More and more, the oft-heard complaint that the kosher food industry is lagging behind non-kosher food is becoming a thing of the past.
It wasn’t so long ago that someone who wanted smoked-lamb-with-lemon-confit bad enough would have to seek that out in Israel. But that was then, and this is now. Today, it seems, more and more people have become aware of what’s out there in the food world, and in the gourmet food world, and in response to the growing demand, establishments have brought the different and unique to the kosher world.
Emblematic of this exciting trend is the opening in Boro Park of a specialty food supermarket, Breadberry, that gives good reason to put the words “super” and “market” together.
Indeed, the kosher market is coming into its own, and in a place like Breadberry – the latest in gold standard food shopping – you can not only buy your smoked-lamb-with-lemon-confit, but grab a bite of sushi, indulge in “curated collection” of artisan specialty cheese, and, while you’re at it, choose from amongst a vast selection of flowers (now there’s no excuses, the wife will say).
It’s not all about the shopping, however. Perhaps you want to stay with a friend and enjoy the selection of specialty coffees, with a freshly made sandwich from the sandwich bar. Yes, this festival of food for the modern palate is all housed in a single place, the culmination of a two-year journey that was needed to put it all together.
The “Little Things”
Sam Gluck, who opened Breadberry, saw a void that needed to be filled – a place where gourmet kosher food, a premier shopping experience, reasonable prices, and providing for people’s food needs come together at the tip of anyone’s fingers.
“In today’s fast paced world,” he says, “I wanted to make food shopping easy and helpful. I wanted a place people could know they could go to for good food, and a place where people know that the details matter. We celebrate the culture of good food. Best of all, anyone and everyone can come in and find something they need.”
Within the 10,000-square-foot facility they managed to fit in a hot food bar, a sandwich bar, a coffee station, a smoothie bar, a salad bar, a pickle and olive bar, and naturally, a prepared-food aisle, among many other choices.
If you want to get an idea of how everything is created with the minutia and freshness in mind, consider this: Breadberry is not content offering premade, manufactured salad dressings for the salad bar. Instead, they invested the time, effort and resources to curate their own full line of dressings and vinaigrettes – giving that personal touch Breadberry has become famous for.
“We believe that the greatness of good food is found in the little things: that extra, sweet crumble layering a cupcake; the added zest in a tangy pasta sauce; that unexpected herb in a sandwich,” says Gluck.
Whether it’s to fill your shopping cart, or your belly, the variety seems endless.
The Best of the Best
Their two niches for the customer on-the-go are their coffee and their sandwich bar, Gluck adds. Naturally, those two products receive personalized attention and keen focus on quality.
The coffee beans used for Breadberry’s now-famous espressos, lattes, cappucinos and other beverages are specially imported from Italy. Gluck says that certain employees with an eye for good brew were personally chosen to resarch various coffees – in Italy. You read that right – Breadberry sent a team of employees to Italy on a factfinding mission so they could create the finest coffees back home in Brooklyn.
How about some delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate? Perhaps you want to add marshmallows and caramel? A nice foamy cappuccino made right before your eyes?
Breadberry’s sandwich bar is the only one of its kind in the neighborhood, Gluck boasts. All of the servers at the stations have an average of a decade’s worth of experience in creating beautiful, tasty food. Many employees bring to the table extensive backgrounds in the non-kosher world, knowledge that they tap into in order to bring Breadberry to the next level.
So what exactly can you expect from the top-level sandwich bar?
How about a fresh mozzarella and avocado sandwich? Or a fresh euro salad and home made cheese blintzes? Or are you in the mood for a smoked lamb shoulder with kalamata olive tapenade, preserved lemon, pickled onions, parsley and vinaigrette? Maybe an enticing mouthfull sandwich comprised of prime rib, smoked lamb, chimichurri sauce, pickled onion and lemon confit …or maybe take that leap and grab yourself a pulled brisket Panini? Basically, come hungry.
“That’s what we’re all about,” Gluck explains. “We’ll ensure that your coffee has just the right taste, just the right mix, just the right flavor, so you know that you’re getting the best of the best. So when you sit down with a coffee or a sandwich, know that everything’s fresh, flavorful and presented to you in a way that pleases your eyes, nose and mouth.”
Doing it Right
Gluck says that the store’s objective is simple: to get the custom to return. “Whatever we do, it has to be done right. The customer has to come back. And that’s our biggest goal. We all have to be happy from the time of your first bite to the last; we all have to be happy before your groceries end up in the shopping cart.”
What’s also unique about Breadberry, Gluck says, is the standout way that they produce meats of all shapes, flavors and types, right on the premises, with great care and precision – such as, for example, the inhouse smoked cured meat, the smoked lamb, Korean grilled spare ribs, the homemade beef jerky, and the smoked and air dried Veal Chorizo sausage made with natural edible casing.
“There are many things here that years ago the older generation wouldn’t understand,” Gluck observes. “But now people are really beginning to crave new foods, new ways of preparing good food, and exploring the unexplored. We are really involved in the process, every step of the way, prepared to offer the consumer the rich tastes of fine food.”
But it’s not all meat all the time, either.
There’s a wide array of foods from across the spectrum. The folks at Breadberry have taken great pains to provide customers with all categories of food from the dairy, meat, and pareve kitchens. You can grab your fish, meat, deli, salads and anything else you’d expect from a supermarket, including a candy aisle, farm fresh produce and even ordinary staple items.
If you’re the adventurous type, then try the made-on-premises sushi falafel, panko crusted spicy tuna with portobello mushrooms and jalapeño. These are the kinds of delectable experiences that Gluck – a foodie himself- waxes philosophical about.
“Never is the fulfillment of togetherness as potent as it is with food. Good food is the greatest meeting point of separate,irreplaceable ingredients. When flavors from all corners of the world intersect and people interact over the taste of something good, they build timeless bonds that life is all about. By restoring food’s sense of magic and romance, we can enjoy a moment that takes us from where we are, to where we want to be. The experience of indulging in unexpected flavor can encourage and nourish us, and empower us to unite in our daily pursuit of happiness.”
Truly, Breadberry is a one-stop shop. Meat, check. Cheese, check. Groceries, check.
And guess what – all of the baking is done on the premises, too, which includes a vast and varied array of breads, bagels, and rugelach, begun from scratch each morning at 4am.
Want to try the fine pastry mille-feuille (French pronunciation: mil fœj), also known as the Napoleon? Or perhaps you want to indulge a little bit and try the fresh, tasty, out-of-the-oven corn meal bread? How about the artisan pizza, that you can take home and heat up, making your kitchen smell like a genuine Italian pizzeria?
Gluck describes the Breadberry experience as one of “taste, plus experience, plus joy, plus freshness, plus variety, with an added dash of excitement,”
Bringing People and Food Together
Of course, you can’t endeavor to offer everything under the sun without first offering the classics, the standards, and cater to the tastes of the Eastern European old country. Our Ashkenazic friends will be relieved to know that the old-fashioned foods they grew up with have a special place at Breadberry, too. Gluck proudly reports that customers find Breadberry’s homemade Yerushalmi kugel “delightful.” Last month, the store ran a special that included a cholent, a Yaptzik/overnight kugel, kishka, sour pickles and cole slaw (for under $12). There’s also the obligatory pickled tongue; p’tcha – calves’ foot jelly; and BreadBerry’s signature collection of flavored, spiced and sweetened herrings, including their very own “Sholom Zachor Herring.”
That, in a nutshell, describes the Breadberry atmosphere, one where flavors and choices are unified under one roof.
“Breadberry—which represents togetherness in its very name— knows the privilege in bringing people and food together, and creating a social atmosphere where the culture of food is embraced in a lively way that celebrates shared experiences,”Gluck reflects. “Whether a chef describing his favorite recipe or two friends enjoying a tasty moment —connecting over food will always nourish our need to truly come together.”
In recent months, the store has hosted tastings such as an array of honeys, a wine tasting, and pasta sauces.
The Breadberry Team
Just as sure as the food holds an important place at Breadberry, there’s also the idea that it’s a place for people, by people – a place where employees are always there to help you whenever you need it.
Gluck recognizes that a supermarket needs to not only provide the goods, but also serve the customer. This means assisting the shoppers unpack their carriages, hiring knowledgable staff, and having staff available for any questions the consumer may have. One example of Breadberry’s commitment to customer service is the culinary school graduate stationed at what is dubbed the “hostess counter” to assist customers seeking information about dinner ideas or how to plate food, or who simply need to find a particular food item.
Gluck proudly says that all this is part of the unique Breadberry experience.
“I’m proud of my team. We are very clear in what we want; we strive for top service. It’s basically a family; people enjoy coming to work and they’re professional. If everyone is happy, it reflects on the customer. We treat our employees with utmost respect, because we want them to know we value them, we value our employees, and it rubs off on the people who come shop.”
Gluck says that every customer’s happiness is a priority. The last thing people want when they’re filling their carts is feeling even a little bit of anxiety or frustration – what to buy, where to buy it, do they have enough time, are the prices good, and is it possible to find a staff person in a pinch who can point them in the right direction.
“People have really hectic lives; shopping should release stress, and not cause stress,” said Gluck.
“They should have a good time and interact with us. And in that direction, we’re trying to be innovative, and trying to excel. Most importantly, we want people to know that Breadberry has it all, and you won’t be disappointed.”
Breadberry is located at 1689 60th St. in Brooklyn. For more information, call (718) 259-6666 or visit Breadberry.com.