Grocery store to replace shuttered Met Foods in Brighton Beach

Grocery store to replace shuttered Met Foods in Brighton Beach
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Supermarket Big Bazaar will soon open at the corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Ocean Parkway, giving Brighton Beachers who don’t like or can’t afford the area’s pricey Russian specialty stores their first low-cost alternative since the Met Foods there closed five years ago, according to a local business booster.

“The Russian crowd feels very comfortable going to Russian stores, but non-Russians in the area sometimes they do not. They don’t consider it to be a supermarket when it comes to cat food and some paper good and canned food,” said Yelena Makhnin, who heads the neighborhood’s business improvement district. “In American supermarket, the variety of such products is much bigger. I’m very happy, and I want to see it open, and I want to see happy customers, and I don’t want to get more phone calls and e-mails that we badly need a supermarket.”

Nearby high-end Russian stores — such as Taste of Russia, Gourmanoff, and Brighton Bazaar (not to be confused with the forthcoming Big Bazaar) — are pricey and don’t have staples regular folks need, according to another local.

“You can buy all the caviar you want, but you can’t find a supermarket that supplies products for everyone,” septuagenarian Arlene Brenner told us in 2015. “I need Clorox and cat food, not caviar and smoked meats — and not at triple the price.”

The owners of Big Bazaar, who operate 18 other grocery stores around the city, plan to open up by the end of the month — after construction and subsequent inspections wrap up — and will offer plenty of kosher options for the area’s many observant Jews, according to proprietor Ajay Sarin.

Building owners held out on leasing the space for years after the Met Food closed, hoping to land another moderately priced grocer — rather than selling to developers — in order to better serve the neighborhood, according to Suzette Bonsignore, whose family has owned the building since the 1970s.

“It was a long time, a long haul to get it up and running we’re very, very happy. And we’re happy for the community, which is very important to us,” said Bonsignore. “It’s going to be a fantastic source for the neighborhood, great location.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.