Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >
Jul 12, 2007 12:46 PM

Trader Joe's Brooklyn

So it's finally true - there was a press conference today to announce Trader Joe's is coming to Brooklyn - at Court St & Atlantic Ave. (between Bklyn Heights, Downtown Bklyn, Boerum Hill & Cobble Hill and across the street from Sahadi's).

It's expected to open in 2008 according to the Brooklyn Eagle's online report -

With Fairway over in Red Hook, Whole Foods on the way at 3rd Ave, and CSAs popping up all over, Brooklyn is changing - I leave it to you to decide if it's for the better or worse - but certainly there are more options than ever.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think that's a little too close for comfort for Sahadi's. I really like the people of Sahadi's too. It's definitely going to have an ill effect on their business. Plus there's a Key Food right up the block too. Talk about competition.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      How is having more bargain-shopping foodies into the neighborhood bad for Sahadi's?

      1. re: EJC

        EJC, let me ask you this. Since we're referring to bargain-shoppers, which of the two businesses will have or offer the *better* bargains?

        1. re: Cheese Boy

          I don't think you can compare the two... is the product overlap really that great? When I think of Trader Joes, I picture frozen foods, cheap booze, and cases of Clif Bars.

          You can't do 100% of your shopping at Trader Joe's (or Sahadi's, or the Key Food), so people will continue to shop at the several stores on Atlantic like they always have.

          1. re: EJC

            I agree. I think that those of us with more discerning taste will continue to go on our regular jaunts for quality foods and not be influenced by someone like TJ's (who is lesser quality, and cheaper). I *will* happily shop at both, Sahadi's and TJ's. For me, it will create a one-stop-shopping experience because now I can do ALL my shopping in Brooklyn and not have to make a special visit to 14th street, Manhattan.

            For those of you who haven't been to a Trader Joe's, a lot of what they stock can be considered shelf after shelf of "impulse buying" items. I think most Brooklynites will continue to buy their essentials elsewhere.
            There are bargains to be had, so be aware ... ; )

      2. re: Cheese Boy

        That Key Foods is HORRIBLE!
        I'll dance a jig if TJs puts them right out.
        As far as Sahadi's it'll only help them...

        1. re: Larry Brooks

          I agree. I'll dance with you. If we can get a group, maybe we can do this: Link:

          A correction though: that Key Food is FILTHY and horrible.

        2. re: Cheese Boy

          I dont care about key food bec the store sucks and deserves to go out of business. Sahadi will be fine, they are a beloved brooklyn institution and this will bring more shopers to the area and may actually improve business for them. look at union square.

        3. I don't really understand the enthusiasm in NYC for TJ's. Maybe its because I lived in San Francisco for years where we had plenty of TJs. I cant think of anything I'd want there that I cant already get in the neighborhood. About the only thing we used our local one for in SF was buying wine and champagne in bulk at good prices for parties. It's a lot of freezer products. And I don't recall it having an in house butcher, just a meat case of packaged stuff.

          What's all the fuss about? :)

          Plenty of inexpensive staple stuff to be found at the likes of Sahadi's.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Nehna

            Totally agree. When the first NYC TJs opened on 14th St, I immediately went to check it out because I'd heard it was pretty much the second coming of christ. I walked along every aisle and saw only frozen foods, boxed foods, saran wrapped foods, plastic container foods and some lousy produce. Walked out without a thing, and haven't been back.

            If we end up losing local favorites Sahadi's, Cobblestone Foods, Andy's produce, Fishtales, or Staubitz to TJs, it'll be really tragic.

            1. re: oolah


              I visited TJ on 14th Street once, and that was enough for me. Bought nothing, and never had the desire to go back.

              It seems to me that TJ is just another mega corp with ordinary product and super advertising and lots of hype and hokem.

              Here in Brooklyn, we don't have to have their pre-packaged, frozen, saran-wrapped foods, we have access to real food, at the merchants oolah mentioned, plus FAIRWAY, GREEN MARKETS, and other local favorites.

              TJ's will not be able to sell wine and liquor, which is their mainstay in other places. NY Law does not allow stores that sell food to sell booze.

              SAHADI'S retail is just the part of the iceberg visible to the public. Their mainstay is their wholesale business, selling to vendors and restaurants all over the country.

              More traffic is certainly good for any business area, but I hate to see an over-hyped, plastic wrapped company like TJ use its multi million dollar advertising and promotion machine to try and sell people their hokey brand when the same thing is available from real family owned businesses like SAHADI'S and FAIRWAY.

              1. re: Fleur

                Really? I didn't know does it work that corner shops can sell beer alongside food? How does that rule work? Curious.

                I had always heard that TJ's in union square planned to carry wine. Not sure if that ever happened, I've never been or had any desire to go.

                1. re: Nehna

                  NY has a firm division between liquor stores that are allowed to sell wine and liquor, and stores that sell food which are only allowed to sell beer.

                  Contrast this with restaurants that can get a beer and wine only license, or a "full" license which also allows them to sell liquor.

                  I do not know whether the TJ's in Union Square ever had wine, but if it did it would have to be in a segregated area with a seperate entrance.

                  1. re: deepyarn

                    Yep, it's a separate store a couple of doors down.

                    1. re: hatless

                      The 14th St has a separate liquor store, but there won't be one here, or anywhere else in the state. I'm not sure of the exact specifics, but NY has some kind of law that generally prevents chain liquor stores from operating more than one location of their store within the state.

                      1. re: oolah

                        True. Only one liquor license per operator, and TJs has already used its up on Union Square. So no wine for Brooklyn. Of course there have been several TJs operating successfully in the NYC suburbs for a number of years now without selling wine, so I don't think that alone is seen by the company as a hinderance.

                        But I must say that, even back when I lived in San Francisco, TJs with all of its pre-packaged convenience foods always seemed like much more of a suburban thing to me. I usually only went there for the cheap wine and spirits. Otherwise it felt like something pitched to the stuff a few weeks worth of groceries in the back of the station wagon or SUV type crowd. It will be interesting to see how well they do in an NYC urban neighborhood (rather than a destination area like Union Square, or a place with parking like they will have in Queens), which already has a full array of stores. And for those of us with cars has Fairway, with its far superior produce, fish, etc. selection - and a parking lot - a very short drive away.

                        1. re: Woodside Al

                          I guess I won't be going then either, the only thing TJ's is good for is cheap booze.

                          1. re: Woodside Al

                            Been going to the Trader Joe's in Woodhaven since it opened, and I can offer the following comparisons to local choices. For produce, it is extremely hit or miss, but sometimes they have very nice cauliflower, or mushrooms, and some bargains on fruit. Their shallots tend to be nice, but it in no way compares to Natural on Austin Street which is where I do most of my produce shopping, and I was doing quite a bit at Stop and Shop in Glendale but their produce section has gotten very poor in the last several months, always out of stock, and things look bad.

                            Trader Joes is great for cereal and breakfast bars-good prices. They also have the Fage yogurt and tzaziki which is good. They are good for kid stuff also. They are great for the frozen haricot vert. For chicken breast, they are expensive, and the quality and price is much better at Metro Meats on Metrop--they are really good there and Bell and Evans.

                            For fresh fish, I stick with the market on Lefferts in Kew Gardens, for frozen shrimp TJ is ok but Coscto is a MUCH better value, and shrimp are from Thailand, not Vietnam or INdia like TJ's. Nuts are good value at TJ's but their pistachio's are lousy, they are much better at Carmel on 108th st in Rego Park. Dried fruits, specifically prunes are good at TJ's, but apricots are tasteless there, and much better at Carmel. Vanilla Soy Milk is great price at TJ's and my son lives on it, almost 1/2 the price from Stop and Shop. Yogurt is good price at TJ's. Some tapenades and dressings are excellent too,, and I get these all the time. One really good item they have which is on a par with Whole Foods, is their canned tuna and salmon. Excellent quality.

                            So, for certain things TJ's is a good value, but no, it is certainly not one stop shopping by any means, and alot of the food gets boring fast.

                            What we really need in Queens is a Citarella type place--but better..with some beautifully prepared foods and market foods to buy.--This is what I'd like to see....

                    2. re: Nehna

                      Supermarkets and other food stores are permitted to sell beer. No wine or liquor.

              2. Hasn't Sahadi's been there forever (ie, when Bklyn Hts and a bit of Cobble Hill were just about the only gentrified parts of Brooklyn?). I welcome having more options; I think there is plenty of room for more options in the neighborhood. What would the naysayers prefer? - a Gap or a Duane Reade???

                4 Replies
                1. re: Bookistan

                  exactly. tj's is a welcome addition to the area.

                  1. re: oolah

                    But look at the building in question... a mom and pop shop could never afford the rent, nor fill the massive space. Before Trader Joe's moved in, the rumors were of an Urban Outfitters. Given the necessary evil of a chain store in this space, I think we came out on top with TJ's.

                  2. re: Bookistan

                    Well, that's not entirely accurate. The Heights have always been nice (maybe not that stretch of Atlantic), and Sahadi's was originally in Manhattan. They moved over when the Levantine community in Lower Manhattan was destroyed by the building of the Battery Tunnel.

                    1. re: Bookistan

                      Actually, the owner was negotiating with Loehman's before TJ

                    2. The original comment has been removed
                      1. If it means that Sahadi's and Thriftway (American) will clean the dust off the bottles on their shelves its fine with me. Sahadi's has some major holes - like the food at their deli counter its not so hot and the layer of silt on thier provisions by the checkout. And I am sick of buying beer with dust on it at American - it always makes me wonder about the qaulity. Oriental has no reason to fear that place is a gem.

                        I think this is good for Brooklyn- it will give court street and atlantic avenue the kick in the ass it needs.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Ljubitca

                          We are not crazy about Sahadi's. We actually prefer the trip to Manhattan, to Kalustyan's on 28th street & Lex, even though it is a real shlep compared to just going to Atlantic.

                          1. re: FoodWine

                            Love KALYUSTAN , but the selection is not as vast, ans the prices are much, much, higher.

                            But their Honey Pecans are expensive, but outrageous, and not found elsewhere. The quality of their crystalized ginger is the best as well... but it is $11.95 /lb.