Time for seconds!
An iconic Brooklyn Heights’ specialty foods store known for its Mediterranean deli and high-quality groceries opened a sprawling new location in Industry City, where owners have given the classic store a 21st-century flair.
“This one’s definitely more modern [than the Atlantic Avenue store],” said Mira Early, 25, who attended the store’s grand opening on Aug. 29. “I’m not sure they have more stuff, but it’s possibly better displayed, because they have more space.”
Not only is the new 35th Street location between Second and Third avenues larger, it also comes equipped with an open kitchen, bar, cafe, and an events space. According to the store’s co-owner, the most popular department on opening day was the “saj station,” where a baker made traditional levantine bread in front of salivating customers.
“It’s really cool to see old technology in a modern environment,” said Bay Ridgite Christine Sahadi Whelan, explaining that the expert baker manipulates the dough atop an old-school griddle, stretching it into a tortilla-like shape.
The store also prepares lesser-known gourmet dishes — such as chicken merguez with green tahini and couscous timbale with duck confit — and serves weekend brunch. Still, the upscale grocery stays true to its roots, selling dried fruits, nuts, and chocolates out of glass bins just like the Atlantic Avenue location has since its inception.
Whelan’s grandfather, Wade Sahadi, founded the Atlantic Avenue store in 1948, which he modeled after the Manhattan market his great uncle, a Lebanese immigrant, launched in 1895. Whelan’s father, Charlie, and uncle, Bob, took the helm after Wade, overseeing the original shop’s expansion in 1985, and again in 2011.
Whelan and her brother, Ron, took over in 2016, and immediately set their sights on opening a new location. The Industry City space stood out because of its close proximity to a Sahadi’s supply warehouse in Sunset Park, and because the owners hoped to break into a new market in other parts of the borough.
“We were looking to reach into a new neighborhood,” Christine said. “It’s a terrific community — really vibrant, artistic, supportive,” Whelan said about Sunset Park.