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Fairway to fill food void

The renovated Waldbaum's building in the Douglaston Shopping Plaza will open as a Fairway Market in November. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

No one would call Douglaston a food desert, but ever since Waldbaum’s left the Douglaston Shopping Plaza and — more recently — with the closing of the Douglaston Market, grub choices have been limited.

With that in mind, an abundance of selection is what the new Fairway Market promises to bring to northeast Queens when it opens in the renovated Waldbaum’s building Nov. 16, according to CEO Howie Glickberg.

“Customers will come in and see a store like they haven’t seen before,” said Glickberg, who is a third-generation member of the family that founded the company in Manhattan in 1933.

And that shopping experience from a time forgotten is what Glickberg said he intends to bring to Douglaston.

“Thirty or 40 years ago, each neighborhood had all these little stores — bakers, fish and produce stores,” he said. “But they’re all gone now. What we’re doing is bringing all these experts under one roof. My butcher is a fourth-generation butcher. The seafood department is run by a commercial fisherman.”

The additional 15,000 square feet that was added onto the old Waldbaum’s building not only made room for two elevators, which will provide access to and from the upper-level parking lot, but it will also make space for the store’s expansive, dedicated departments.

The aisles will feature more than 45,000 traditional, specialty and organic groceries, including more than 600 artisanal cheeses and more than 100 varieties of olive oils and homemade mozzarella, sushi, pasta and sausage.

Describing his stores as a cross between a Whole Foods Market and a conventional supermarket, Glickberg said Fairway will offer shoppers high-quality groceries as modest prices.

“We’re much cheaper than Whole Foods,” he said.

And since a household cannot live on artisan bread alone, the store will also carry the mundane necessities of life from paper towels to laundry detergents.

Glickberg said that, in addition to a prime location near both the Long Island Expressway and the Cross Island Parkway, Douglaston’s demographics made it an attractive choice for the company’s first store in Queens.

“Our customers are not necessarily high income, but educated — people who understand good food,” he said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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