Today’s news:

Fairway in Red Hook will reopen in early March, supermarket officials say

The Brooklyn Paper

Photo gallery

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Hurricane Sandy decimated the Fairway Market in Red Hook — but the shop will reopen in early March, store officials say.
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Workers surveyed the damage and started cleaning inside Fairway in Red Hook after Hurricane Sandy ripped through.
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Sandy didn’t just ruin the interior of the store — it ripped the door off its hinges.
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Workers from the InStar National Disaster Team remove garbage from the parking lot of the Red Hook grocery store.
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Trucks like this one hauled away all of the refuse.

Red Hookers rejoice: the neighborhood will once again be stocked with artisan cheeses and organic produce.

Hurricane Sandy pounded the massive and massively popular Fairway Market, leaving the community’s culinary anchor shuttered for months — but store officials now say they are on schedule for a March reopening.

“We’re making a lot of progress,” said Fairway CEO Howie Glickberg, who hopes to reopen in six weeks. “We will be working until the hour before we open the store.”

The floodwaters are long gone and most of the new refrigerator cases and new shelves are in place, but the nearly $10-million restoration still has a long way to go, said the grocery chain honcho.

“We still have to hook up all the refrigeration, we have to install all new kitchen equipment and all new showcases — a lot of plumbing, electrical and carpentry work still has to be done,” he said.

The Oct. 29 super storm slammed the gourmet chain at the foot of Van Brunt Street with a five-foot surge so vicious that it demolished anything it touched.

“[All that] was left after the flood were the walls,” said Glickberg. “Anything that was not five feet off the ground got wasted.”

The inundated grocery chain, famous for its fine cheeses, imported olive oils, and vast selection of gourmet goods, had to be gutted and continuously pumped with hot air in the days after the storm to dry out the doused floor and walls.

And much like the savvy proprietor behind Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies, the folks at Fairway decided to use the storm-related closure as an opportunity to come back better.

When Fairway reopens, shoppers will enjoy an expanded bakery section, wider aisles, and more outdoor seating, Glickberg said.

Red Hook business owners can’t wait for Fairway’s return, claiming its lengthy closure took a bite out of the economy in the storm-ravaged community.

“Without the Fairway here it’s been so quiet in the neighborhood,” said St. John Frizell, the owner of the Van Brunt Street cafe and bar Fort Defiance.

“It brought tons of foot and car traffic into the neighborhood,” said Frizell, who used to shop at the grocery store twice a week. “It’s the anchor at the end of Van Brunt Street and it changed the neighborhood for the better — it’s not the same without it.”

Fairway shoppers borough-wide are just as excited.

“It’s like a long lost relative is coming back,” said Fran Barris of Dyker Heights, who shopped at Fairway monthly before it closed, in part due to its big selection of gluten-free items.

Glickberg said that 70 additional Fairway employees will be hired for the reopening and that the store’s original 250 employees, who have been transferred to other Fairway stores, will return to the Red Hook location.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.

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Reader Feedback

Dave from Park Slope says:
...until the next hurricane.
Jan. 18, 2013, 9 am
manhatposeur from brokelynland says:
Hmmmm organic fruit rinsed in the Gowanus!
Jan. 18, 2013, 9:26 am
ty from pps says:
I kinda think it's telling and sad that Fairway is referred to as a "gourmet chain" in this article...

New York seems to have very low standards/expectations when it comes to grocery stores. The questionable meats and lackluster produce at the typical Met, C-Town, etc. It's just sad.

Fairway is great. I miss it and can't wait for it to reopen... but visiting my brother in Massachusetts over the holidays, their regular ol' local Stop & Shop is almost as good as Fairway (for 90% of your shopping needs) and 10 times better than the rest of the supermarkets in Brooklyn.

But I guess a decent supermarket is "gourmet" and a decent apartment is "luxury." Only in New York -- and Bangalore.
Jan. 18, 2013, 10:07 am
Bruce from Midwood says:
Good to hear. They bring a lot of jobs and shoppers into that area of Brooklyn .Not only good for Fairway but for the smaller stores and restaurants in the area as well.
Jan. 18, 2013, 10:49 am
Jay from South Slope says:
I remember when it's opening was opposed by certain community groups and activists. How wrong they were...
Jan. 19, 2013, 10:58 am
Al from Bay Ridge says:
I hope they cover the olives this time!
Jan. 21, 2013, 7:22 am
Joe from West Midwood says:
Happy to see the workers are coming back too.
It's been a long 3 months suffering through
the chaos of ShopRite on McDonald Avenue
and the shabby treatment of customers at Super
Stop & Shop on Avenue Y. Expanded aisles &
bakery is music to my ears!
Jan. 21, 2013, 10:08 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Fairway Red Hook can't reopen soon enough to suit me.

I miss them even more than I thought I would.
Jan. 21, 2013, 6:41 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Great news for spring, love that place and they've been greatly missed.
Jan. 22, 2013, 7:36 pm

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