It might not even cross your mind to traverse the city streets in search of a supermarket’s frozen aisle, but a new venture is looking to change the way we perceive our freezer. Babeth’s Feast (1422 Third Avenue; 877-968-3327) is the first store in New York dedicated to food waiting to be thawed and popped in the oven, and it’s purveying a line-up that includes the store’s own homemade French fare as well as local darlings like Roberta’s pizza.
The shop is spearheaded by food entrepreneur Elisabeth de Kergorlay — an early investor in the Le Pain Quotidien bakery chain — and the idea grew out of her longing for tasty and easy-to-prepare cuisine. Readily available in her native France, the owner could not find her favorite items like chocolate souffles and gratins in American freezers. Now, she has her own product line and is attempting to show that good frozen food isn’t confined to reheating leftovers.
“It’s time-saving, but you can also enjoy it with your friends and family,” she says. Though a few items need to be thawed, many of them, such as quiches, can be thrown right into the oven and are ready to go at a moments notice.
Babeth’s has invested heavily in creating an upscale image — you’ll find an in-store kitchen where customers can sample a variety of dishes. The store’s layout is also designed to make the shopping process convenient, as freezers are organized by meals and courses. The hope that those in search of breakfast, appetizers, or side dishes might be inspired to try something new, whether its for a last-minute gathering or an easy Sunday night dinner.
In total, the shop sells nearly 360 products will be offered, including chopped herbs. Naturally, the inspiration for many products comes from France. Crumbles, crepes, and creamy soups known as veloutes are in abundance, but you’ll also find risottos, skewers, and birthday cakes. Babeth’s also offers online ordering and delivery; in-store purchases are packed in a sleek, cold bag in case you have a long journey ahead.
For a first look at Babeth’s Feast, take a look at the next page for photos.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 20, 2014