I recently bought a house in North Tonawanda, so I knew I finally had to try grocery shopping at Budwey’s! It’s a local family owned and independently operated store which is refreshing these days. However, I must admit that it leaves much to be desired.
Budwey’s does have some history behind it. The first store was opened in 1922 in North Tonawanda. The store was sold to Jubilee in the 1990s, but to prevent the store from closing, it was bought back by the Budwey family in 2000. They opened two other locations in Buffalo and Newfane, but these were later purchased by Dash’s and Tops, respectively. Earlier this year, the original North Tonawanda location was purchased by the West Seneca grocery store, The Market in the Square, making the store’s official name "Budwey’s The Market In The Square".
When I first walked into the store, I definitely got an 80's vibe, and not necessarily in a good way. There was a quaint old school feel to it, but everything just seemed dated and a little unprofessional. Maybe I’m just spoiled from all the latest and greatest stuff Wegmans, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods has to offer? The store is relatively small and the selection of certain goods reflected that.
I have the mindset that you don’t need the hottest health food trends filling up your cart to be healthy, but I did feel like healthier options were somewhat limited. Whole grain, low-sodium and low-fat options seemed to be pretty sparse. In terms of dietary restrictions and “special diets”, there were some things available. There was a freezer case with gluten-free options including products from Vin-Chet, a gluten-free bakery in Snyder. I question if carrying gluten-free products is new for Budwey’s because the sign above them was labeled “desserts”.
Another thing that disappointed me as a dietitian, was the lack of information on some of their products. They now carry some The Market In The Square items, and I was looking at some frozen pierogi. There was no nutrition facts label which was pretty disheartening. This makes counting calories or carbohydrates pretty challenging as well as paying attention to other nutrients like sodium or fiber.
On the plus side, their produce section was pretty extensive with generally fair prices. They also seem to have a pretty good meat department. While I was shopping, the butcher seemed like a popular guy; he was answering customers' questions about specific products and was pretty knowledgable and friendly. Special orders and having things cut to order seem like standard procedure there.
In terms of prices, meat prices are pretty darn good and produce prices are very competitive as well. Everything else, however, is generally more expensive compared to the grocery store chains. They do have a weekly flyer, and if you just shopped the sales you could probably keep your grocery bill pretty reasonable. They also take coupons which is obviously helpful.
Overall, I really want to love Budwey’s as I want to support a family business rather than the huge chains. However, because of the limited selection of certain products and inconsistent pricing, I’m not sure I’ll be doing my regular shopping there.