Rumor Redux: Trader Joe’s Coming to Clifton?


Like a lot of people, I am obsessed with Trader Joe’s. Twice a month my husband and I load the kids into the car and take a family trip to the Millburn store, where we fill our cart (sometimes two) to the top, avoiding the probing eyes of curious onlookers who (I’m convinced) wonder why a family of four—one of whom is still in diapers—needs that much food.

I live in Montclair, I want to explain. It takes me 25 minutes to get here.

So we go every two or three weeks, hoping our carts full of organic strawberry jam, frozen pizzas, seaweed snacks, bags of avocados and pre-washed kale will sustain us until our next trip. As much as I love Trader Joe’s, I just can’t drive to Millburn—or Paramus, or Wayne—every weekend.

But if the rumor one Baristanet reader heard is correct, we may be getting a Trader Joe’s much closer to Baristaville.

The tipster sent us this email yesterday: “Heard from an employee at the Smashburger on Route 3 that the construction site between the Tick Tock Diner and Smashburger is for a Trader Joe’s.  Sounds like it won’t be ready until 2013 though.”

I’m not the only one obsessed. When I emailed my friends about this, one wrote back, “My prayers have been answered!” Another said, “I think I just heard a chorus of angels singing!” (When Trader Joe’s is being discussed, I’ve noticed, a higher power is often invoked.)

Still, we’ve been down this road before. Back in 2008, a similar rumor floated through the area but was quickly laid to rest (see the last comment on this post). So I’m not holding my breath. I have reached out to Trader Joe’s but have yet to receive a reply.

Fortunately, another rumor about a different favored grocery store opening in the area is true, and it’s sure to please every former Upper West Sider in Baristaville. Venerable New York City market Fairway is coming to Route 46! It will be at the site of the old Pathmark in Woodland Park and is slated to open in June, a spokesperson for the company told me.

So even if you still have to drive to Millburn to get your seaweed fix, at least an awesome cheese counter—and other gourmet goodies—will be only a stone’s throw away.

Have a favorite TJ’s  and/or Fairway item? List them in the comments below.

Photo by Comp4Me via flickr


  1. I was at the Clifton library and two women were discussing the same rumors. So I just both are correct.

  2. There’s a sign at the Clifton construction site saying “retail opportunties,” suggesting it’s not Trader Joe’s. Have you tried the Wayne store?

  3. I usually drive to the TJ’s in Westfield once a month to load up on the wine. I know that 2 Buck Chuck is popular but for $1 more they have the TJ Select wine which is far better than the Chuck. Besides the Chuck they have a lot of other brands that are very good and very inexpensive, its definitely worth the trip.

    Kristen mentioned the edamame hummus its the best.

  4. The one in Paramus is great and you can get your discount outlet shopping in at the same time at Century 21 and a few others.

  5. This means my wife is going to be bringing home those dark chocolate covered almonds I can’t resist and I’m going to get fatter and fatter and fatter…

  6. Baristas: seriously, we are writing about rumors? Something a cashier said?

    And, a Fairway In Woodland Park is exciting why?

    Sorry. Signed in looking for news. 🙁

  7. I am very excited to hear about the new Fairway location. They have a great selection of surprisingly well-priced gluten free items, as well as a good amount of international items.
    I would likely go weekly if the nearest location was not Paramus. Hence the excitement regarding a Woodland Park location.

  8. You know, Woodland Park sounded so far away. I just couldn’t place where in NJ it might be.
    I just remembered. It’s West Patterson!

  9. Oh come on, scottie. Rumors of a Trader Joe’s is like catnip to Baristanet readers. You can’t expect Baristas to resist any more than you can expect New York to close down the Lotto. I’m surprised this thread doesn’t have 100 comments already. It must be the unseasonably warm weather.

  10. I am confused…

    Woodland Park is not far… But Millburn is ? Millburn is in Essex County,
    Woodland Park is not. I am in Blmfd, on the Glen Ridge boundry & get to
    Millburn in under 20 minutes. What route R U taking ??

  11. I am closer to the Verona side, so I take Bloomfield Ave to Prospect to Northfield to Gregory/Wyoming. If there’s a shorter way, let me know!

  12. Spoke with someone today who works in the Marty’s Shoes next door to the mysterious construction site on Allwood Rd. in Clifton. Ask what’s going up…and was told “Trader Joe’s”. Expected to be “done before Thanksgiving”!!

  13. Another missed opportunity by our crack local government. It’s interesting that Clifton is attracting all sorts of ratables and we’re … just shuffling along attracting dust …

  14. Nick, we’re going to get that great assisted living facility. It will probably be a not for profit after they’ve been in business for a few years. Smart people live here, somehow they aren’t the ones who get elected. And that community center is going to be real nice too.

  15. I fully expect cathar to investigate whether this is just another front for Passaic county Muslim extremists.

  16. Me & the better looking PAZ partner frequent the Florham Park store, easy to get to and newly built. I get my supply of melatonin, seaweed snacks, cheeses and dark chocolate. If they sold wine then it would become Utopia Joe’s.

  17. I’ll still be driving 25 minutes to shop there as anyplace within Baristaville is the most obnoxious shopping experience you can have. It is worth the drive to west caldwell or little falls for a shop rite, it is worth shopping on my lunch hour for stop and shop. I don’t know what is in the water supply here that everyone has to act like it is the end of the world and only gourmet cheese will save them. Add a forecast of snow and it is absolutely horrid.

  18. PAZ, some of the stores do have wine. I guess you’ve never had Two Buck Chuck. I go to the one on 14th regularly, the wine selection is pretty good. But even if the Cllifton store won’t have wine, the Stew Leonard’s liquor store is nearby. We can bring back all our goodies from Clifton and eat at the outdoor tables on the newly improved South Park. You know, that street with the big moldy apartment building and assisted living facility.

  19. jg – It would be quite neighborly to share a bottle of two buck chuck with a resident of the ALF. Just saying…

  20. As someone who LOVES food shopping, I got nuthin’ for Trader Joe’s. I’ve been a number of times and have yet to get that “Thrill Going Up My Leg.” (

    Can’t wait to see Fairway. It’ll make me tingle I’m sure.

    But Trader Joe’s is no Wegman’s, which I LOVED the few times I’ve shopped.

    What music do they play at Trader Joe’s? Why do I think they have Phish and Grateful Dead on a loop?

  21. “What music do they play at Trader Joe’s? Why do I think they have Phish and Grateful Dead on a loop?”

    Good question, prof.

    Probably because Pat Boone wouldn’t “cut the mustard”, seedless, infused, or otherwise.

  22. Speaking of Wegman’s, I heard a rumor one is coming up to Northern Jersey in Montvale. Probably not for another year or two, though.

  23. JG….Had a few bottles of 2buckchuck. Right now it’s Project Paso and Apothic I’m tasting. Two great blends in the 10buckchuck range. Prof, music is important to the shopping experience but the quality & priceline of the products in the store are much more important.
    I’m into organic even though the US Gov. has bastardized the name. There seems to be very little couponage for decent quality food. Just the run of the mill food factory stuff.
    Wegman’s in Montvale? Better than driving to the one down by Somerville.

  24. I believe, as Trader Joe’s pertains to the pursit of happiness, it’s Constiutionally mandated.

  25. Trader Joe’s never did much for me. Not nearly enough fresh food – lots of jars, bottles, and above-average prepared frozen foods. Just not my cup of tea.

  26. I first went to Trader Joes in soCal and liked it, but half the fun is being able to add some wine to your cart! Now, if you’re saying I would have to stop off in that hideous mall next door to get some wine (you know, where the Cups store is) then I will pass. Easy access is more important to me and TJs will be difficult IMHO. I know after yesterday’s first experience trying to find a place to park at Cups, it will also be my last. Convenience is key for me, and stupidly-planned parking lots are worse than annoying. Can’t even make turns down the aisles because the lanes aren’t wide enough (Clifton commons is the same way). I am still trying to get up to Sandy’s shop rite but wide open spaces are like shangri-la!

  27. spicoli, while your Scientology joke is offensive (really, who are you to make fun of how or where someone chooses to worship?), your summary of the problem with TJ’s is spot on.

  28. Fairway is the bomb. If you want a preview go to the one in the Fashion Center on Rte. 17. Great butcher, great produce including organic all in one spot, great coffee/tea dept. and normal grocery prices/brands plus a lot of the higher-end and natural stuff Whole Paycheck stocks. Wegman’s is the closest I can compare it to.

  29. How do I love Fairway? Let me count the ways…
    I am one of Fairway Market’s biggest fans. I have shopped there for at least 20 years, starting with the little (now big) store on the UWS of Manhattan. When I moved to NJ 9 years ago, I would travel to the 125th St. store and stock up. Paramus? I was there on opening day. So Baristaville- you NEED to check this out if you are a serious foodie!! It’s like no other market, as they say.

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