Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 149 of 217

PHOTOS: DENISE PURCELL Net Cost Market Oakwood Not far from historic Richmond Town in Staten Island's Oakwood neighborhood is Net Cost Market, a full-service Russian supermarket opened in late 2007 in the Oakwood Shopping Plaza. This is the retailer's first outpost in Staten Island; it operates four other locations in Brooklyn and one in Philadelphia. A sixth store is slated to open in Queens in 2013. The borough's burgeoning Russian and Polish populations were the impetus for Net Cost taking over a 17,000-square-foot former Foodtown location. "We received so many requests from the Russian-speaking community who were traveling to Brooklyn to shop at our stores," says Angelina Khristichenko, assistant general manager of the corporate chain. Each section of Net Cost is stocked with foods from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and other parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Visitors should be prepared for an extensive selection of smoked fish and pickled products as well as baked goods, candies, grains, meats and cheeses. Refrigerated cases house Georgian-style sausages, pates and cheeses from Lithuania and Eastern Europe such as smoked suguni, a Georgian cheese similar to mozzarella. The supermarket bakes fresh breads each day, offering more than 100 loaves from which to choose, including flatbreads, lavash and dark ryes. Daily pierogi and soups are on offer at the deli, and hot and cold counters offer fried smelt, gefilte fish, verniki (cheese-filled pockets), and bitochki, similar to potato pancakes mixed with vegetables. Prices for hot entrees range from about $4.99 to $5.99 per pound. Among best sellers, says Khristichenko, are shish kebab, borscht and hachapuri, a Georgian cheese-filled bread. Adventurous locals comprise much of the customer base. "About 40 percent of the Staten Island store's customers are Americans," says Khristichenko. "We carry more Italian products compared to our other stores to match the market mix." To continue to attract a broader clientele, Net Cost plans to bring in more U.S. brands, such as White Rose. "At first we were meant to be a Russian and European market specifically," she explains. "But now we're moving toward becoming a supermarket that carries ethnic foods." 3155 Amboy Rd., Staten Island, N.Y.; 718.668.2910; netcostmarket.com Philips Candy Port Richmond John Dorman began his career at Philips Candy in 1947, "as a kid mopping floors and washing pots," he recounts. That was back when the store existed at its original location in the Stillwell Avenue subway station in Coney Island, Brooklyn, its home since 1930. (Prior to that it had been a stand on the nearby boardwalk since 1916.) Dorman learned to make candy from original owner Philip Calamaris and, after returning from the Korean War, eventually bought the shop in 1956. After losing its lease in 2000, Philips Candy relocated to Staten Island in 2003, expanding its following while its original clientele remained loyal. "On Staten Island, we're known for our egg creams; Brooklyn knows us for our candy," Dorman says. Customers who have relocated to Manhattan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and beyond still stop in, especially because shipping isn't an option at Philips Candy. The Staten Island store is larger than the original, but its location on an unassuming side street in the Port Richmond neighborhood is easy to miss. For a man who is remembered in online reviews as "legendary" for his candy selection and old-fashioned service (as well as for humming while he works), Dorman is equally unassuming as he explains his selection of about 20 candies on the tiny storefront's two counters. Aside from a few commercial items, such as Tootsie Rolls, Dorman makes all candy by hand on the premises with little help from modern machinery. Treats include rice crisps, cashew clusters, fudge and jelly candies as well as egg creams and milkshakes—most at prices that hark back to days past, such as six chocolate marshmallows for $1 or a 75-cent egg cream. Dorman switches out some chocolates seasonally with such selections as candy apples, a recipe replicated in the The Brooklyn Cookbook (Knopf 1991). While he doesn't offer specific holiday or eventthemed candies, much of his business is from local party catering, he explains. Affection for the store remains strong among longtime fans, but its future may be uncertain. Though the food business runs in the family—Dorman's son, John is general manager at New York's University Club and former executive chef of the Regency Hotel— no family members want to pick up the candy-making mantle beyond occasional help. "It's a lot of work," Dorman acknowledges. 8 Barrett Ave., Staten Island, N.Y.; 718.981.0062 Meg Cotner is author of The Food Lovers' Guide to Queens. Esther Crain is a freelance writer who covers health, food and lifestyle. Denise Purcell and Denise Shoukas are editor and contributing editor, respectively, of Specialty Food Magazine. JULY/AUGUST 2013 133

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