A storiedinstitution that was swept away by the Great Recession is making another entrance into the city through a new concept.
Earlier this month, specialty supermarket operator Balducci’s announced it will open a 2,150-squre-foot Gourmet Café at 300 W. 57th Street in Manhattan, possibly followed up by similar locations in other parts of New York.
Balducci’s got its start decades ago as a New York City fruit and vegetable stand operated by an Italian immigrant, Louis Balducci. Through the years, it went through several iterations, including an extremely popular store in Greenwich Village and then locations on the Upper West Side and on the corner of 14th Street and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea. In April 2009, however, the chain’s owners closed both New York City stores, most likely due to the drop in demand for high-priced gourmet products amid the worst economic crisis in decades and possibly, also because of questionable management on behalf of corporate owners Sutton Place Gourmet.
Today, Balducci’s still operates six specialty supermarkets throughout the East Coast, but the Gourmet Café will mark its comeback into its home market. The store will open in February of 2012 and will liely focus on prepared foods, including custom made salads, artisan sandwiches and sweet and savory crepes.
Ross Kaplan and Jason Pruger, of Newmark Knight Frank, represented Balducci’s owners in the transaction. Richard Hodos, David LaPierre, Stephen Sjurset and Sean Moran, of CB Richard Ellis, represented the landlord, The Hearst Corp.