety when it comes to how food displays look and will never buy fish from my local grocery store because, I’m scared. Plus if I smell the fish, how fresh can it be? But fresh from the waters was both this squid and big fish that we were shown that morning. The fish market was a gorgeous as was the meat market.
My husband met me on the tour and was taken aback by the meat department. He’s a steak man and quickly took note of the “Naked” meats. What’s that? It’s Stew Leonard’s way of saying healthy or no preservatives, pesticides, etc. We were able to sample a Naked porterhouse and a….clothed one? I don’t know…but I couldn’t tell much of a difference in taste. So, for a few dollars more I’m okay with purchasing the naked brands.
As we were having lunch, Stew shared his family tragedy that took place in 1989 when his then 21 month old drowned in their swimming pool as the family prepared for a party. Because of this drowning, the Stew Leonard III Children’s Charities was founded raising over $1 million dollar benefiting nutritional awareness and water safety for children. He says that swim lessons are so important for children and I totally agree. Be sure to check out Stewie the Duck books and apps (launching soon!) too.
Will I return to Stew Leonards? You bet I will! With five locations and all of their options, it’s perfect for back to school week when I won’t feel like cooking while we get acclimated to the fall schedule. They have so many pre-cooked or heat and eat options that will be perfect because I don’t like to cook!
Be sure to visit their website here for up to the minute deals and specials.
Note: Must be a US resident residing in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut to win.