In 2016 the City Fresh Market on East 116th Street was in danger of closing for good, much to the dismay of the community. But after a strong show of support–including a 2016 rally that attracted local politicians–the grocery store managed to hang on to its location. Now, after a long renovation, it has finally reopened (bringing the total number of City Fresh Markets in East Harlem to three).
The new, week-old spot is bright and welcoming, featuring a variety of freshly-prepared food reminiscent of New York's upscale supermarkets. Even the facade feels more in step with the times, including brick details and large, open windows that reveal a series of decorative arches inside.
Photo: Wahizza via Instagram
Although shoppers will find the main aisles stocked with more or less the usual assortment of grocery brands (plus an organic section), it's the area right past the entrance that stands out.
Here there's a dedicated pizza chef churning out a variety of personal-sized pies from Wahizza, a newish joint in Washington Heights that bills itself as the "Home of the Chimi Pizza" (a pizza topped with ground beef and other ingredients found in a Dominican-style Chimi burger). During lunchtime on a recent afternoon, there was already a line.
Beyond that sits a sushi station, complete with a chef making rolls in real time, as well as a tidy juice bar, a hot food island, plus a bakery selling fresh focaccia along with a big selection of desserts.
Those who fought for this City Fresh Market to remain on East 116th Street will certainly now have the opportunity to–yes–savor their victory.