About this time last year we did a round-up of our favorite weird, awesome grocery stores in Brooklyn. This spring, it's come to our attention that three new artisan grocers are slated to open in the next six weeks, all invoking Brooklyn's good name to market their markets. Here's your guide to what's shaking at Brooklyn Standard, Brooklyn Fare and BKLYN Larder.
188 Nassau St. at Jewel
Opening April 1
Owner Cody Utzman opens eateries with the same frequency the rest of us buy new cell phones. We included his restaurant Papacitos in our guide to Greenpoint Mexican food when it opened, and he's also an owner of Brooklyn Label. Brooklyn Standard is his latest venture -- a bodega just below McGolrick Park selling all the items you go to the corner store to buy: gum, cold drinks, batteries, cigarettes and breakfast sandwiches. But here, your egg and cheese on a roll is made with organic eggs from upstate farmers, served on an organic roll, and your cup of coffee is from Stumptown.
The project actually started as a sit-down restaurant called simply, The Standard, but Utzman re-thought the appeal of $20 a plate entrees in light of the current economy, coming to the conclusion that what Greenpointers really want is a source for convenient, but responsible snacks. "You look on the shelves of most stores in this neighborhood, and everywhere, and it's just 40 different flavors of colored corn syrup," says Utzman.
In addition to sandwiches, salads and grill specials (with many veggie and vegan options) Utzman is planning on stocking as many products from local artisans as possible, and will provide kitchen time in their fully inspected restaurant kitchen for nascent operations. Sugarbuilt cookies will be available at the store, which you can wash down with milk from Hudson Valley Fresh. Look for Brooklyn-made granola and compound butters as well. So not only is Brooklyn Standard your best bet for a locavore lunch, it's also a place to peep the local food talent first.
200 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn Fare is enormous. No really, it's just huge. The space, which gives you an excuse to say "Schermerhorn" repeatedly feels something like the Soho Dean DeLuca, but cozier and less stuffy. The store will carry all your standard grocery items, but at heart it's chef-centric. Cesar Ramirez, Brooklyn Fare's chef in residence, has a serious restaurant resume -- he was last at Bar Blanc in Manhattan and has also worked at Tru in Chicago and Danube under his mentor, David Bouley. Ramirez will set up shop in a kitchen two doors down from the store, cooking prepared foods for lunchtime shoppers and we predict his dishes will soon be the quick weeknight dinner of choice from Fort Greene to Carroll Gardens. When asked why work in a store rather than seeking out a restaurant kitchen, Ramirez said, "This is a great change and a great challenge. I think this is what people want right now."
Alongside the, again, enormous, prepared foods department, homemade sauces, stocks and mayonnaise will fill grab-and-go cases. They'll have an in-house butcher and fresh sushi everyday. Their coffee bar carries Intelligentsia, a Chicago-based coffee roaster, if you're keeping track. The kitchen, which has an entire window of walls to the street, will offer up more than just entertainment for passersby; Ramirez will also host cooking classes in the space.
Bottom line, Brooklyn Fare is that place you duck into on your way home for two ingredients and leave carrying a latte, three new farmstead cheeses, a quart of soup, a loaf of bread and ten other things you didn't realize needed to be in your refrigerator.
228 Flatbush Avenue
Francine Stephens of Franny's and Sergio Hernandez, a long-time chef and Brooklyn food enthusiast, are opening this off-shoot of the famed Flatbush Avenue pizza place later this spring. They wouldn't give us any details (could it be because they have an exclusive? Our guess is Robin and Rob!), but that's ok. We couldn't even get them to fess up about what kind of coffee they'll carry (Care to guess in the comments? We think they're going to kick it old school with Dallis).
What we do know is that they'll carry staples like olive oils, meats and cheeses and some "Franny's style" prepared foods. Hernandez has worked at Cafe Gray, as well as Franny's, currently tends bar at Char No. 4, and has filled in for the lovely ricotta makers at Salvatore Brooklyn on occasion, so he's a man of many talents, and trade secrets.
No matter what, BKLYN Larder promises to be a foodie destination the moment it opens, filled with well curated treats and take-home Franny's fare.
Sent by Annaliese. Photos courtesy of Brooklyn Based.
Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.