Co-owner Burak Can confirmed that they're eyeing a 24,000 square-foot space on two floors of Linc LIC, a 42-story luxury apartment tower that's set to open at 43-10 Crescent St. this summer, a few blocks south of Queensboro Plaza. The Queens Courier reported the news last week.
Can said Food Cellar has yet to officially sign a lease for the new space, but that they're in talks with Rockrose Development Corporation, which owns the new building.
"There's nothing concrete yet," he said. "[But] yes, we're interested in the Court Square location."
Rockrose president Justin Elghanayan told DNAinfo in February that they planned to include a high-end food market at Linc LIC, part of a larger plan to expand shopping options in Court Square — which is seeing a boom in residential construction, but still lacks many basic retail amenities.
Court Square currently has one major supermarket, a Key Food at 44-65 21st St. But with thousands of new residential units set to open in the coming years, real estate experts have pegged Court Square as the next big thing, predicting the housing boom will draw more retailers to the neighborhood.
"I think within the next five, ten years, it will have enough buildings to keep a store open...It will eventually be a good location," Can said.
He added that Food Cellar hit a few snags when it opened at 4-85 47th Rd. in Hunters Point in 2008, when there were far fewer residents living on the Long Island City waterfront than there are now.
"It was a rough ride — we didn’t have enough customers," he said. "We lost a lot of money at the beginning."
"Hopefully it will be smooth sailing in Court Square."
Can described Food Cellar as similar to Whole Foods — the market hosts an eat-in cafe and hot buffet bar, a large selection of artisanal cheese and trends toward gourmet and organic foods — prompting some customers to complain on Yelp that it's too expensive for everyday shopping.
But Can said they feel their prices are competitive for the area and what they offer.
"If you compare us to Costco then yes, we're expensive, but if you compare us to any other supermarket in the neighborhood, were not," he said.