Russ & Daughters is opening a giant multipurpose space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, its first retail location outside of its longtime home on Houston Street. The appetizing institution is taking 14,000 square feet in Building 77, a massive storage facility undergoing an $185 million renovation that’s expected to be completed in early 2017.
Russ was a fairly humble and downright cramped operation until it expanded with a Lower East Side cafe in 2014 and then announced plans to open another cafe at the Jewish Museum, uptown. (On the other hand, that supposed partnership with the LES’s newest flashy hotel wasn’t really a thing.) According to a press release, this latest expansion will add 30 jobs and a new bakery (the store currently makes its bagels, bialys, challah, blintzes and other baked goods in a Bushwick facility). The new digs will also include a shipping center, a kitchen serving Russ’s locations locations, catering capabilities, and the capacity for training and public classes. But here’s what’s most exciting for the general public and other tenants of the Navy Yard, like Kings County Distillery: there’ll be fast-casual menus for breakfast and lunch.
Mayor de Blasio, along with the City Council and Brooklyn’s borough president, is spending $80 million in city money to transform Building 77 (a “hidden gem” and a “spectacular and vast space,” according to Russ & Daughters owner Niki Russ Federman) into a 60,000-square-foot food hall and production facility akin to Industry City. In the press release, he calls Russ & Daughters a “great New York City company,” while BP Eric Adams touts “the ‘foodie’ culture that our borough has fostered.”
Other tenants are now being sought for the building, which will hold manufacturing spaces, a public hall and landscaped plaza designed by Marvel Architects. Among other projects, the firm is also responsible for the restoration of McCarren Pool, and the conversion of Dumbo’s Tobacco Warehouse into a new theater for St. Anne’s Warehouse.