Olmsted — the ambitious Prospect Heights restaurant that’s one of the toughest spots to get into in the city — is now reopening its doors to the public, albeit as a store selling some of the favorite items from the restaurant.
Olmsted Trading Post, as this grocery store is known, is selling items including Olmsted’s XO sauce, duck liver mousse, truffle butter, and sweet and sour sauce, among several others. Later on, meat, fish, and items such as pre-made rutabaga pasta from the restaurant’s popular vegetable tagliatelle dish may be for sale.
The new shop is located in the restaurant’s private dining room that’s adjacent to the establishment on Vanderbilt Avenue, between Prospect and Park Place.
The shop opened to the public over the weekend for a trial run, and will reopen on Wednesday, with plans to operate seven days a week. In addition to the popular sauces and condiments at the restaurant, there’s a selection of pickled vegetables, hot sauces, breads and cookies made by Olmsted’s pastry chef Alex Grunert, and wine and batched cocktails from Olmsted and chef Greg Baxtrom and co-owner Max Katzenberg’s other restaurant, Maison Yaki.
Olmsted is also selling produce from some of its regular suppliers, including vegetables from Upstate NY’s Norwich Meadows Farm, and mushrooms from Bushwick’s Smallhold. Merchandise including onesies are also available. The store will continue to expand or change its offerings in the coming weeks, Baxtrom tells Eater. Last weekend he offered customers $25 bags of a selection of goods and vegetables from the store, and Baxtrom says he might do more of that when the shop reopens on Wednesday.
Olmsted now joins dozens of restaurants across the city that have converted their spaces into makeshift grocery stores during the pandemic. The restaurant shut down following the state-mandated orders on March 16, and has been serving as a food pantry for restaurant workers in need since.
Baxtrom and Katzenberg laid off most of their 60-person team — spread out over Olmsted and Maison Yaki — after the shut down, but they’re hopeful that more of them might have an opportunity to work thanks to the store. With more restaurants now reopening for takeout and delivery as the spread of the virus slows down, Baxtrom and Katzenberg say they felt emboldened to reopen in some way.
“We haven’t had any revenue in weeks and weeks,” says Baxtrom. “So this is our first real stab at trying to save the restaurant.”
The grocery store will be open weekdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and on weekends from noon to 7 p.m. The hours will likely expand in the coming weeks.