Sept. 21, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
There goes the neighborhood — or in this case, a corner block!
Verdi Fresh, a well-known grocery store on 31st Street in Astoria is set to close this weekend after an 11-year run in order to make way for a new development project.
The popular store, located at 21-01 31st St., will check out its last customer on Sunday, Sept. 24, and the premises — along with several shuttered establishments on the corner block — are expected to face the wrecking ball.
News of the closure had been brewing for some time as the seven adjoining establishments on the site had already closed. The establishments included a nail salon, a discount store, a pharmacy and a Thai restaurant called Thai Elephant.
The site where Verdi Fresh stands was sold for more than $23 million last year to RFC 31 Street LLC, according to city records.
RFC 31 Street LLC is a company of RockFarmer Properties, a Queens-based development company that owns The Rowan, a 46-unit luxury condominium located next to the Verdi Fresh site.
The developers of The Rowan are expected to construct a similar property on the Verdi Fresh site, touted as Phase 2 of the project. The Queens/Astoria Post was unable to reach any RockFarmer representative for comment.
The operators of Verdi Fresh posted a sign on the establishment recently confirming the closure of the store. A photo of the sign was posted to the Facebook group “Astoria Queens” earlier this week.
“Dear neighbors and friends, with all your love and memories, Verdi Fresh will be closing on Sept. 24,” the sign reads. “We have been very happy and grateful to have served this community these past 11 years. From all the Verdi Fresh family, we wish you all happiness and prosperity.”
The store is known for its wide range of grocery items such as fresh vegetables, herbs and canned foods while in recent years operators added a lot of organic and vegan produce to its shelves, as well as non-dairy ice creams.
The Verdi Fresh deli is also a local favorite with its sandwiches being a big hit with residents. Flowers are sold at the front of the establishment. Calls to the store made by the Queens/Astoria Post went unanswered.
The closure will mean residents will have to look elsewhere for their grocery needs. Last year, the regional grocery store Lincoln Market signed a 20-year lease for a 16,760-square-foot space at the Rowan, although the store has not opened yet.
News of the impending closure has sparked various threads on Reddit, with locals chiming in on the impact of its closure.
“It has always been a pleasant place to shop,” wrote one contributor. “It’ll be a real loss to the neighborhood. I wish them luck in whatever they do next.”
“I wish they could move to a new location nearby — we so rely on them in the area,” wrote another.