Out of the fire and into the bok choy? Heights Gristedes to go upscale

Out of the fire and into the bok choy? Heights Gristedes to go upscale
The Brooklyn Paper / Evan Gardner

Brooklyn Heights residents will not only get their Gristedes back, but the Henry Street supermarket, gutted by an April 1 fire, will re-open in mid-October with a new upscale look.

“We’re going to allocate more space to healthier products,” said Gristedes owner John Castimatidis. “We believe that New Yorkers are concerned about their health, and they want products that are good for their children.”

Construction crews have worked around the clock since an electrical fire destroyed the grocery. Despite $5 million in damages, the store’s pharmacy reopened three days after the fire, and sold a limited selection of packaged food and staples.

The renovated store will carry more organic and healthier foods, and have a larger produce section — but prices will stay low, Castimatidis, a mayoral hopeful, told The Brooklyn Paper.

Five years ago, organic and natural products accounted for two percent of Gristedes’ store sales, and now it’s approaching 10 percent, and as the company remodels its stores, it expands those sections, he added.

Coffee manufacturer Chock full o’Nuts will also host a coffee bar and seating area in the new store.

Since Gristedes closed, north Heights shoppers have bought their groceries at nearby Peas and Pickles, which is at 79 Henry St., or the Key Food on Montague Street between Henry and Hicks streets. And the closing of the Associated Market at Tillary and Jay streets — the only supermarket for the residents of Concord Village — has put a further strain on the food supply.

Residents said a fancier Gristedes will lure shoppers back.

“I think it’s great that they’re doing renovations,” said Henry Street resident Dan Casto. “[The former Gristedes] was the worst supermarket it the world.”

— with Evan Gardner