Family-owned and operated Stew Leonard’s opened for business in East Meadow on Wednesday, August 23. The grand opening of the new 70,000 square foot grocery store marks Stew Leonard’s sixth farm fresh food store in the tristate area and its second store on Long Island, having opened their first Long Island location in Farmingdale in January 2016.
Stew Leonard Sr., a milk deliveryman for his family’s Clover Farms Dairy, opened the first Stew Leonard’s in 1969 as a 17,000 square foot dairy store in Norwalk, Conn. Today, the store is best known for its farm fresh food, dedication to customer service, and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. The company was voted “Best Supermarket” in the 2017 Bethpage Best of Long Island Awards, recognized as “The World’s Largest Dairy Store” by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and included on FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for ten consecutive years.
The new store in East Meadow employs 350 Team Members; 70% of the team was promoted from within the company. The store also offers the same signature elements found in the other locations, including the Customer Service Rock of Commitment, a one way aisle, the Stew Leonard’s Wishing Well benefitting local non-profits, and of course, a free ice cream with every $100 spent. Since more than 80% of the products sold by Stew Leonard’s are fresh, the new store’s production areas were designed as an open concept so that customers can see the store’s culinary teams hard at work. Departmental highlights include:
• Bethy’s Bakery: Beth Leonard, daughter of store founder Stew Leonard Sr., opened Stew Leonard’s first in-store bakery in the early 1980s. From the moment customers walk into the new store, they are greeted by the aroma of fresh bread, warm cookies, hearth-baked bagels and buttery croissants piping hot from the oven. On a daily basis, the new store expects to make and sell almost 500 loaves of freshly baked bread and over 5,000 cookies. The anticipated number one bakery item for the new store in East Meadow? Apple Cider Donuts! During the first year that the Farmingdale store was open, Long Island shoppers gobbled up 20x more Apple Cider Donuts – almost 75,000 packages in total – than their fellow shoppers in Westchester County, NY and in Connecticut!
• Dairy: The Leonard family has been in the dairy business for four generations, so they know fresh milk. The new store in East Meadow even features a miniature replica of Stew Sr.’s Divco milk delivery truck from the 1950s! Stew Leonard’s milk comes straight from award-winning dairy farms in upstate New York and is free from artificial growth hormones (rBST) and antibiotics. Each dairy farm raises its own young stock, grows all of the food fed to the cow, and has dedicated veterinarians who attend to the herd. Stew’s dairy section is also home to other award-winning dairy items, including a line of organic products, eggs, butter, yogurt, and more. On a daily basis, the dairy section of the new store in East Meadow expects to sell more than 1,000 half gallons of milk.
• Butcher Shoppe: More than a dozen butchers in the East Meadow store offer customers a wide selection of meats direct from ranchers in Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska, including grass fed products and offerings from Stew Leonard’s antibiotic and hormone free Naked® line of beef, chicken, ham, and turkey. They’ll even custom cut your meat for free! Many of Stew’s butchers additionally hold their MBAs – that is, their Masters of Beef Advocacy – and are trained on environmental sustainability, beef nutrition, animal welfare and beef safety.
• Deli: The star of Stew Leonard’s deli is undoubtedly the handmade mozzarella! Stew Leonard’s deli team makes mozzarella and creamy burrata fresh daily and even visits cheese mongers in Wisconsin, New York and Italy. Customers also enjoy a selection of both American and international specialty cheeses – including Parmigiano-Reggiano imported direct from Italy and New York State cheddar – as well as meats, including Boar’s Head and Stew’s own line of roasted deli products.
• Produce: Stew Leonard’s buys local fruits and vegetables whenever possible, including lettuces from Deer Run Farms in Brookhaven, corn and cucumbers from Windy Acres in Calverton, and squash from Well’s Farms in Riverhead. On a daily basis, the store will receive truckloads of fresh product direct from the farm, and customers will be able to choose from 250 varieties of just picked fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Fish: With more than 30 varieties of fresh caught seafood as well as a selection of locally-caught fish, including fish from off the coast of Montauk as well as blue point oysters from Oyster Bay and Norwalk, Conn. In addition to live lobsters from Stonington, Maine, the fish department also offers wild shrimp from Florida, King Crab Legs and King Salmon from Alaska, and salmon from Maine.
• Grocery: From Tate’s Cookies out of Southampton to Butera’s Chicken Meatballs from Woodbury, Stew Leonard’s grocery department offers a mix of national brands, private label, and local favorites. Other local Long Island items that can be found in grocery and throughout the store include Holy Schmitts Horseradish in Riverhead, Bryant & Cooper Steak Sauce from Roslyn, assorted appetizers from Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, and non-alcoholic Long Island Iced Tea from Long Beach.
• Mrs. Leonard’s Kitchen: Supervised by chefs who have trained at restaurants in New York City and Las Vegas, the heart of the new store’s open concept kitchen is a hearth-like stone wall. The kitchen also boasts ovens, grills, a wok, a rotisserie, and an open prep area for Stew’s culinary team of 50 as they prepare 100+ foods to-go. Many of our customers most-loved recipes – including meatballs, our award-winning soups, Bolognese sauce, and a zesty tomato roasted salmon dish – come directly from the recipe box of Mrs. Marianne Leonard, wife of store founder Stew Sr. The store will also offer a catering department offering a variety of dishes, from tender filet mignon and roasted turkey to a selection of side dishes, sushi platters, sandwiches, chicken wings and more.
Customers can expect to see some additional surprises while shopping in East Meadow, such as three 55” monitors built into the floor at the front of the store, which feature social media customer driven content, news and events. A number of pieces salvaged from old barns from New England and Amish Country dating to the early 1900s were incorporated into the design, including reclaimed wood, milk crates, ladders, wagon wheels, and fruit bins. There is a custom-made chandelier featuring milk bottles hanging in the Dairy section while the Butcher Shoppe features antique wagon wheels, barn doors, and a 16 foot-wide steer horn. There are also be more than a dozen animatronic shows located throughout the new store in East Meadow; new animatronic shows will include a skateboarding Bobby Banana, soaring cows of the Stew-Mont Stakes, and dancing Avocado Girls.
Stew Leonard’s East Meadow is located at 1897 Front Street, East Meadow, NY 11554. Regular store hours are Monday through Sunday (8 a.m. – 10 p.m.). The store can be reached directly at 516-394-9001.