Instead of driving 20 minutes in the rain to downtown Leesburg to find the Ah!laska organic chocolate syrup my kids have gotten used to after I weaned them off Hershey’s, I thought I’d take a chance and check Wegman’s. I usually go to Wegman’s when I want something special or exotic, like foie gras, but I’m going to have to go there more often. Why? Let me count the ways:
1. WKids Fun Center: It took me about 5 minutes to fill out a form and register La Princesa to play in their playroom. It’s open to kids 3-8 years old, and you get an hour to shop whine-free. Pure bliss. They give you a pager like they give you at Panera in case your wee one needs the bathroom, and you each get a paper bracelet to ensure the right kid goes home with the right mom or dad. Which may not be helpful to you. But I digress; a final tip: make sure your kid has socks on, or else they won’t let her play on the playset. La Princesa, alas sockless, was mighty pouty about it when I picked her up.
2. More than 900 organic items in their Nature’s Marketplace. Their section isn’t as big as a Whole Foods, but bigger than Giant’s or Bloom (formerly Food Lion). Harris Teeter integrates their organic items into the general food population rather than keeping a separate section. And the one item that will ensure my return: Spectrum Children’s DHA for $9.99. That’s $5 less than at Whole Foods, the cheapest I’d found anywhere, including the Net.
3. The option to eat in, upstairs, which I haven’t tried yet. What makes this more attractive than the Whole Foods dining area is the huge food court, where you can get pizza, subs, sushi, Chinese food, kosher deli sandwiches and more
Overall, Wegman’s feels more trendy, more pop culture—to wit: the Cookie Cones, “As seen on Food Network!” in four flavors: Pretzel, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and M&Ms Minis. It costs an outrageous 5 for $5.99 and the M&Ms version contains artificial colors and flavors. Did I get one anyway? Sure did, the M&M’s version! I’ll save it as a suspend-the-diet treat on a weekend or holiday.