Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Town Plot IGA
Town Plot IGA
286 Fairfield Ave
Waterbury, CT 06708
I'd pretty much eat anything if it was wrapped in prosciutto. It's a good thing I live within walking distance of so many places that sell it!
IGA is the neighborhood grocery store of the Town Plot section of Connecticut. It is small and well stocked, specializing in (but not limited to) Italian foods. I've even seem some employees that speak Italian, and on some days you can find older Italian Americans conversing in front of the meat case (their meat, for the record, is molto bene, see below). This makes IGA one of the focal points for what I like to call the "Town Plot Italian American Movement," which is a seemingly desperate attempt by the people of Town Plot to maintain the area as "Italian" as humanly possible. Young people around here tattoo themselves with Italian flags and hang flags off their car, people bring up their "Italian-ness" in the first 10 minutes of conversation, and there are literally 4 Italian restaurants/delis within 1 square block of each other on Highland Ave, which are always swamped with people. Incidentally, this area is also the home of the infamous "Mt Carmel Feast/Italian festival," where people drive from all over the state for delicious fried dough and sausage. But I digress...
IGA is a small, clean, and recently renovated grocery store, and the place to go if you are looking for any sort of dried, cured, marinated, or other Italian ingredients. They've got it all. If you are looking to make any other sort of ethnic dish, save the possible (and gross) fake Mexican taco shell/ground beef/jarred salsa dinner that still gives me nightmares, then IGA probably will not have what you are looking for.
The produce section is somewhat small, but has things like Italian long hot peppers, broccoli rabe, tomatoes, basil, arugula, Cubanelle peppers (which my Italian Aunt insists are actually called "Italian peppers"), garlic, and other crucial Italian veggies. They quality of their produce is good, and often you can get a deal on produce that is just past ripe, which they will put on a cart towards the back of the section. Because this section is so small, it can often run out of things quickly. Sometimes I will go there specifically for fresh basil or avocado and there will be none left. Overall though, decent produce section.
There is a little "to go" section in the back of the produce section that has pre-made homemade dinners to heat up yourself. They often have eggplant or chicken parm, clams and linguini, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, etc. I've only had a few things, but they've all been tasty.
The meat section is fabulous. Although it isn't huge, it's impossibly fresh and good quality. In fact, if meat (especially sausage) is the focal point of my meal, I will probably pick it up from IGA. My mother says that she also "trusts" IGA's meats more than other store's meat, which I suppose is a creepy way of saying that the meat is consistently fresh. They often have specials on certain meats as well.
IGA's deli is very good for a small grocery store. It has to be, with places like Avventura's right around the corner (I'll blog on that place soon). They have a good selection of meats and cheeses, all fresh sliced to order, and a small but good selection of deli salads, marinated things, meatballs, etc. Their prosciutto is delicious, but a whopping $17.99 a pound! I wish either 1. it were less expensive or 2. I had an ounce of willpower over that delicious meat!
(Side story- This is how I knew Scott was the one for me: One day I said, "Screw toasters, on my wedding registry I am going to have things like '1 leg Prosciutto di Parma,' " to which Scott replied, "Oh, can we also add '1 large wheel Parmigiano Reggiano'?" True love. Fat, right?)
IGA also has a lot of baked goods, many from the Gina Marie bakery across the street. They have a small seafood department, with very fresh seafood, but limited selection. The grocery section is good, especially for Italian imports, many from the local Napoli import company. The health/beauty/medicine section is practically non-existent, but there is a Rite Aid across the street.
Overall, IGA is a wonderful neighborhood grocer that supports local businesses and adapts to the needs of its shoppers. If you are looking for a genuine Italian American shop with a real "hometown" feel, this is the place for you!
3 Things Renee loves about IGA
1. They tend to stock local everything, breads and baked goods from local bakeries, meats from a local sausage place, relish from local hot dog joints, etc. I try to buy local whenever I can, and IGA, with its sweet local hometown feel, really helps one support local businesses. :)
2. The hometown feel. I almost always run into people that I know
3. The quality of their meats and Italian imports is unparalleled.
4. (I never follow this 3 things rule) I also like how they put foods that are just slightly past ripe/fresh (baked goods, produce, meats, etc) on super special sale, which means it's a great place to run in and grab quick and cheap stuff for dinner that night.
1 Thing Scott loves about IGA
1. Scott only gets to love one thing because he almost never comes with me to IGA (probably because of their somewhat stinky hours). He picks IGA's meat, including regular, sausage, and cured as his favorite thing.
Things Renee dislikes:
Well, insulting IGA is sort of like insulting a family member, but...
I will say that, given the proximity to my house, I wish that they carried a few more items, as I couldn't make it my prime grocery store. Basically, if I am too lazy to go anywhere further, I say, "Scott, what Italian food would you like me to make for dinner tonight?" The other thing is that IGA is a lot more expensive that big chain stores. My mother was lured away by the "buy 1 get 2 free" appeal of the Naugatuck Big Y, and never looked back. I love the community feel and local selection offered, and if I had a few more dollars, I would definitely shop there more often. Also, IGA's hours are not the greatest, and often when I go, it's closed.