When beloved East Coast supermarket chain Wegmans opens in Brooklyn later this month, it’ll bring a lot more than another grocery store to the neighborhood. Wegmans will be housed in a 74,000-square-foot space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard — which includes a full-service bar as well as several restaurant concepts, from made-to-order salads and a sushi bar to gourmet burgers and pizzas.
Executive chef Stephen De Lucia tells Eater that Wegmans takes pride in offering a wide variety of “restaurant foods” to its customers — with the goal of becoming a destination for both shoppers and diners alike. The two-level store will be outfitted with several to-go food counters on the bottom floor and the full-service bar and seating on the mezzanine level.
De Lucia says he’s most excited about the sushi bar, which will offer 28 different roll options. Those will be available in a refrigerated case like most grocery stores, though customers can also order custom rolls to be made on the spot. The sushi counter will also sell poke bowls, including one with New Zealand king salmon and another with beet and macadamia.
Wegmans will also have a pizza station, where a rotating brick-hearth oven can cook a custom pie in 90 seconds. Its pizza recipe takes inspiration from the Wegmans Italian restaurant Amore in Rochester, and despite the speedy cooking, the dough, made with imported Italian flour and olive oil, is fermented for 48 hours beforehand. Diners can choose from pies like one with prosciutto, arugula, olive oil, and Parmigiano Reggiano, or make their own.
There’s also a burger bar that also makes lobster rolls, crab cake and fried chicken sandwiches, and fries. In line with a health-leaning trend seen throughout the market, a Mediterranean-style Impossible Burger with lemon caper aioli and roasted tomatoes will be available at the burger bar, as will cauliflower crust at the pizza station. De Lucia says the store wants to provide “as many options” for all the “different diversity of opinions and dietary needs.”
A salad bar, self-serve buffet, and coffee department will round out the dining options. Everything can be taken to-go or eaten at the supermarket’s 100-seat mezzanine level, where the full-service bar also stands. “If we see a guest eating a slice of pizza or a sushi roll, our cocktail servers will be trained to pair that up with a wine or a sake,” De Lucia says.
The bar is unique to Brooklyn and is modeled after Wegmans Next Door Bar and Grill in Rochester, though the menu was created with Brooklyn in mind. Beers will come from local breweries like Threes Brewing, Grimm, and Interboro, and the supermarket is also collaborating with Brooklyn Brewery and Sixpoint to create a special brew for opening day. The spirits selection will follow suit, and there’ll also be kombucha on tap.
The grocer is also serious about where its ingredients come from, sourcing from similarly minded sustainable distributors and growers for its Brooklyn location, says De Lucia, who joined Wegmans in 2017 after working with Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The store is working with local nonprofit Rethink, which uses unused food from grocery stores to make meals for people in need.
Though New York has no shortage of grocery stores with prepared foods, the entry of Wegmans still has Wegmaniacs — its loyal followers — excited. That’s because the grocer is known for its array of take-home meals and competitive prices. It’s a private, family-run chain based in Rochester with 98 stores across the Eastern U.S. and has been consistently ranked as a top grocery store in shopper surveys.
The store will open on October 27 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has also attracted an outpost of Russ & Daughters, the Brooklyn Roasting Company, and Kings County Distillery.