28 June 2007

Brooklyn Supermarket Renaissance Continues

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.


Anonymous said...

that's all well and good, and while I'm happy that it's been saved from condo death, I think the comparison with the other large stores is unfair since they are not in densely populated areas and have their own huge parking lots. Where on Court and Atlantic are all of the people coming to Trader Joe's going to park? Not to mention the fact that since that particular intersection is already a little hairy,the addition of all these Trader Joes's fans is not going to improve that at all.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

You make a good point, Anonymous. I hope they address that issue.

Anonymous said...

Great news! I missed this in the Eagle and thank you for posting it. Not so long ago I was in Trader Joe's when they were conducting a poll of shoppers waiting for checkout. We were asked where we'd like to see them open another store. Every response I heard was a resounding "Brooklyn!"

Guess all the votes for Brooklyn have paid off. The victory over the condo-builders makes the news especially sweet.