Brooklyn icon Sahadi’s recognized by the state as a historic business

January 3, 2023

Image via WikiCommons

Sahadi’s, a New York City staple for more than 120 years, has been added to the state’s Historic Business Preservation Registry, as first reported by the Brooklyn Paper. The Middle Eastern grocery store and cafe first opened in Lower Manhattan in 1895 before moving to Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue in 1948 where it has been located ever since. The registry, overseen by the Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, recognizes businesses that have operated for at least 50 years and have “contributed to their communities’ history.”

Currently operated by fourth-generation owner Christine Sahadi Whelan and her husband Pat Whelan, Sahadi’s is known for its wide selection of over 200 grains and spices, including bulk bins of freshly roasted nuts, imported olives, and old-fashioned coffee beans. The shop’s offerings have expanded to include baked goods, homemade prepared food, and more.

First established in Lebanon, Sahadi Trading Company opened in Manhattan’s “Little Syria,” in an area near the World Trade Center and Liberty Park that was the center of the city’s Syrian community during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

In 1948, then-owner Wade Shadi relocated the shop to Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue due to the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel which disrupted local businesses.

Atlantic Avenue grew to become known for the many Syrian businesses which lined its storefronts, and in the 1950s and 60s was known as the “Syrian shopping center of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey,” according to the Brooklyn Public Library.

However, as the demographics of the neighborhood have changed over the years, Sahadi’s has maintained its status as a local favorite.

“Thrilled to welcome Sahadis, ‘A Brooklyn Tradition’ into the New York State Historic Business Preservation Registry. For decades, they have brought the best flavors from across the world to Brooklyn. Legendary among foodies in the know + locals, Brooklyn is blessed and honored!,” Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon tweeted.

Sahadi’s opened a second Brooklyn location in Sunset Park’s Industry City in 2019. The 7,500-square-foot space has a sit-down restaurant with 80 seats, Lebanese wines on tap, daily specials, and grab-and-go options.

The registry was established in 2020 to honor historic businesses while “providing educational and promotional assistance to ensure their continued viability and success,” according to the office. A state official can nominate two businesses to be included on the registry per term; nominations are currently being accepted on a rolling basis.

Other New York City businesses recognized include Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg, Schmidt’s Candy in Woodhaven, Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe in the East Village, Julius’ Bar in Greenwich Village, Orwashers Bakery on the Upper East Side, and more.

You can find Sahadi’s entry on the Historic Business Preservation Registry and learn about businesses recognized here.

[Via Brooklyn Paper]


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