Since both Alli and I grew up in Orchard Park, we often find ourselves traveling back to visit our parents. So when Orchard Fresh opened their doors this weekend, we were excited to see what it was all about.
A few weeks ago, we received an email from a Tops PR employee who wanted to invite Alli and I to a special Orchard Fresh preview event, a day before they would open the doors to the public. I was somewhat relived to see that Tops was connected to the grocery store in some capacity, it reassured me that this place would stay open for a while and some serious design/experience would go into the renovations. After looking at some of the information about Orchard Fresh, Alli and I were very happy to see that their mission is to offer a strong selection of natural, organic, healthier options, freshly prepared food and unique local products.
Well, unfortunately our special preview visit was somewhat canceled when The Buffalo News incorrectly posted their opening day as the 13th instead of the 14th and the management decided to just roll with it and open the store a day early (Saturday). It actually worked out for us because we still had a tour of the store via a very friendly employee and we were even able to do some shopping since the registers were open and everything was operational.
Orchard Fresh reminded me of a mix between Premier Gourmet, Wegman’s Natural/Health Selection and Lexington Co-op. As far as we could tell, the store has no conventional big name-brand products (i.e. Pepsi/Coke, Lays Chips, Molson/Labatt). The store instead offers artisan options for pop, snacks, pastas, pantry staples and an impressive beer selection that was solely fpcused on craft beer, including the ability to make your own 6 pack. Their produce section is large and had many organic options. Alli, who is obsessed with kale, was very happy to see that a huge bunch of organic kale cost her less than 1 dollar. The variety of fruits and vegetables was also impressive and during our tour we were told that over the summer months they plan to offer produce from local farms as much as possible, which is a wonderful thing to hear.
Orchard Fresh also offers a large selection of organic, grass-fed meats and even some interesting wild game (camel, elk, kangaroo, ostrich) as well as foie gras, quail eggs and frog legs (which are hard to find in WNY). They offer a pretty decent selection of house-made sausage that was so tempting that we ended up buying 4 different varieties. Their seafood selection was also impressive with live crayfish, shrimp and fresh fish that is flown in from Hawaii daily.
I lost Alli for a few minutes in their bakery section as she was enamored with their cases of freshly made cookies, cakes, donuts and Althea’s chocolates. We ended up getting a couple donuts, which are made fresh daily, and they were quite delicious. We also sampled one of their cupcakes, and Alli, our resident cupcake aficionado, enjoyed it enough to go back for seconds. A little past the bakery you will find their frozen food cases. Many of the products in the cases you may not recognize, there are no Lean Cuisines or Totino’s pizza rolls in these freezers. Instead you’ll find organic and gluten free options as well as some local products. We were extra excited to see our favorite Lake Effect Ice Cream proudly displayed on the center shelves (another favorite, Lloyd Rocket Sauce is also available in the pantry aisles). Throughout the store you’ll also find small stations of bulk coffee and tea, olive oils and vinegars, potted herbs, gelato, and organic dog treats.
In the middle of the store you will find the Deli (stocked with Boar’s Head products), an impressive cheese section (similar to what you may find at Wegmans), a soup bar, salad bar, hot (“prepared from scratch”) food bar, sushi, and gourmet sandwiches. The store also has a wood fire oven and you can either call in orders or have them create a custom pizza on site. We ordered a small pizza with house-made Italian sausage and only had to wait a couple minutes for it to be made fresh right in front of us.
Overall, if you couldn’t tell, we really enjoyed Orchard Fresh. Having a store focused on natural, organic and artisan options is something that Buffalo has not really experienced yet. It’s about time that this type of store opened here and Orchard Fresh does not disappoint. Not only was the staff incredibly friendly and helpful but the store really looked great. We plan on visiting every time we are back in Orchard Park (probably more). Orchard Fresh is located at 4050 N. Buffalo Road in Orchard Park. It’s only a ~20 minute drive from the city so we highly suggest you take the short trip out for a visit.
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