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NEW YORK - Gourmet Garage will open its fifth store in Manhattan, at 1245 Park Ave., between 96th and 97th streets, in February.
Formerly a Pioneer supermarket, the 5,000 square-foot space has been vacant for the past two years. The space had been confining, with low ceilings and large storage areas, and Gourmet Garage conducted extensive renovations that exposed a broad expanse of space, ornamented with columns.
In addition to specialty gourmet items, the store will carry an expanded variety of prepared foods created under the supervision of Gourmet Garage executive chef Anthony Balderose. Also featured will be a sushi bar, hot soups to go, organic produce, and an extensive catering menu.
The new Park Avenue store will also carry an assortment of natural and organic food products, as well as traditional grocery items.
Gourmet Garage's other outlets are Soho (453 Broome Street, at Mercer Street), Greenwich Village (117 Seventh Avenue, at 10th Street), East Side (301 East 64th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue), and West Side (2567 Broadway, at 96th Street).
Of the new location, Andy Arons, Gourmet Garage's c.e.o. and president, said: "The neighborhood is definitely underserved in terms of food outlets. It's a funky demographic, too, Park Ave. meets uptown, with employees from Mount Sinai hospital thrown in the mix. It's a great blend. The neighborhood north of 96th Street is on the upswing, and we're happy to be part of that trend.
"Gourmet Garage enables everyday customers to shop like a chef," continued Arons. "We pride ourselves on our ability to bring the freshest, finest produce, meat, fish, and specialty items from around the world directly to our shoppers."
When asked what innovative features the new store would have, Arons told Progressive Grocer: "We'll have an expanded sushi and prepared foods selection, along with more organics." He added that the company had plans to expand to other locations, but such plans "are confidential at this time."
Founded in 1981, Gourmet Garage started as a wholesale distribution company servicing fine restaurants in New York. The company opened its first retail outlet in Manhattan in 1992.