South Brooklyn is becoming a gourmet supermarket paradise.
First Red Hook got its own Fairway. Whole Foods on the Gowanus is on the way. Now the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that Trader Joe's will move into the old Independence Bank Building at the corner of the Court and Atlantic. Those Trader Joe's folks sure are smart; the location can't be beat, being at the intersection of Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Brooklyn Heights, three nabes bursting with wealthy eaters.
Though all these food palaces are essentially big box corporations that put small businesses in danger, I have to admit I love this trend. Fairway has been a boon to my kitchen existence. The store is attractive and, if you go in the morning, easy to manage. And I am comforted by the idea that it's a local chain. I used to laugh at Trader Joe's. My brother lives in California and he would rave all the time about the absurd sounding products he bought there. It all seemed so precious and fetishistic. But when I finally visited the Union Square store, I was won over. They had Usinger's bratwurst from my hometown, Milwaukee. And I became addicted to their various salsas. Plus, the help were so, well, helpful. (My affection ends with Whole Foods. Never liked the chain, expensive and not that great and with a real elitist attitude.)
Another silver lining: apparently the bank building was previously on the road to condoland. Trader Joe's is a much more preferable option.
The market is getting a cool and historic home. Built in 1922 as the South Brooklyn Saving Bank, the Italianate building has a palazzo feel and an ornate front door. As for the history, this is the very site of the actual Cobble Hill, the hillock that the British shaved down after the Revolutionary War troops used it as a lookout during the Battle of Long Island. That's right. George Washington slept here.