The latest addition to Broadway is receiving rave reviews from many members of the Yale community.
Gourmet Heaven, the much anticipated grocery store brought in to replace Krauszer’s, opened its doors to welcome students to its combination of convenience-store items and specialty foods. Many students are finding the variety of healthful food offered a pleasing substitute to other eateries on campus. While the store is not fully operational, managers are working around the clock to implement student suggestions, including lowering prices.
“Everybody that comes in says they love it,” said store manager Tameaka Dixon. “They’re happy we’re here.”
Gourmet Heaven’s opening comes after over a year of preparation to bring a New York-style grocery store to Broadway. Although both stores offer deli sandwiches, packaged food and other basic necessities, Gourmet Heaven differs from Krauszer’s in that it also has luxury items and a wide selection of hot prepared food, 24 hours a day. And, unlike Krauszer’s, its lease does not allow it to sell tobacco products.
Tables and chairs for roughly 40 customers are located on a terrace at the back of the two-story shop.
“There is a lot of talk going around that this is possibly one of the best things to happen to the Yale campus in recent years because of the variety of healthy food options you can’t find at Durfee’s or Krauszer’s,” said Anneli Chambliss ’04, who was using the upstairs seating space to study while she snacked.
Gourmet Heaven is the latest store to open on a block Yale developers have been working for years to revitalize. 21 Broadway, not owned by Yale, opened last month, and Urban Outfitters and Alexia Crawford will increase the retail fashion options in the Broadway district.
Dixon said there have been complaints from students concerning the prices of certain products. University Properties originally touted Gourmet Heaven as a cheaper alternative to student-favorite Krauszer’s. But store owners are in the process of reevaluating prices so that they conform to the New Haven economy and student budgets.
“We’re not familiar with prices [in New Haven], but we’re trying to get it together,” Dixon said.
Store owner and New Yorker Chung Cho also promised that he would consider price reductions.
“I need to see how much I need to charge in order to make a profit,” Cho said.
Though the store’s opening was delayed due to construction difficulties, University Properties Director John Maturo is overjoyed at the final product.
“I’ve eaten there every day since it opened,” Maturo said. “The variety is very good, and it seems to change. To have 24-hour food at that quality and low cost adds a great service.”
While some shelves still need to be stocked, and the store is still waiting for credit-card machines, Cho said he expects his store will be fully operational within a week. The store will put out a 12-page menu within a week and soon offer delivery to the surrounding community.
Cho said he is very conscious that he needs to keep his store clean, something University Properties has often accused Krauszer’s of failing to do.
Representatives from Krauszer’s declined to comment.
The spacious first floor of Gourmet Heaven includes typical shelves of packaged snack foods and cereals, as well as a deli and freezer section. The gem of the eatery is the buffet of fresh-cut fruits, salad ingredients and hot dishes that include chicken, spareribs, pasta, hot vegetables, and rice and noodle dishes. Nearly 30 pans of food will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Gourmet Heaven employs a cooking staff all day long to ensure that food will remain fresh.
In addition to staples and hot food, the store offers products which live up to their “gourmet” billing. Exotic nuts, imported breads and candies may not appeal to all students, but certainly differ from typical Sara Lee products.
“Our concern is that students can go in and buy the basics,” Maturo said. “They really are looking for student comment, and it would be helpful if students would give them input.”
Dixon said she has already acted on several student requests for certain products.
“I’ve eaten so much of their hot food that I’m in danger of not making weight,” said crew team member Monty Lee ’03.