The grand opening of 55 Fulton Market by Key Food is today. Before we take a look around—and say somewhat snobby things—let’s get one thing straight: It’s a game changer for southeast FiDi, in that it’s mostly a genuinely pleasant place to be.
First, you might peruse the website—wait, there isn’t one. I only bring it up because it’s indicative of the store’s awkward branding. Giving it a name mostly different from its relatives could be taken as a sign that Key Food knows its core brand isn’t much esteemed, but if you’re going to do it, do it right and drop the “by Key Food.” (Also: Why bring up Fulton Street if you don’t have to?) But then much of the store feels like an imitation Whole Foods—look, it’s the World of Cheese! And there are Beers from Around the World! And a man slicing prosciutto off a pig’s leg in the middle of the sales floor! Calling another brand to mind is risky, however, when the comparison doesn’t ever favor you.
I kid, and I don’t. At times, it feels like the fresh and local food revolution hasn’t happened. There is an organic section, oddly segregated from the rest of the store, and it’s not just produce—it’s anything organic. Only when I was downstairs—the store is on two levels (three if you count the little dining area above the ground floor)—did I see this sign:
Huh? Maybe I’m the only one who shops this way, but as much as I like organic anything, for what that designation is worth, I want the most delicious-looking apple. At 55 Fulton Market, that means I have to look at the apples upstairs, then downstairs, then possibly remember to go back for the apple I saw upstairs? I guess the choice was to highlight how cutting-edge the store is by positioning the organic stuff right by the entrance, but who cares?
I will say that the air conditioning was supreme, and the outdoor seating area is pleasant. And like I said, it’s all a vast improvement over what the area has had to deal with.
Recent New Kid on the Block/First Impressions articles:
• Manhattan Proper Bar & Social Club
• Saluggi’s Sandwich Shoppe
• Aire Ancient Baths
• Demi Monde
• Maslow 6 Wine Bar
• Salvatore Barber Shop
• Tribeca Blu