By Patricia Hall, Fairfax Family Fun
One of the most popular and beloved grocers is opening a new location in Virginia, and — as chatter online shows — folks are excited about this new addition to Fairfax County. Wegmans is opening its latest Virginia store (its 11th one here, and 97th one in total) this Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Chantilly. Located at The Field at Commonwealth near the intersection of Route 28 and Westfields Boulevard, the 120,000 square-foot supermarket is the anchor store in a new development featuring restaurants and shops (many of which are yet to open, with some still under construction).
We had a chance to tour the new Wegmans Chantilly store today and bring you a sneak peek below. Some of the cool things about this location are the new features, including more made-to-order options, and the opening of the first-in-Virginia in-store Burger Bar.
But first, a little background. If you’re not familiar with Wegmans, you may not get the hoopla… why are people so excited about a grocer? First, a Wegmans supermarket is more than your typical grocery store. Some of the things you’ll notice right away are the HUGE size of the stores (you could fit several supermarkets inside one Wegmans!), the cleanliness and nice displays, and wide selection of products (this location alone has more than 60,000 kinds, 4,000 of which are organic). There’s a produce section, bakery, international salad bar, in-store sushi shop and deli, cheese shop, wine and beer shop, and more. And while it’s easy to splurge in these areas, for regular groceries, prices at Wegmans are comparable to other supermarkets and many cases even lower consistently.
Fans of the Rochester, New York-based company also tout the freshness of its products, solid customer service, and inclusion of many locally sourced products. A recent Washington post article highlighted “Why Wegmans really is the best supermarket in the U.S.” Here’s what you can see — both standard and new — when the Chantilly store opens this Sunday at 7 am.
Fresh, convenient foods
A popular feature of Wegmans is its produce department, which is consistently well-stocked with fruits and vegetables. You also can find conveniently pre-cut items that save you on prep work (it’s like having Wegmans be your sous chef!). Some ready-made choices include vegetable “noodles” and cauliflower “rice.” But here’s a tip: Wegman’s can cut up any vegetables you want! So you can ask someone on the produce team to chop something for you, just as you might ask a butcher to make your perfect cuts of meat.
If you love the Wegmans salads from the salad bar but don’t have time to assemble one of your own, have the store make one for you. The Chantilly store is the first one in Virginia (and only third in the country) to feature made-to-order salads. For one flat price, you get a bowl of greens, grains, multiple toppings (nearly 48 to choose from), a protein (extra charge), and dressing.
Bakery, Mexican station, and sushi bar
Some of the most popular Wegmans food choices will be available at Chantilly. These include a Mexican food station with Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites, a sushi bar (with prepared and made-to-order options), and a bakery. (Fun fact: each day, Wegmans bakes up about 45 different types of cookies!)
Fast, hearth-baked pizza
If you’re looking for authentic Italian pizza baked in brick-hearth oven but don’t want to wait, don’t worry. The pizza station at Wegmans features a custom rotating brick-hearth oven that sends your pie in one rotation at 800 degrees so that your pizza is ready in just about three minutes. There are eight pre-determined options, from basic pepperoni to fancier combinations such as prosciutto and arugula, but of course you can build your own, choosing from 18 toppings. (Fun fact: the oven is made of volcanic stone from Mt. Vesuvius in Italy.)
One of the most anticipated highlights of this Wegmans is The Burger Bar, the first one in one of the company’s Virginia locations. This restaurant-within-a-store feature is a casual, family-friendly cafe with a menu of hamburgers, fresh salads, soups, wine and beer, milkshakes, and signature margaritas. The Burger Bar has its own seating section, but of course you can take your meal and dine anywhere in the store that has chairs and tables. There are about 300 seats total throughout, all on one level. The Burger Bar has five burger options (including a veggie variety) and four types of sandwiches (chicken avocado BLT, salmon, crab cake, and lobster roll). There are also six salads (protein options include seafood, chicken, burger, and tofu), and potato and sweet potato fries. (Fun fact: the $6 kids’ meals include a drink and a free kiddie ice cream cone.)
Speaking of kids, Wegmans has a (kiddie) seat at the (kiddie) table for them. In the main dining room there are a few tables with small chairs sized just for kids, along with a TV to help keep them entertained. If you’re wondering if Wegmans will have movie nights, kiddie cooking classes, and other family-oriented events, stay tuned… those will start eventually once all the grand-opening activities are over.
Coffee and smoothie bar
Early risers will want to check out The Buzz coffee shop, open daily at 6 am (except for opening day June 3, at 7 am). For sale are breakfast sandwiches and organic specialty coffee, tea, and espresso drinks. And I’m going to divert here from my usual “reader-focused” writing and get a bit more personal: the coffee is really, REALLY good, and I can be very picky about this! I do like coffee but I’m not a fan of the bitter-tasting coffee in some other shops. When I got a chance to try the Wegmans cold-brew coffee, I tried it plain at first, even though normally I would not drink coffee with no creamer at all (something I always HAVE to add). But I could — and did! — drink this stuff straight… all of it! It truly IS that smooth!
For extra fun, try it as the nitro cold brew coffee (NCB), when they add nitrogen. This gives it a creamy foam at the top (like beer head), which is reminiscent of drinking a Guinness draft (which I also love). For a bit of extra flavor without too much sweetness, add in one of the dozen or so natural flavorings (I tried Hawaiian salted caramel, which is nice). Tip: if you buy one of the Wegmans reusable mugs, you get 50 cents off a refill with each visit. Right at the coffee bar you also can order fruit and yogurt smoothies, as well as “golden milk,” a traditional Asian hot beverage.
Locally sourced products
Wegmans has a Near Our Stores programs that looks to source locally grown products wherever possible. This is why you’ll find dozens of Virginia wines, plus brews from more than 20 breweries and cideries across the commonwealth. And the bakery, in addition to featuring its own homemade goods, carries items from Shilla Bakery, a locally owned Korean business.
Wegmans also is giving back to the community with food donations: Last month the Chantilly stored delivered 9,001 pounds of non-perishable food to Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. The donation included 10 pallets of vegetables and fruit, baking needs, snacks, breakfast items, and juice to help stock up the pantry shelves for summer. A second delivery, scheduled for October, will bring the total to more than 18,000 pounds of food.
While the Chantilly store is new to customers, the team operating it has been working on it for months, knowing there are great expectations for this location. Store manager Brien MacKendrick, executive chef Halit Ozdemir, and the 500 other employees, have been setting up the new features along with old favorites. Here is what else you can find at the store:
- The Market Cafe that, along with the pizza shop, coffee bar, sushi bar, Mexican station, and salad shop, has a sub shop, Asian bar, vegetarian bar, soup station, homestyle bar, and more
- A cheese shop and Mediterranean bar with premium cheeses and more than 70 items in total
- A deli and charcuterie with specialty items
- An international section with Latino and Asian foods, including Indian, Korean, Caribbean, and South American options, along with Eastern Mediterranean, British, German, and Italian cuisine
- A natural foods and nutrition section catering to wellness, special dietary needs and interests, and allergies
- A large wine and beer department, including a special section for fine wines
- A huge seafood and meat section, featuring new items such as Peruvian chicken
- Home and Entertaining aisles with tools, kitchen items, gifts, greeting cards, and seasonal merchandise
- A new line of Wegmans Advance cleaners, made from safe, plant-based products
- A full-service pharmacy pharmacy offering free home shipping, adult immunizations, automated refills, text alerts, and pet medications.
- The Wegmans catering department
- A nice floral shop with fresh-cut flowers and signature arrangements
- Bulk foods sold by the pound (candy, nuts, dried fruit), including a trail mix bar
- Family Pack items in various departments (including meat, seafood, produce, dairy, frozen foods, and grocery) that can yield savings of 30% or more compared to regular-size packages
- Seasonal items for the home (right now you can buy patio sets, for example)
- A Redbox unit to rent DVDs cheaply (these are becoming harder to find!)
- Wegmans deliveries by Instacart, a service that enables Wegmans customers to skip the crowds and complete their grocery shopping online and have the order delivered to their door in as little as one hour
The Chantilly Wegmans will be open daily from 6 am to midnight. What are you looking forward to the most? Tell us in the comments below!
PS – if this post reads like an ad, it’s not. This is not sponsored in any way. I just know neighbors have been excited about this store for months so I wanted to share details, since I, too, am a Wegmans fan!