If you've ever been to the Roche Bros. in West Roxbury, you know they have a pretty impressive selection of ready-to-go meals, cheeses and the like.
There's a new ready-to-go supermarket in town, and it makes Roche Bros. and the newish Star Market in Chestnut Hill, which has its own food-to-go area, look like little delis. Take what you're used to at those stores and triple their size and you've got the Wegmans on Rte. 9, which opened today where the Omni Foods used to be.
At least when we went this afternoon, the predictions of gridlock on Rte. 9 proved overblown and we quickly found a space in the garage behind the store (pleasant shock: Drivers of SUVs were actually taking just one space each, unlike in the old Atrium parking garage).
We walked into the store and it was like, boom, Oh. My. God! Partly because the place was crowded like Kenmore Square after a Sox game, partly because the non-essential food just went on and on and on. And on.
Here a salad bar, there a "summer salad" bar, both sitting in front of an Asian food bar and a fried-chicken bar, all nestled between counters serving 152 (or so it seemed) types of pizza and various hot things you could get made into meals while you watch, a bakery, a counter offering freshly chopped fruits and counters for prepared and raw seafood, the later of which had a giant slab of swordfish on one side and an eye-less tuna on the other.
Walk past all that and you ran into the seemingly endless olive bar.
And the trail-mix bar. And the cheese counter featuring cheese grown in Wegmans own cheese caves. Of course Wegmans has its own cheese caves.
And, God, the Greek yogurt. Apparently, every last person in Greece now has his or her own brand of Greek yogurt - and Wegmans has them all, just daring you not to buy them, as they sit under a large-scale model train whirring about up where normal supermarkets would have a ceiling (nice local touch: The train has a Boston and Maine loco).
Once past the trail-mix bar and the Rhode-Island sized Greek yogurt area, you get to the traditional supermarket stuff. Wegmans seemed to have plenty of that, so if you need to, you can stock up on just milk and bread, and I'm reasonably sure they have cream cheese, even if I couldn't find any. They also have a kosher section, if not quite as large as at the Chestnut Hill Star.
Wegmans employees were everywhere, pushing lumbering carts of fresh prepared stuff to feed the ravenous hordes, flitting about the aisles, helping dazed consumers find what they need. This led to gridlock in the cereal aisle, where one guy was having trouble picking out just the right type of a particular cereal, Cheerios or something, and a helpful Wegmans employee got right in there with him trying to figure out just what it was he wanted. Meanwhile, other shoppers piled up on either side. Fortunately, before things got completely out of hand, a Newton woman of a certain age took decisive action: She rammed the confused cereal consumer with her cart, which got him to move, after which she murmured the world's most insincere "sorry" and was off, as were the rest of us.
All in all, kind of a cool thing, but we live too far away to make this our regular market - we'll probably stick to Roche Bros. and Shaw's, although maybe those times we're coming back from Framingham or some place like that (hey, it happens), we'd stop there.
On the way home, we swung through the Roche Bros. parking lot. Seemed as crowded as ever. It might've been interesting to drive to the Chestnut Hill Star Market, though.
Past supermarket reviews: