The owners of Pine Tree, an organic food store and Asian restaurant that opened earlier this month, are pulling out all the stops to make their mark in Prospect Heights.
"New people want organic," said owner Kenny Nam, who also owns the smaller Nam's Greenmarket on the opposite corner.
Nam's parents opened Nam's Greenmarket in the '90s and carried West Indian food items that catered to residents. But around four years ago, buckets of Caribbean-styled salted fish shared the space with organic foods in bright, colored boxes. Then, with subsequent renovations of Nam's Greenmarket, the buckets disappeared. Soon the tight space was crammed with specialty foods.
"With organic items, a lot of people are happy," said Nam.
Nam brought family members and past employees on board to run Pine Tree. The 36 year-old Flushing, Queens resident used to own two sushi restaurants in East Village.
On opening day, flags or balloons weren't necessary, said Nam. Local residents had been walking through Pine Tree's doors since the renovation, piqued with curiosity to see the most recent novelty in a neighborhood that has seen a flush of new businesses on Franklin Avenue.
The newest addition is the a pleasant glass-walled seating area with bamboo shades and a greenhouse feel. It is connected to an elevated alcove and sushi bar and holds up to 35 people in all.
Although there is meat-free bibimbop at the vegetarian restaurant, Dao's Palate, Pine Tree place to offer typical Korean cuisine in the neighborhood.
The menu includes the popular Bibimbap, a rice-and-vegetable dish that can be ordered with egg or meat and Gimbap, a Korean version of sushi, usually with pieces of sweet and salty yellow pickled radish.
The space used to house the toy store and play area, Nairobi's Knapsack. But the store closed in June of 2010 due to "economic challenges," its owners said.
The eatery at Pine Tree, is open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight. Store shopping hours are 7 a.m. until 1 a.m., daily. Take-out is available but delivery is not. The menu will soon offer beer, wine and sake. 744 Franklin Ave., between Sterling Place and St. Johns Place, (347) 533-9782.