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Washington Market reboots to serve downtown dwellers

Downtown grocery and food emporium Washington Market is getting a makeover from the son of its previous owners.

Michael Khoury said he’s been changing the market at 461 Ellicott St. to better serve a new wave of downtown dwellers. “We’re giving the place a facelift, painting it and changing the lighting,” he said.

Sandwiches and salad bar offerings will continue. Changes so far include expanding the store’s grocery stock in a practical direction, he said. “I’m trying to offer the basic essentials that people need for their apartments, while trying to keep it artisan and natural if I can,” he said.

Cleaning supplies and bath products have joined the edible groceries. He’s changing his stock toward more everyday items, he said, and away from esoteric items “like cans of caviar or $200 bottles of balsamic vinegar.”

There’s more things like pastas, pasta sauces, and Bob’s Red Mill grains “like quinoa or good rice, so people can cook after work,” Khoury said.

Bob's Red Mill grains and more weekday dinner ingredients are among the Washington Market's grocery additions. (Photo: Washington Market)

Bob's Red Mill grains and more weekday dinner ingredients are among the Washington Market's grocery additions. (Photo: Washington Market)

He plans to install a cooler to offer more fresh produce, and dairy products. He’s already added a grab-and-go cooler so people can get a salad or sandwich quickly. “I’m looking to add veggie options like salads with beets and quinoa, and soba noodles,” Khoury said. The in-house coffee bar is using beans from Gimme! Coffee and Clarence’s Goodrich Coffee now.

He plans to install six taps, four offering local beers, which customers can order by the pint with food, or by the growler fill-up. The fifth tap will be for Leonard Oakes wine, and the sixth for kombucha, which he makes himself.

Khoury’s spent most of his adult life working for a bond portfolio analytics software company, but in three years of living in Brooklyn he marveled at places like Forager’s Market, Brooklyn Kitchen, and Brooklyn Larder. He decided to take over the market because “food is a passion of mine,” he said. “I think it really comes down to that.”

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