With numerous full-line grocery stores, specialty shops and farmers markets, Bed Stuy is far from the stereotypical inner city “food desert.” But as the Whole Foods bags in the arms of residents heading home from the subway attest, locals have long complained they had to go outside the neighborhood to buy such items as grass-fed meats, wild fish, artisanal cheeses and organic strawberries. Now a gourmet grocery is finally headed to Bed Stuy.
Tara Oxley, who opened popular farm-to-table restaurant Eugene & Co. in December, has signed a lease for an 1,100-square-foot space at 406 Tompkins, just down the block. (The storefront sold stationary and toys for decades, old photos reveal.)
She hopes to open in January, she told Brownstoner. Chicky’s General Store is modeled on Dépanneur in Williamsburg and Dean and Deluca but with lower prices. The plan is to have a little bit of everything, including local organic produce, grass fed meats, prepared foods, sandwiches, and even some housewares and gifts.
The storefront in 2012. Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark
“We’re opening up a little grocery store, sort of like Dean and Deluca but not as pricey. It will have meat, cheese, fish, produce and provisions,” she said.
The neighborhood-oriented store will offer house accounts so parents can send their kids over to pick up something to cook that night for dinner, she said. Both the grocery and the restaurant are named after Oxley’s grandfather. (Chicky was Eugene’s nickname.)
“If you wanted to go to someone’s house and bring cheeses and charcuterie, you don’t have ability to do that now,” she said. And despite the small footprint of the space, Oxley intends to offer one-stop shopping.
Bed Stuy Fresh and Local opened in 2013 with some of the items Oxley is proposing but the selection is limited. Saraghina Bakery opened in 2014 with fresh breads and a small selection of cheeses and prepared foods, but no produce.
Mekelburg’s opened in June with similar ambitions, but is located a neighborhood away, in Clinton Hill. Green Grape Provisions is also similar, but even farther away, in Fort Greene.
This is not the first time a Brooklyn restaurant has spun off a grocery store. In Williamsburg, after opening Diner and Marlow & Sons, restaurateur Andrew Tarlow opened a whole-animal butcher shop with a full line of grocery items in a similarly tiny space. Marlow & Daughters is thriving, and Tarlow has since opened several other venues, including the well-known Reynard in the Wythe Hotel.
Last week, Oxley posted a photo of the storefront on Instagram with the slightly mysterious comment “It’s official! We are now two! Watch our progress!”
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