THE BITE: Ah, the bourek, an unsung culinary character of Sheepshead Bay that’s probably as prevalent in this neighborhood as beef patties are to Flatbush, or roasted pork buns are to Sunset Park.
We owe thanks largely to the area’s dense population of Turkish Americans living in the area, but also to those whose cultures historically took well to this Turkish pastry, including Eastern Europeans and nations of the Caucasus regions – as well as to Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry.
For the uninitiated, a bourek – or, more traditional, a börek – is a baked or fried filled pastry made of phyllo dough. It comes in several shapes, sizes and stuffings, and is often finished off in the oven with a nice wash and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Before there was Balducci’s, before there was the Chelsea Market, and even before there was Whole Foods – there was The Orchard and its owner Daniel Spitz, pioneer of the gourmet fruit and vegetable movement in New York City.
Established in 1957, The Orchard and its owners were the first to fly pineapples from Hawaii to New York City. They were even the ones to provide pineapples for the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter.
Daniel Spitz, the owner of The Orchard at 1367 Coney Island Avenue in Midwood, got some recognition on Thursday for his years of work and entrepreneurial spirit. He opened the store with only $500 in his hand, which he had earned previously from working on the streets as a local delivery man. Now at 84 years old and after 55 years in the fruit business, he was honored for his achievement and his rise from rags to riches.
BrightFarms is a 100,000 square foot Brooklyn rooftop farm operation located in Sunset park, and happens to be the largest rooftop farm in the world. The BrightFarms’ Brooklyn greenhouse grows up to one million pounds of local produce per year.
The partnership between A&P and BrightFarms helps develop a new produce supply chain—one that is thousands of miles shorter. Customers will soon have the opportunity to purchase locally-grown lettuce, tomato and herb varieties at their neighborhood A&P, The Food Emporium, Pathmark or Waldbaum’s.
Although it is not yet confirmed which stores specifically will be the recipients of BrightFarms’ local produce, A&P assures shoppers that it will be distributed widely throughout their metro-area family of stores.
“Partnering with BrightFarms is a phenomenal opportunity to provide our customers with the freshest, local, and most sustainable produce in the supermarket aisle,” said Sam Martin, the president and CEO of A&P, in a media release.
We predict that pretty soon you’ll be hearing buzz words like locavore in the produce aisle of your local Walbaum’s.
Here’s some hard-hitting news for you: Waldbaum’s at 3100 Ocean Avenue now requires a 25-cent deposit to use their shopping cart, reports reader nolastname.
Nolastname asked management about the development, and they said that too many shopping carts have been stolen recently. But nolastname has her own thoughts on the topic:
“$.25 is not going to stop someone from stealing a wagon that is worth a couple hundred,” she wrote to us. “I figure one or more high end cars got scratched/dented and are suing Wally World for not keeping the wagons contained.”
More than one year after Pathmark made its last sale from its 3795 Nostrand Avenue location, the building remains vacant, political leadership to bring a new supermarket to the site appears to have dried up, and residents are fuming about the lack of nearby options to shop for their families.
Signs went up in just the last few days showing that it will be a New York Mart, a business with another location just six blocks away at 2309 Avenue U (as well as several other locations in New York City).
That proximity, as well as the abundance of other Asian supermarkets, has got our tipster Richie a little confounded:
It’s interesting how Avenue U has turned into a breeding ground for banks, pharmacies, nail shops and now supermarkets.
There’s already two other “supermarkets” within immediate walking distance of this new one. One on east 15 and and the other one on east 13 (I think, next to the Mexican restaurant La Villita)
This new supermarket might be part of the same franchise as the supermarket located on East 24 street.
Is Avenue U beginning to mimic Sheepshead Bay Road in its lack of business diversity? What would you rather see in that location?
The International Food market at 2899 Ocean Avenue has reopened under new management.
The market has been closed for months as the new owners sought to renovate the space. I can’t say I was very familiar with the place before, but I can say that it’s very well-lit compared to how it used to be. Also, the girl behind the counter is very skeptical of men with cameras…
A new market serving halal products has opened at 2705 Avenue Z, off East 27th Street… you know, just a block away from the 2812 Voorhies Avenue mosque, an area that opponents claimed has no Muslim residents.
Well, regardless, the Sheepshead Bay Halal Market has been open for a few weeks and looks well stocked. It replaces B&R Electronics & AC Service, the television and appliance repair shop that has been in this location for as long as I can remember. But, fret not, B&R is still alive and kicking – they’ve just moved around the corner to 2577 East 27th Street.
Good luck to the halal market and B&R in their new locations!
The not-so-long-rumored 7-Eleven on Sheepshead Bay Road is now open, serving up sugary frozen drinks and greasy taquitos to the commuter crowd.
Sheepshead Bites was the first to report the closing of McDonalds at 1509 Sheepshead Bay Road in September. The closing gave way to rumors that it would be a 7-Eleven, which turned out to be true. We checked in with local bodegas in October to see how they thought the new competition would hurt their bottom line. As it turned out, they think it will.
“It’s bad for local businesses that are already established,” said Ray Muhammad, a cashier at Bay Smoke Shop. “Another place that sells food, cigarettes and liquor.”
The 88,000-square-foot lot that houses Super Stop & Shop (1710 Avenue Y) has sold for $28.5 million, netting the largest price tag for real estate in the history of Sheepshead Bay.
The property was sold by Connecticut-based real estate firm Feldco Development to a Florida-based LLC named Sands Brook, according to a report in The Real Deal.
The property includes the 54,000-square-foot, one story building with an outdoor parking lot.
Those worrying this might mean the end of another local supermarket following the demise of Pathmark on Nostrand Avenue need not worry, as Stop & Shop renewed their lease in 2005, securing its presence until 2030. The supermarket also holds ten 5-year renewal options, extending its presence through 2080. Stop & Shop opened in 1992.
On a side note, the future Marshalls location across the street was touted as part of the marketing materials for the property, showing the growth of commercial developments in the area. Station Plaza – which appears to have halted development before it even began – was not mentioned.
Clarification: When the supermarket opened in 1992, it was not yet named Stop & Shop. I believe it opened as Finest, which then became Edwards, and finally Stop & Shop. However, for all intents and purposes of identifying the tenant, all three are the same and the name changes were merely casualties of chains swallowing up chains – not different entities.