A new grocery store is usually not big news, but in Clinton Hill, where residents have long complained of limited access to fresh produce, the opening of Fresh Fanatic earns headlines.
The brainchild of brothers David and Andrew Goldin and their friend Joshua Niamehr, the store at the corner of Park and Waverly avenues hopes to do for Clinton Hill what Fairway did for Red Hook and Trader Joe’s did for Cobble Hill — become a destination for organic-minded foodies.
“In a 10- to 15-block radius, there’s nothing else here,” David Goldin said.
Of course, that’s not completely true, what with an Associated Supermarket just three blocks away at Myrtle Avenue and Ryerson Street, and a Bravo Supermarket one avenue away at Myrtle and Washington Avenue.
But Associated doesn’t have a chef who used to work at Balducci’s. And Bravo doesn’t have a vast organic and specialty selection, wood-paneled walls, flat-screen TVs, samples galore, and top-notch customer service.
That said, it does have loyal fans.
“The new place is too expensive for us,” said Tim Gorman, an Associated customer and local firefighter. “We’re frugal.”
Bravo customer Clarissa Maldonado also was uninterested in the fancy newcomer.
“I’m gonna continue coming here,” she said.
Prices are higher at Fresh Fanatic: organic Black Forest ham is $8.45 per pound there, but $8 at Associated. Cole slaw is $2.45 per pound, up from $2 at Associated.
Niamehr, who said he’s hoping to draw the “soccer moms in their 20s and 30s,” who are looking for good prices on organic foods.
But on organic hams, Fresh Fanatic’s prices are better: Organic lettuce is $3.86, a savings from the $5 at Associated and the $4 at Bravo. A carton of organic raspberries is $3.32. At Associated they’re $4. Homemade hummus is just $3.21 per pound, while Associated’s generic version is $5.38 per pound.
“We’re going to prove that organic doesn’t mean expensive,” Niamehr said.
Fresh Fanatic is the latest combatant in what has been a long “supermarket war” in Clinton Hill. Last year, the dire need for more fresh foods led the city to move ahead with a plan to tear down a row of historic buildings at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to pave the way for a large, Fairway-style grocery there.
Until that store opens about 10 blocks away, an uneasy peace seems to be settling in.
“I’ll keep coming to Fresh Fanatic for the fish, but I’ll do most of my shopping at Associated,” said customer June Magee.