Food Is The New Fashion; these Gourmet Grocers Were the First

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All images by Pablo Marvel

When the Gourmet Garage first opened on Wooster Street in 1991, Soho was the hippest neighborhood in the city – there was no Balthazar, no Mercer Hotel, no Citerella, no Trader Joes, and NO WHOLE FOODS (HALLE-F#@KING-LUJAH!). For context, Dean & Deluca was perhaps the only real competitor – albeit sans tres cool. And there was no real “foodie” culture. Food wasn’t the new fashion (our restaurant friends say it was the low of the low in those days). These Gourmet Garage guys, first store on Mercer and Broome, had saw dust floors, raw old-school Loft exposed beams, fashioned in an ancient giant downtown NYC Garage space, hence the name. These guys, Andy Arons and Adam Hartman, were amongst the early foodie hipster pioneers. Arguably the first.

Here’s why you should be excited about their latest venture – new store opening this week – into the gentrified land of the legendary Tribeca:

–       Food and Gourmet Grocers are the new fashion (as we all well know) and these guys have been there since the glory days of Manhattan.

–       Andy & Adam could be credited for actually starting it all; and they know their stuff well.

–       GG has 5 locations (name them) this is their 6th store since 1991. They are consummate pros!

–       Tribeca took nearly a year to open and it’s state of the art in every manner.

–       Food is fresh and a combo of local and organic and natural. Great produce!

–       They do breakfast, lunch, and dinner to go and it’s some of the best fastest and healthiest in the city. I know I’ve lived out of the Broome st local for years….

–       Now, you can’t swing an artisanal pickle without hitting a boîte touting a “culinary philosophy” and “locally sourced” ingredients. Curiously enough, the city is still lacking in genuinely great upscale food markets.

BlackBook asked the original New York Gourmet Grocers, Andy & Adam, what to expect form their new Tribeca store opening this week.

 

WHY TRIBECA?

“Many of our customers have been Tribeca residents since we opened in ’91, and we’ve been looking for the right location there for a long time to make it more convenient for them.”

THE BUILDING

“A gorgeous, a 1910 Carnegie era loft building, the kind that you will only see in Manhattan built in that time period. As we renovated we found incredible details buried within, gilded framework, Carrera marble stairs and detailing, maple framework on massive windows. Even the sub-basement has decorative porcelain mosaic tiles on the floor. It is really a beautiful structure. After moving in our fresh products and shelving the result was spectacular.”

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THE MISSION

“Our name treats the concept of ‘gourmet’ with a bit of a wink. We have moved ahead of the crowd into the space occupied by the combination of specialty food, and natural food.”

THE HIGHLIGHTS

“We have tripled the size of our fresh to go sushi selection; there is a pastry case that holds fresh baked French style tarts and meringues; we also have a “Garage to Go” rotating fresh area that will house whatever concept we feel like playing with for a few months. We are starting with a Falafel Bar, ones which you have never seen, Crunchy Red Quinoa, Sriracha Veggie, Lamb Kefta Pita…”

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SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT

“Gourmet Garage was voted one of the three best markets in the nation to launch a new food brand by an independent consulting group. We are always searching local markets and international supplies for whatever is new and fantastic.”

FOR LOVERS OF LEFTOVERS

“For our prepared foods we spend a lot of time finding the best ingredients, and then testing to find what works best when reheated after refrigerating. That’s a pretty unique approach, one which has taken years to hone and makes our marketplace better than most. Think of how sometimes leftovers end up tasting better than the original dish. We have worked with our chef and mastered that.”

SIT AND STAY AWHILE

“For the first time we have a variety of seating areas, including a mezzanine for dining and parties, a coffee bar overlooking Broadway, and our usual bench seating out front.”

 

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