The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Food, Glorious Food

Who knew there was so much pent up demand for high-end groceries? The Q has heard his share of grousing about the scant organic and free-range options in the neighborhood, but we had no idea how passionate were the yearnings.

According to the New York Times, the wrangling is over, and Brooklyn will soon have its own Whole Foods over at the former industrial site at 3rd and 3rd (between Park Slope and Carroll Gardens - otherwise known as Gowanus). Add this to the Trader Joe's in Cobble Hill and the Fairway in Red Hook - plus myriad small specialty grocers like Larder, Union Market, Provisions and countless others - Brooklyn has become chock full o' nuts and cheeses, fresh bread and choice ingredients for gourmet living.

When the Q reported recently that 65 Fen would soon open a specialty grocer, tentatively called PLG Outpost, the response was tremendous. 23 comments and counting...clearly, people have foodstuffs on the brain! I'm particularly gratified to see that Michael has been following the blog so he's seen your requests. I'm sure he'll be taking more requests at the store itself. So I guess we could look at it as a cooperative venture, though I do suspect there will be some profit in it for the storekeep! (For those of you wonky enough to wonder, typical markups at specialty stores can range from 50% to 100% on most items, save the "loss-leaders" priced to keep you coming back for more. The Park Slope Food Coop is able, with the sweat equity of its members, to cap mark-ups at 20%. If you've seen other, lower figures listed for commercial grocers, that's because they typically define markup as AFTER store expenses like labor. So if you see, say, 5% or 10% listed for a store, that means "net profit," not just price above wholesale. I learned this all from a PSFC general meeting, so take the info with a grain of free range black sea salt.)

The Q has noticed too that The Associated on Flatbush has significantly increased its upscale and healthy options. This is due, in part, to customers asking for specific items. The lesson here, from both stores, is: if you don't see something, say something. Most business people are only too happy to accommodate you, especially if an item becomes popular. I noticed just the other day that The Associated has a few healthy chicken options - I don't recognize the brand, so I don't know if they're any good. Perhaps y'all know something about them...anyone want to cluck up?

Finally, folks around here have been chain-e-mailing a petition of sorts to contact Fairway about opening a location here (on Empire perhaps?). The text of the note making the rounds, and the link to make a request, are quoted below:

Hi Everyone:
Apologies for the mass email, but I'd like to ask for your help. A man approached me while I was checking out at Fairway, and he was from the corporate offices. He asked me what I thought about Fairway and what they could improve on, and I basically told him they could improve by opening a place in our nabe. We spoke for almost 20 minutes and he took notes about a few locations I suggested. He seemed pretty interested and said Fairway wanted to expand a lot more in the next few years. So, I wanted to ask each of you (even if your partner or roommate has already filled one out) to fill out the form on the link below. It only takes a few minutes, and if you could write a few lines
about opening a store in our neighborhood, I suggested Empire because of the amount/size of lots available, they will need to offer parking at this new location, I also wrote about how close we are to so many other neighborhoods that would benefit from having a Fairway nearby. With Whole Foods slated to open in Gowanus on 3rd Ave and 3rd St, the Fairway in Red Hook is going to lose a lot of its business, so if they positioned themselves to capture the business on this side of Brooklyn, they could be in a great spot and pull a lot of people into their store. And can you send this to any and every person you can think of who would fill it out?? I know it's a long shot, but if we got Fairway, that would kinda be huge.

 Crazier things have happened. 


Anonymous said...

If you don't have a car, a great market at Gowanus is useless. A FAIRWAY on Empire? OMG. The sooner the better. A long walk, but doable.

jessica said...

Not that I wouldn't love to not have to schlep out to Red Hook for Fairway, but be careful what you wish for. The increase in vehicular traffic would be significant, I'm sure.