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For many Upper West Siders, life without Fairway is inconceivable. What began in 1974 as a humble market has mushroomed into a multistory, 35,000-square-foot gastronomic temple, where floor-to-ceiling assortments of glistening fresh produce offset homey prepared foods and tempting baked goods. Immaculate meats, seafood, appetizers, and deli items, as well as generous arrays of coffees, olives, oils, and the legendary cheese department have established Fairway as an indispensable culinary resource. Mystery is out and education is in, thanks to the countless chatty placards that detail the provenance, characteristics, and uses of products. Upstairs, organic produce, natural fare, and supplements fill the clean, well-kept aisles. A skylighted café, open since 2000, serves sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, and breakfast fare by day and becomes a steakhouse by night. Fairway's Harlem location opened in 1995, in a space about a third larger than its Upper West Side sibling, and offers a comparable range of top-quality products to this underserved neighborhood. The Harlem store's Cold Room, a frigid 10,000-square-foot enclosure that houses the store's mammoth offerings of meats, seafood, dairy, and fresh flowers, is worth a trip uptown, with insulated jackets offered to those sensitive to the gelid temperature. This location also offers that most precious of New York City commodities, ample parking.Extra
Take-out: Fairway's kitchens offer comfort foods like rotisserie chickens, crab cakes, and lasagna, along with international fare, prepared salads, and dozens of heat-and-eat main courses.