Sensing a void in the DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan/Brooklyn Overpass) area, three co-owners--married couple Anna Castellani and Richard Lamb, and their partner Clifford Shikler, established the original Foragers City Market in 2005, at 56 Adams Street, between Water and Front Streets. Having acquired a loyal customer base as well as a network of providers, Foragers is ready to "hit the big time" with a Chelsea super-center location, which is scheduled to open today.
Florence Fabricant recently profiled Foragers for The New York Times. Foragers is a grocery store unlike any other in New York City. It is a decidedly "do it yourself" market, in every sense of the term. Partners Castellani, Lamb, and Shikler do not merely solicit merchandise requests from their shoppers and network with local farmers to sell their products, but they also grow their own produce and harvest eggs from their own hens to place on the store shelves. Their produce additionally fuels Foragers' takeout section, which, in Brooklyn, features freshly made sandwiches, a vegetarian chili, a soup of the day, and a salad bar. The new Manhattan location is slated to be more comprehensive than the Brooklyn store. This store will have an old-fashioned butcher's aging room, a fish counter deemed "sustainable"according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium standards, a wine shop, and an adjacent restaurant, which will have its own grand opening in a few weeks.
The accompanying restaurant, Foragers City Table, will seat 36 people, and will be open daily until 1 A.M. Executive Chef Douglas Monsalud, who previously worked in San Francisco and the Napa Valley, will create an Asian-inspired menu while utilizing Foragers' farm-fresh ingredients. Although the owners concede that their modus operandi is much more complicated than that of most supermarkets, it is clear that their diligence and devotion to alternative food has paid dividends for them, as well as their customers. The store's focus on local (with rare exceptions, such as Hatch green chiles from New Mexico) and seasonal produce promises to further highlight the virtues and advantages of farmers markets.
Foragers City Grocer, 300 West 22nd Street; Foragers City Table, 232 Eighth Avenue (22nd Street), NYC 10011, tel. (212) 243-8888. The grocery store will be open, starting today, Friday March 9th, from Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Neighborhood delivery will be available.
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