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Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship (Queen & Yonge)

I'd be very curious to know what the sales are like at that Hudson's Bay store (it might do well despite itself, given the location). Would Hudson's Bay ever give up that space to a competitor? But, yes, they do need to some major work there if they do plan on staying.
 
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A peek inside Pusateri which will open tomorrow Nov. 10.
 

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I looked like this just three days ago:

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42
 

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Ok, so I had a chance to check out the food hall last weekend.

My report is as follows.

As you'd expect, it looks very nice, principally done w/the trademark white stone w/select use of grey/black. There is also some darker wood finishing in a couple of 'rooms' within the space.

On to the important bit, the food.

So I first examined and sampled from the Roman pizza bar.

Slightly expensive for a slice, mine was $7, but not unreasonable for the quality.

Did remind me of Rome, except they cluttered the pizza a bit with too many toppings. Not way too many.......but a little editing would be in order.

The slice I had featured 2 types of sausage, san marzano tomato sauce, fior di latte cheese, hot chillies and confit potatoes among other things.

There was decent selection, with about 8 varieties of slice. Including a drink, the damage was under $10

Eating area for this part of the market is stand-up only with a shelf for your food. Fine for me.

Also featured were a coffee shop, a bakery, a separate vegan bakery, a chocolatier, a hot and cold to go counter, a butcher, a cheese area, a champagne bar, a sushi bar, and some standard 'shelf grocery' and produce.

They had a number of freshly squeezed juices; however, when I was there, they were almost all three days old. Personally, if I'm forking out a premium for freshly squeezed, that means today, to me.

The hot/cold counter had some interesting offers, including steamed octopus and poached lobster tail as well as a sandwich made on a baked pretzel.

I found nothing overly exceptional in the butcher, if you're a Whole Foods or Cumbrae's type person, I'm not even sure this measured up, it was nice, but not original or next-level.

They did have fresh-made pasta, which included Saffron Pasta @ $14 for a modest portion. Meh.

A very good selection of soups, many vegetarian (in bottles) for the standard price range of $6-8 or so per bottle.

Some very good high-end olive oils.

I wasn't knocked-back by the sushi choices.......

The vegan bakery had a large selection and it certainly had a lot of very appetizing looking options, but as I was full and they weren't doing free samples, I can't speak to the actual quality.

Oh, and I almost forgot, they also have a Roast section....which featured a Prime Rib Sandwich for $18. It did look nice, but for $18, I think I want table service.......

And a 'date bar'. No, not a singles spot. A counter feature little treats made of different kinds of dates.

Nice stuff (free samples); but not something I would go out of my way to get.

***

All in all, a good addition to the food to go, grocery scene, for people with a good sized budget; there are affordable options for those looking to just try something.

But in terms of achieving a next-level, best-in-class offer, I don't feel it quite hit the mark.

There was very little on shelves I hadn't seen elsewhere, no game meat in the butcher section, only one kind of wild mushrooms in produce and again nothing that made me go 'wow'.

Stars of the show are the pizza bar and the hot/cold meals to go counter.
 
I found nothing overly exceptional in the butcher, if you're a Whole Foods or Cumbrae's type person, I'm not even sure this measured up, it was nice, but not original or next-level.
I liked that they had USDA Prime steaks (which can be difficult to find), and fresh beef wellington (which I've never seen anywhere!).

They also sell Natalie's Lemonade, which is the best lemonade I've ever had, and it was only $3.39 for 2 litres. I don't know why it was so cheap since it was $6 when I bought it at Saks Sherway a few months ago. http://www.orchidislandjuice.com/juices/lemonade/

They also had some fantastic opening specials last Saturday. I bought 1kg of Mac and Cheese for $5, and some of the best olive bread I've ever had for $1.
 
I tried a couple of cakes at the Sorelle vegan/gluten-free bakery and they were quite good; the icing on the brownie was a bit too granular but it's a minor complaint. Bunner's is hard to beat but its locations are impractical for me. I also found Lac Brome duck confit - it used to be available at the MLG Loblaws, but not for a long time.
 
I tried a couple of cakes at the Sorelle vegan/gluten-free bakery and they were quite good; the icing on the brownie was a bit too granular but it's a minor complaint. Bunner's is hard to beat but its locations are impractical for me. I also found Lac Brome duck confit - it used to be available at the MLG Loblaws, but not for a long time.

Thnx for the review!

As for the duck @ Loblaws

The butcher told me they switched duck suppliers to King Cole which is based north of Toronto because of reliability of supply issues w/Lac Brome

But now they're having problems w/King Cole.
 
Sak's is apparently staying open at Queen ..............seeing as they're renovating.......................

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I'm told this involves women's footwear and men's apparel.
 
Sak's is apparently staying open at Queen ..............seeing as they're renovating.......................

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I'm told this involves women's footwear and men's apparel.

Both those sections are on Level 2, so I'm wondering how they will be changing it up. The women's shoe section feels very small and cramped, especially when you have The Bay's women's shoe section right down the hall.

What I really think they need to do is revamp the entire corner section at Yonge and Queen, where they had the Louis Vuitton boutique. They should open it up and perhaps create a new grand entrance to Sak's - the exterior feels very unfriendly, especially now that it's all covered up due to the Vuitton closure. Also, the adjacent portion near the streetcar stop and stairwell entrance down to the subway and lower level of Saks/The Bay is a dirty eyesore and smells like hot urine. Not the best look when you want people to visit your store.
 
Wandered through HBC the other day............and noted........Sak's has hours distinct from 'The Bay' and The Eaton Centre overall..........only 10am-6pm daily.

That's nuts.

It's also very curious, because normally landlord's like CF do not allow retailers, especially 'anchor' stores to fall below the posted hours of a mall property.

That's a lot of ft 2 to carry on only 56 shopping hours a week.
 
The supermarket area of Pusateri's at Saks is now partially open with produce, snacks, and pastries stocked. Large sections of the store (bakery, cheese counter, butcher, hot table) are still closed off.
 
The supermarket area of Pusateri's at Saks is now partially open with produce, snacks, and pastries stocked. Large sections of the store (bakery, cheese counter, butcher, hot table) are still closed off.

I made some inquiries.......

I'm told traffic is up in recent weeks, but there is currently no plan in place for a full reopening.

It's been looked at, but apparently re-staffing (where have we heard this before) is a real challenge, and it may be into next year before Pusateri's at Sak's is fully operational again.

I asked about missing the Christmas season..........got a shoulder shrug, as in "I don't get it either"; and was then told, it's not impossible to get it back up and running by December but would take an all-out push that does not seem to be under way.
 
Looks pretty sparse in there.

There's enough merch, but the decor is relatively spare; though it is at Holt's too. This seems to be in the 'in' thing at the moment.

The more notable thing........is the relative dearth of customers.
 

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