Lettuce, anyone? Forget food desert, a new market turns Myrtle Avenue into an organic oasis!

Lettuce, anyone? Forget food desert, a new market turns Myrtle Avenue into an organic oasis!
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

Downtown’s burgeoning baguette set has a new, upscale grocery to pick up fresh baked breads, gourmet cheese, and sushi made on site — as the ground floor of the luxury Toren tower is helping transform Myrtle Avenue from food desert to organic oasis.

Metropolitan City Market opened last weekend in the 240-unit tower at Flatbush Avenue Extension— and neighbors said it brings a wealth of food to a area where it was once difficult to find a loaf of bread.

“It’s gorgeous!” said Carly Gieseler, who lives in the Avalon apartments across the street. “It’s really a great thing to have in the neighborhood — and it’s convenient for all the residents of the high-rises around here.”

Metropolitan City Market manager Jack Gio says olives will go great with a glass of wine.
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

And that includes residents who have suffered through years of having few choices of places to shop for food says store owner Mark Goris.

“We thought the neighborhood was underserved,” said the Williamsburg-born owner of the shop. “The area is going through a huge gentrification and the people coming here needed more options. But we want to serve everyone in the neighborhood.”

So the shop offers a mix that includes of high-end mustard and $7 wedges of Manchego cheese alongside cans of beans and boxes of Cheerios.

No dinner party is complete without some ciabatta.
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

The market is the second grocery to come to Myrtle Avenue in the last year, joining the Red Apple market that opened near Ashland Avenue last Halloween. Brooklyn Fare, another high-end grocer, sits a few blocks away

Before that, the area was considered by many to be a “food desert” that needed a supermarket so badly, the city okayed a controversial plan to knock down the historic Admirals Row houses in the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard and replace them with a surburban-style supermarket. That market has still not opened.

But during the past 10 years, Downtown’s population has swelled from a few hundred to more than 10,000, Census figures show, and food markets have started to move in without government action.

The store boasts an extensive cheese section, featuring cheese like double-cream brie and herbed goat cheese.
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

Along with Red Apple, the Brooklyn Fare Market opened on Schermerhorn and Hoyt street in 2009.

But experts say that with a population increase, new markets were inevitable — because they could finally make money.

“Groceries aren’t a super high-margin business and they need a lot of people to make them work,” said legendary real-estate broker Chris Havens. “Slowly but surely things are changing.”

The store also stocks an impressive array of fresh vegetables, many of them “organic.”
Community Newspaper Group / Eli Rosenberg

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.