Southern Brooklyn

Cherry Hill To Open Gourmet Kosher Market On Avenue U, Former Richard Yee’s Site

Former Richard Yee's site at 2617 Avenue U
Former Richard Yee’s site at 2617 Avenue U

The owners of Cherry Hill Gourmet Market are working to open up a new Glatt Kosher market in the former site of the legendary Richard Yee’s Restaurant at 2617 Avenue U.

Neighbors began noticing construction in late summer, with the black paneling ripped out and windows papered up. The inside is being gutted as of last week, and a manager of Cherry Hill market, Sam Nitka, told Sheepshead Bites it’s all in preparation for a gourmet kosher market to open next year.

“[Cherry Hill] will financially support it, and we believe there’s a demand for it in the neighborhood,” said Nitka.

The store will sell kosher certified meats, packaged groceries, organic vegetables and more, and will be Sabbath observant. It’s expected to open in June or July 2015, Nitka said, with a name to be decided.

The new market will also take over the former site of Shulman’s Picture Framing on the corner, and will likely utilize the small parking lot behind the property.

Richard Yee’s closed in 2008, though the property remains in the family’s name. The restaurant was among the first place to hawk Chinese fare outside of Manhattan’s Chinatown, having opened in 1967 (following an earlier creation by Richard’s father, Joe, in Flatbush). When it closed, it was the oldest surviving Chinese restaurant in the borough.

After its closing, the venerable food columnist Robert Sietsema reflected on its legacy:

Yee’s represented a new type of restaurant when it opened in 1952: Emphatically located nowhere near any Chinatown, it offered a nightclub ambiance with the Polynesian flourishes that were expected of upscale Chinese restaurants at the time, including flaming cocktails, tiki-hut décor, a separate cocktail lounge, and an evolved Cantonese cuisine perfectly suited to the young families that were flooding the neighborhood in the postwar era. Classic dishes included sliced roast pork with garlic and sherry, steak kew, lobster in scallion sauce, and some of the city’s first “sizzling platters.”

A more in-depth account of Yee’s history can be found in the book “Gastropolis.” It was apparently a favorite of local Jews (and Sandy Koufax), so it becoming a kosher market is not altogether removed from history (and better than the fast food chain Sietsema predicted). Yee invented or inspired many dishes that are now ubiquitous in American Chinese shops, and one of the most famous was his crab balls.

A member of the Yee tribe appears to have set up a blog to remember the restaurant’s legacy.

The location has sat empty since Yee’s closed, so we’re glad to see it being put to use by a local business. We’ll keep you posted as the opening nears.

Comment policy


  1. Richard Yee’s was a classic. Great food and a great owner. Cherry Hill is also a wonderfully unique venue. It certainly will meet a growing need in the neighborhood and we will all be glad to see the empty stores go away. My only worry is the double parking that will become rampant on Avenue U.

  2. No need to open this up as a Kosher market. We already have one kosher market on E 29th and U (Kosher Palace) and one on E 26th (Produce Market). I sincerely hope that if the plans go through that they don’t end up hurting these other business but rather bring more shoppers to the area and thus more customers to all 3.

  3. The meat selection at Kosher Palace is miniscule and pathetic. If this is a quality place, people will shop locally there instead of traveling outside te area. More competition is better for everyone.

  4. It may seem like they’re all just kosher markets however Kosher Palace, Produce Market, and the upcoming Cherry Hill Gourmet Kosher Market actually cater to three different demographics.

    Kosher Palace is for the older, more traditional, more religious Jewish crowd. Produce Market tries to be a regular supermarket while maintaining its position as a grocery carrying Middle Eastern/Israeli foods to those people who are into that and Cherry Hill is for those who are into fancier/gourmet food that’s kosher as well (think Pomegranate but more of a place for Jewish yuppies who are willing to spend on gourmet food).

    Of course there’s overlap and certainly people outside of those demographics will shop at those stores. The point is it goes deeper than just being Kosher markets but targeting specific segments within a broad market.

    With all that considered, I don’t think the new Cherry Hill Kosher Market will end up hurting the other established supermarkets on the avenue. It will be interesting to see though if Produce or K-Palace start selling gourmet stuff to try to get some of Cherry Hill’s customers to come to their stores.

  5. Jesus Christ. Not whole fooods> No traders Joes. The spot is too small for either one. An organic market would be great, for the idiots who follow that cause. But a new market is good for the area. The spot has been empty way too long. I just hope their kosher enough to survive.

  6. Besides Yee’s, up until about ten years ago, I use to see Koufax, at the original Sbarro on 65th Street, when it was still there, and often at Spimmoni Gardens, for the pizza! He actually use to go to Lafayette reunions, until, the motormouth, Larry King, once embarrassed him at one of their affairs! Always, tried to stay under the radar, when he came home, and one of the old school guys, who always made growing up in southern Brooklyn, a great place, many of us, will soon, not forget!!!

  7. What would it take to get a Hallmark Card Store back on Avenue U? We need another uppity European market like we need more bed bugs.

  8. Another supermarket will hurt an already congested area with no significant off street parking. There are already many supermarkets on ave u. here come the trucks and double parkers

  9. check with neighboring businesses and folks who live neaby and I submit that you’ll learn Richard Yee’s has been closed a lot longer than since 2008

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