CHELSEA — Hundreds of hungry shoppers turned out in force Wednesday morning for the grand opening of Chelsea's first Fairway Market.
The new store at 766 Sixth Ave. brings the grocer's signature produce, butcher counter, chopped salad bar, deli, olive bar and more than 600 types of cheese to the neighborhood, just blocks from a popular Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.
The location is the fifth Manhattan outpost for Fairway, and its first on the West Side below West 74th Street. At about 17,000 square feet, the store is on the smaller end for the grocer, but Fairway CEO Herbert Ruetsch said it would deliver the same experience as other locations.
"Everything that Fairway is about is in this 17,000 square feet," he said at a morning ribbon-cutting.
Howie Glickberg, the face of the company and grandson of its founder, also gave the store his blessing.
"There is not a nicer store in New York," he said.
The new supermarket brings 250 union jobs to the neighborhood, a fact that drew the applause of a bevy of local politicians who praised the decades-old New York grocer.
But for Ed Muniz, 45 — who was first in line to get in the store — it was all about the food.
"I watch what goes into my mouth," said the Bronx resident, who arrived about two-and-a-half hours before the store was set to open.
"They're really good about quality and making sure things are kosher."
After the ribbon-cutting, excited shoppers streamed into the store, coupons in hand, to buy their Fairway favorites.
Leslie McKenzie, 66, and Joyce Gold, 70, picked up a few things for lunch — including a hot sourdough loaf and some chicken salad.
"It's a great store — I was very impressed," McKenzie said.
Both live in the neighborhood and are frequent Trader Joe's customers, but they said the quality of the food at Fairway might be enough to draw them away from time to time.
"We'll be very alert of the quality of the fruit between the two of them," McKenzie said, "and the price."