Gourmet Grocers Grow In Brooklyn


Borough Park kosher foodies no longer have to leave the neighborhood to get their smoked-lamb-with-lemon-confit fix.

An upscale kosher supermarket has opened that aims to be a destination point for gourmet shoppers as well as those just looking to meet for a cup of coffee.

“In today’s hectic world and [with] everyone so busy, I wanted to be an outlet for everyone to come out and enjoy,” said Sam Gluck, who opened Breadberry in late May.

Gluck went into the food industry three years ago after a career in sales. At that time he took over Food Depot on 13th Avenue. He decided to expand to the gourmet market because he saw a need.

“I live in this neighborhood and I saw what people are yearning for,” he said. And that included himself. “I’m actually a big foodie,” he said.

Breadberry is the latest in a growing industry of upscale kosher supermarkets that are cropping up not just in New York and Florida, but also in such far-flung Jewish communities as San Paulo, Brazil; Paris, and, of course, Israel. Locally there’s Pomegranate in Midwood, Brooklyn; Cedar Market in Teaneck, N.J., Gourmet Glatt in Cedarhurst, L.I., in the Five Towns and Borough Park, and Seasons in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens.

“I think food marketers across the country are recognizing the maturity of the kosher consumer and the sophistication,” said Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the kosher division of the Orthodox Union. Just take the kosher, free-range chicken farmer he met recently, who sells his product for $7.50 a pound.

“He’s getting a lot of requests because the kosher consumer is sensitive to what they’re eating and is even prepared to pay the money for it,” he said.

“This trend has really taken off,” agreed Menachem Lubinsky, president of Lubicom, a marketing consulting firm specializing in the kosher food industry.

Lubinsky noted that the gourmet supermarket trend is also affecting oldtimers.

“Even the existing stores that were out there before, they all have taken steps to project themselves as more upscale to offer a much better shopping experience,” he said.

“Some of them have fresh bakeries, some of them have extraordinary ready-to-cook sections. I know one [Evergreen in upstate Monsey] that has over 100 types of kosher meats,” he said.

In Borough Park, for example, “at least a half-dozen stores have upgraded just in the last year,” he said. But most of them are at the other end of the neighborhood, around 13th Avenue and 39th Street. Breadberry, located on 60th Street just off 17th Avenue, has cornered the foodie market on the southern side, he said.

The OU’s Rabbi Elefant, who lives “literally around the corner” from the store, is an unabashed fan.

“It’s head and shoulders over anything that exists in our community,” he said. “What really impresses me in the store is that somebody that wants to keep kosher can really have a variety of high-class kosher food.

With its wood accents and produce-filled baskets, Breadberry has the feel of a Whole Foods or Pomegranate — but smaller. At 10,000-square-feet it’s about half Pomegranate’s size.

The store has a kosher bakery where everything is made onsite from scratch, Gluck said, with bakers arriving at 4 a.m. each day.

There’s a sushi bar; an extensive flower area; a “curated collection” of artisan cheese. The sandwich counter has such offerings as a $15 “P.R.B,” with prime rib, smoked lamb (aka kosher bacon), chimichurri sauce, pickled onion and lemon confit, and a pulled brisket Panini with chipotle aioli and pickles.

The store also offers a hot food bar, a prepared-food aisle and a pickle and olive bar along with Ashkenazi standards such as cholent, pickled tongue, smoked herring and p’tcha (calves’ foot jelly).

And don’t forget the coffee. According to Gluck and Rabbi Elefant, Breadberry has the only coffee bar in the neighborhood.

“We sent our people down to Italy to research coffee,” he said. “Every person you see behind the counter has numerous years of experience in the non-kosher industry.”

He also has a culinary school graduate manning the “hostess counter” at all times to advise customers on everything from what to serve dinner guests to how to plate the food.

“We spent a lot of time and research to see what people really need,” Gluck said. “People get married very young in our community and they need help in cooking. They need help in setting up and we felt like that we could help with that.” n

Breadberry is located at 1689 60th St. in Brooklyn. (718) 259-6666. Breadberry.com.