Saturday, November 7, 2009

Giant Eagle Market District Robinson

As you may have heard, Giant Eagle built a brand new, super huge Market District store in Robinson Township, PA. Last night, we braved the crowds to check it out.

It started like this:
  • 2 minutes and 28 seconds to get from our house to the store
  • 5 minutes to find a parking space far, far away
  • upon entering, nearly run over by a young girl driving a motorized cart (she had a knee brace)
  • 10-15 minutes in line to order/receive a crepe for dinner
  • 5-10 minutes in another line to pay for dinner
It was crowded! We really did set out with the intention of doing our weekly grocery shopping. We quickly abandoned that idea and settled for simply browsing and learning the layout.

I had a prosciutto-asparagus-brie crepe for dinner. SP ordered the traditional rosti. There were 3 or 4 workers creating the crepes and rostis and they were very friendly and attentive - by that I mean that they made sure the plate they plunked on your tray had the correct ordered food.

My crepe was good. I wonder if it was really prosciutto or a sort of ham-prosciutto hybrid because it didn't have the trademark saltiness and chewiness I associate with prosciutto.

I think all the crepes are $5-$6. They have Nutella crepes which I want to try at a later date.

SP enjoyed his rosti. He chose the traditional: wedge of rosti, spring greens with your choice of sour cream, sautéed granny smith apples, chives, diced red onion and capers. I think the rostis are $5-$6.We used one of our prepared/restaurant food coupons and paid $10.63 for both dinners.

We took our food upstairs to the cafe area. As we made our way through the beer area, SP happily recited beers he saw (and wants to buy): Great Lakes, Sam Smith, Boddingtons, Victory, etc. You can't mix & match but the way people were buying beer to enjoy with their food and dashing in the side entrance to grab a 6-pack to go, well, it was nuts! I hope the state liquor people are paying attention - clearly, beer (and other liquors) in grocery stores are desired by consumers.

After we finished our dinner, I waited in the cafe while SP went to the gelato area. I tried tiramisu and he tried coconut basil. Both were tasty. They are $2.50/each. We used one of the many coupons we've received and the 2 gelatos cost us $3.I wanted a coffee but the line was a bit too long so I skipped it. The coffee area smells so good. They also have cappuccinos, lattes, cafe au lait, chai, hot tea. Right next to it is a juice bar. Details on the Beverage Bars here.

After eating, we again perused the prepared foods area. My gosh, lots of choices! I think my brain might have overloaded because today I can hardly remember everything! Spinach lasagna rolls, chicken marsala, meatloaf & mashed potatoes, crab cakes, albacore tuna salad, carrot souffle, all sorts of rotisserie goodies, soups (broccoli cheddar, wedding, tomato, vegetable - the seafood soups are near the seafood area). There's an Asian Food Bar with naan, satay, a tandoor oven. And there's sushi.Most of the workers we encountered behind these counters were young but very nice and eager to help. I felt bad telling them we were just browsing. I point this out because sometimes at grocery stores (all grocery stores, not just Giant Eagle) sometimes the workers behind counters can be kind of surly.

Next up, the bakery. Yum. So many goodies. The usual Giant Eagle cookies plus very cute cookie concoctions like this:Chocolate mint cupcakes topped with chocolate curls, mini cakes, big cakes, wedding cakes, lots of breads, angel food cakes, blueberry cake, pies, donuts, so much more I can't remember but I'll leave you with this photo of what may be my favorite goodie:Yum Yums/Gobs!!!!

We visited the bulk candy area and in that same area are bulk items like rice, quinoa, nuts, oats, popcorn, etc. In the more 'specialty' candy area we found dark chocolate espresso beans - a favorite for both of us - for $7.99/lb.

The bulk olive oil & vinegar area is nice. A lady was there to let you sample. We sampled the White Peach Balsamic Vinegar - delicious. They were out of the blueberry one. The only other flavor I remember is a garlic flavored olive oil. You can buy a bottle for your oil or vinegar for $5.99 and then re-fills are $4.99.

The seafood had lots of amazing looking seafood, even whole fish. The meat area had some organic chicken, some grass fed beef, Jamison Farms lamb and a specialty meats area: duck, elk, goose, venison, buffalo, and rabbit. We even found a turducken.The cheese area. My goodness. I can't imagine not finding a cheese here. Huge wheels in some refrigerator cases. People handing out samples - we sampled fontinella and later a sort of tiramisu creamy cheese on an almond cracker that was yummy.Nearby are the barrels of pickles.And yes, we saw the Pittsburgh Skyline cheese, but I didn't take a photo.

There's an olive bar and a small 'Bruschetta Bar' with 4 kinds of bruschetta toppings (asparagus, artichoke-portabella, tomato, red pepper):The bulk tea selection was OK to us (keep in mind we are tea addicts!) but the selection of boxed teas was enormous! All the usual suspects (Bigelow, Twinings, Lipton, Celestial Seasonings) and more (Republic of Tea, for one).

There's a housewares section, which seemed to be a cut above the normal grocery store kitchen ware area. There are bulk spices, a fairly large international area, an entire row of pasta sauces and lots of pastas. A huge produce area. We saw the hydroponic Bibb lettuce and saw a sign that they are growing edible flowers.Also of note - and we noticed because of SP's needing to eat gluten free for several years - one whole freezer of gluten-free goodies and then later we found an aisle sign 'gluten free.'

You have to see it to believe it - this place is GINORMOUS. We think we'll be shopping at off times (like 10 pm!). It was extremely crowded when we got there a bit after 7 pm but by the time we finished (9:30 pm) it was much emptier. My opinion remains the same: I am excited to have this really terrific grocery store as my local store but I remain fearful of the crowds and traffic in my neighborhood!!!


  1. Yes it packed. So much to take in- I didn't even see the juice bar!

    I thought of you today as I was in McGinnis Sisters (2 grocery stores within 24 hours, I'm nuts) because they sell Yum Yums from Bethel Bakery!!

    I have to appologize, as this new development holds two things that keep me sane: a gym (its going to get cold out) and a good grocery store

  2. The Boddington's shout-out was more because I know your dad really likes it (I like it too, but I'm happier to see the Victory and Samuel Smith's stuff). I'm excited about more than just the beer, but it's nice to not have to buy a whole case when I'm such an infrequent drinker... :)

  3. Whitney - I am now figuring out if McGinnis Sisters is closer to us than Bethel Bakery!!!