The glow of lights through the window glass is the first thing you notice as you approach Good Nature Market. Along Broadway, the shut storefronts and street lamps lie still in the early a.m., but this shop emanates openness. You almost can follow the lights by instinct, unaided by the stream of other students heading that way.
As you enter, the second thing you notice is the scent. Every 24-hour eatery comes with its share of smells, and this one combines a certain mix of Asian supermarket and curbside deli that some may find disagreeable. Common convenience store wares line the entryway walls: assorted deodorants and shampoos, packs of gum, candies and chocolate bars. Passing the cash register, the smell has faded; you reach the deli counter and grill, and for $4.25, you are prepared to order your sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich with pepper jack and chipotle mayo.
Among late-night campus bites, the Good Nature Market on Broadway — often called GHeav — reigns king. Sun “Sunny” Yup Kim owns and operates the two 24-hour markets, the second on Whitney Avenue, and both offer basic grocery items, prepared meals and made-to-order sandwiches.
Since this is Bulldog Bites’ inaugural issue, before I go any further I should introduce myself. I’m Brandon Liu from Dublin, Ohio, a first year in Trumbull College, and I’ll be running this column with Kofi Ansong, a sophomore in Grace Hopper College from Hartford, Connecticut.
Coming into a city whose dining scene is as diverse and rapidly changing as New Haven’s, I was surprised to find that the News had few recent articles, if any, in the vein of food writing or reviews. Through this column, Kofi and I hope to fill this niche: to provide the community with both practical insights and recommendations on today’s New Haven restaurants and food from a student perspective. We plan to alternate weekly, so next Friday you will be able to read Kofi’s first piece.
You may be thinking: “Why should I trust you to review my food?” To be frank, we are gaining your trust and learning as we go. In high school, Kofi and I worked as editors for the school paper — he was copy and I was web. We share a background in food service; I worked as a restaurant host, then valet attendant, and Kofi is the Hopper student dining hall manager. Fundamentally, Kofi and I share an appreciation for good eats and for discussing the basis and purpose of the pleasure (or displeasure) found therein. And as a first year, I’m excited to explore the greater New Haven food scene and to find and develop a critical angle and voice. Above all, I look forward to sharing these experiences here with you!
To return to the topic at hand: Gourmet Heaven, as the location was previously known, closed its doors in controversy June of 2015 after its owner was arrested on 52 charges related to wage theft. Despite this, you’ll find that its original nickname remains widespread on campus.
The employees that I’ve met at Good Nature Market have all been pleasant; Sara, at the register this Wednesday, tells me she’s from Mongolia originally and has a spouse employed at Yale. On our first 4 a.m. sandwich run this August, my suitemate Marshall and I were warmly welcomed to campus by Claudio on the night shift.
Service is clean and straightforward at Good Nature Market. The hot sandwich menu includes classics like a grilled cheese or BLT and others such as a Chicken Cordon Bleu with roasted peppers and pesto sauce. My current personal favorites are their breakfast sandwiches. For $4.25, you can enjoy a bacon or sausage egg and cheese on a roll fresh from the griddle, at any hour of the day; if you ask for chipotle mayo and a cheese of you choice, too, the value added is unsurpassed. (I send my thanks to Grant from Baker’s Dozen for the tip in line during Camp Yale!)
Convenience — as you might have guessed — is a priority at GHeav. Dry snacks, from organic apple chips to Quadratini wafers, surround the ground floor tables, and other products like beverages, fruits and disposable tablewares are similarly grouped throughout the shop. The second floor overlooks the grill and provides abundant seating at night and a low-key study space during the day. Free water and cups are both supplied and self service. On two occasions already, I’ve forgotten a wallet and have been pleased to find that they also accept Apple Pay (even for purchases under $5). One cost of convenience, however, is the slight premium paid for daily grocery items and packaged snacks. But as it turns out, at nowhere else within short walking distance of Yale is it possible to get both Solo Cups and a hot turkey BLT wrap at three in the morning.
Brandon Liu | firstname.lastname@example.org