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New Food Store in Downtown Brooklyn?

Brownstoner.com, a blog focused on Brooklyn real estate recently ran the following item:

"Which Foodie Is Coming to Court and State?

Who just signed the retail lease in the new building at the corner of State and Court in Brooklyn Heights? That was the question that had members of the audience scratching their heads at last week's quarterly Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable held at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The corner location, which includes about 2,500 square feet on the ground floor and another 2,500 in the basement, just rented at a record-high $125 a foot after "long and protracted" negotiations, according to Massey Knakal senior partner Tim King. As to who the tenant is, King would only drop the tantalizing clue that it's a company that's been in the food production biz for the last hundred years. The two that leapt to our mind—Zabar's and Di Palo—only go back to the 1930s, so scratch them. An announcement is expected in the next week or two, but we thought if we all put our heads together, maybe we could figure it out. Ideas?

Anyone have information or insight?

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  1. Others have pointed out that Gristedes has been around for over 100 years.....

    But food "production"? Hey there, Katz's! ;-0)

    6 Replies
    1. re: Xiao Yang

      2,500 sf seems way too small for a Gristedes or any other supermarket in that space. Doesn't that seem way too small? I mean, if I'm not mistaken, most Whole Foods stores are around 50,000 sf. Maybe some smaller ones are 30,000 sf.

      As a point of reference, does anyone know roughly how many square feet Sahadi's store is? (And on this Thanksgiving Eve, lets all give thanks that the Sahadis own the building that they are in on Atlantic. Hopefully, that will help them deal with all the real estate changes in Brooklyn.) Or does anyone know of any other examples of operating retail spaces that are about 2,500 sf?

      Now I'm dying to know what will be opening at 119 Court. It has to be something that can afford that kind of rent. 2,500 sf at $125/ft! You do the math. ;-) So I'm thinking <sigh> a chain. Why are they being so mysterious? Maybe the deal isn't completely done yet?

      I guess, after the New Balance store moved into the building next store for also hefty rent, anything could happen. What were the New Balance store people thinking when they opened there? I rarely see anyone in that store.

      I could see something like a retail store for 5 Boroughs Ice Cream working in that space. But they're way too new (short of 100 years by ninetysomething) and probably could not afford that rent.

      1. re: Kitchop

        Well, it's 5,000 sf if they use the basement space. To compound the mystery, the Brooklyn Paper says it's a "National chain." AG Ferrari comes to mind, they could fit in a space like that, but they've only been around for 80 years. OTOH, the Brooklyn Paper referred to the quote as "about" 100 years, and the realtor could be using a bit of hyperbole. (But realtors don't use hyperbole, do they?)

        http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/...

        1. re: Xiao Yang

          There is also a food store/restaurant opening at 111 Court Street.

          1. re: heightsfamily

            It is almost a confirmed rumor that Trader Joe's is opening in the old bank building in the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street. Truth be told, I dont care what else opens, TJ is all I need.

            On a sad note, on Atlantic near Clintono (acress from Sahadi's, an Urban Outfitterrs is opening. Grmph!)

            1. re: cookiecat123

              Its not an almost confirmed rumor. its been true for quite some time.

              1. re: Ljubitca

                Not so fast. Worked has stopped. From what I understand this may not happen due to a dispute with the buildings owner.

    2. Also of note - a supermarket is opening in the State Renaissance Court - at 200 Schermerhorn St (corner of Hoyt St). Brooklyn Papers quoted the building management as saying that it will be an "upscale grocery store", although anything will be welcome. The are has been underserved ever since the C-Town closed about a decade ago. (Not that that store was worthing going to - it was rather disgusting.)

      1. Still no news on what mysterious new tenant -- a 100-year old national chain in "food production" -- is coming soon to 117-119 Court Street (@ Court and State Streets)?
        I would have thought some Chowhounder would have somehow cracked this case by now. ;-) Why are they keeping this such a big mystery? Given that the three retail spaces in the building next door went to a bank, New Balance sneakers and Lens Crafters, I guess I shouldn't get too hopeful. But still....I am curious, if not hopeful.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Kitchop

          Boar's Head is supposedly opening a store in Brooklyn that will serve as a prototype for their new franchise. This could be the place.

          1. re: MikeinCH

            Boar's Head? Really? As in the deli meats that already seem widely available everywhere? Well, that's disappointing, if true. Where did you get this info? It does fit the description given since Boar's Head Provisions is a food production company that was started in Brooklyn close to 100 years ago. So, what are Boar's Head stores going to be? Delis, I presume? I'm so not excited.

            ETA that, oh no, this really might be it. Boar's Head was started in Brooklyn in 1905 -- which means, since it is now 2008, the company has literally passed its 100-year old birthday.

            1. re: MikeinCH

              This is what I read as well. They have a kiosk in the jetblue terminal at JFK with touch-screen ordering. I've never seen any stores otherwise.

              1. re: bhill

                Thank you for confirming that you read this too. I fly Jet Blue whenever I can and actually have two Jet Blue tix booked right now but I never noticed a Boars Head kiosk in the JFK terminal. That might be useful for grabbing a sandwich for a flight sometime. I'm still not excited about a Boars Head store on Court St or anywhere really. It just seems like so many delis, bagel shops, groceries, etc already sell Boars Head products. Oh, well. It's not as useless as another bank, chain drug store or real estate office.

                1. re: Kitchop

                  I think I might be the only person who believes that - should Boar's Head actually open a store here - this is a good idea.

                  Yes, many places sell Boar's Head, but not everyone does a good job with it. I pass by a kind of nasty deli that sells Boar's Head sandwiches for $3 to go to one that sells them for $5. Why, because the second deli takes care into what they put on the sandwich, don't overstuff them, and generally want you to have a good experience, not just fill your belly. It's kind of the principals that City Sub in Park Slope was founded on - they use run of the mill ingredients and turn out a fairly decent product.

                  Are there better cold cuts than Boar's Head? Sure, but they're (La Quercia, Virginia ham, jamon iberrico pata negra, Salumeria Biellese, etc.) very expensive and not something you'd want all the time.

                  Now, if only they'll make an old Isaly's recipe - Pittsburgh-style BBQ chipped-ham - I'll be a happy camper.

                  1. re: lambretta76

                    Ah yes! We called it chip-chopped ham in Cleveland. Not sure I'm brave enough to eat that stuff these days.

                    1. re: HankyT

                      It's better than I remembered, but then again I made it with better BBQ sauce, but OMG was it good.

                      1. re: lambretta76

                        There is no Boars Head Cafe coming to Court Street. Try not to take stories from Blogs as fact.

                        1. re: heightsfamily

                          And why is it still such a BIG secret? I walk by it often on my way to swimming at the Y at Court & Atlantic. At this point, I'm cynically assuming that it will eventually reveal itself to be yet another useless retailer of some sort. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it turns out to be anything remotely useful. I'm looking forward to Trader Joe's though.

                          BTW, I got a sandwich from the Boar's Head kiosk in the Jet Blue terminal at JFK in February because I was running late and needed something to eat. Without Chowhound, I would never have even known Boar's Head existed at JFK/JetBlue. It was edible but left me feeling like there is absolutely no reason for Boars Head to start a chain of their own stores. Glad to hear that Court & State site will not be a Boars Head Cafe.

            1. re: Ljubitca

              It hasn't been released publicly. It's always better to say that you don't know rather then to start rumors. I called Boar's Head Corporate and they said that there would "NOT" be a store on Court Street.

            2. Well, the sign is up in this space, and they're hiring. It's going to be ...

              Well, I forgot. Walked by on Saturday, got sidetracked, and totally blanked on the name. It's been around since 1949 I believe the advert said, and they were holding hiring sessions down at the Brooklyn Marriott. I had never heard of the company before, but it was definitely not Boar's Head. If anyone is in the nabe, the sign's up.

              7 Replies
              1. re: lambretta76

                I walked by on my way to swim at the Y yesteday and saw the sign too. And although I've lived in Brooklyn for 25 years, I too cannot remember the name of the company opening there because I am totally unfamiliar with it. The sign definitely said "Since 1949" (which is not 100 years but whatever). It said it would be a deli. The name was Italian and began with an "M". Mazzenetti or Manzanelli or something like that. Is this enough of a clue for anyone to fill us in?

                1. re: Kitchop

                  I drove by quickly in a cab last night on the way home from the airport. I think I saw "F. Martinelli" Does that sound right?

                  1. re: seb

                    I walked past the new yogurt place on Court across from the movie theatre and there was a reporter from the Brooklyn Paper camped out interviewing people about the many frozen yogurt places popping up around there. According to her, a frozen yogurt place (Red panda?) is moving into the space next to the New Balance Store. And she said another frozen yogurt place is moving in further down on Court st.

                    1. re: chocolatefancy

                      yes, I saw those signs too from the cab: Red Mango & Yogo Monster

                      1. re: chocolatefancy

                        Red Mango is the original Korean frozen yogurt chain that started the "frozen natural yogurt" craze. The owner of Pinkberry tried it when in Seoul and ripped off the concept and opened in CA before coming to NYC. Red Mango has just recently come over to the States and is expanding at a decent clip.

                      2. re: seb

                        LOL at how anyone who actually sees and reads the sign instantly forgets the name of the company. I'm not sure, but Martinelli sounds like it might be right. But......what is it? Has anyone heard of a Martinelli food company (operating since 1949)? Where has it operated since 1949? In NYC? Is it some kind of upscale Balducci's-like company? Or what?

                        1. re: Kitchop

                          Well - they should rework their branding if no one can remember the name! I'm more curious what they're going to do with that horrible staircase going down to the basement right in the middle of the store.

                          I'd say the owners of the Chinese restaurant should have stuck to making Chinese food instead of designing interiors, but their food wasn't very good, either!

                          Regardless, it'll be interesting to see what goes in here.