It is a grocery store.
Rochester is the epicenter of pivotal events that helped shape this country, from the American Revolution to the Underground Railroad to Women's Suffrage to the Industrial Revolution. The main cemetery likely has the most iconic historical figures in American History buried in it than anywhere else in Upstate NY. There is a Great Lake less than 10 miles north of us. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is world renown. Rochester's International Jazz Festival draws in people from all corners of the earth. The Hungerford has some of the best and innovative artists and artisans rotating through it. University of Rochester has the nation's first educational program focusing exclusively on Optics. Both Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Rochester are doing research on things and making innovations that cause not just ripples, but WAVES across the world of academia and science. That is just on Wednesday. Yet you expect me to believe that the readers of an independent newspaper, the residents who should have their fingers on the pulse of what makes Rochester great, think that the best they have to offer an expatriot from Baltimore is a grocery store?
Have you seen High Falls at dawn or dusk? Have you been on the roofs of any buildings on Water Street and been able to see BOTH the Brighton AND the City Independence Day fireworks simultaneously? Have you rode a bicycle up Arnold Park at the dawn of spring, right when all the trees are flowering and the wind is blowing the petals around the Zen Centre. I saw the best roots reggae show at Water Street Music Hall. It was a local(ish) band playing: Mosaic Foundation. Not once did I think, "Man these are all great! But you know what would be REALLY great? A place where I can buy a pound of chicken AND cheese!"
I have heard many defenses regarding my disappointment at Wegmans winning Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner.
"But it has so much food, and it's so fresh!"
It has lots of fresh food because it is a grocery store. It is probably the law that they sell fresh food. If it had lots of rotten food, then it would go out of business.
"I have not seen anything like it! I moved away from Rochester, and I have been all over the country, and I must say I miss Wegmans."
I understand that moving from your home town will make you miss your local stores. That is just homesickness. I miss Superfresh in Baltimore. However, I don't yearn for it or take my out-of-town friends there claiming it it the best thing about Baltimore.
"There is a bulk food/sushi/sandwiich/pizza/
prepared food bar in it. Where else do you see that?"
Yes. In Albertsons (CA), Meijer (MI), Whole Foods (Everywhere), Superfresh (MD), Giant (MD), Kroger (NC)...I could go on. That there are bulk bins and specialty food bars in a place whose business is selling food is not unique or amazing.
"Whenever I bring my friends from [INSERT COUNTRY HERE], they are amazed!"
Your [INSERT COUNTRY HERE] friends are likely either amazed at the grandeur of American extravagance and abundance. Western European countries may have a Tesco or something similar, but not on the scale of US stores. Our stores are more spread out, but they still sell food. In other parts of the world, there simply is not a venue where one can get all types of food in one place. they may have a specific meat market, fish market, produce market, but not all under one roof or run by one entity. They would be just as wowed at an American pharmacy, where one can get both carcinogenic high fructose sodas and cigarettes and the prescribed medicine that are used to treat the effects of those items.
If when I came to town on 2008, someone blindfolded me and said they were going to take me to the best place to take an out-of-towner in the city and they took me to a grocery store, I would likely take a swing at them, and then I would immediately pack my things and move far, far away. Wegmans is a very good place to get food. However, for all reasons stated, I am convinced that either the vote for this category and Best Place to Meet Singles are rigged, or the residents of Rochester have low self esteem, or they are astonishingly oblivious of amazing things are happening in this city.
If Wegmans wins Best Drag Show next Year, then I will KNOW that the contest is rigged.