BRONX, N.Y. - The sound of a mariachi band on Thursday ushered in shoppers to the newly opened Food Bazaar supermarket in the Bronx Terminal Market.
The 83,000 square foot Mott Haven store is the largest supermarket in the borough.
"It’s a lot of variety. We kind of get lost in here," said one shopper.
The sprawling space is filled to the brim with food from all over the world and takes up almost an entire level of the shopping center. Inside there is carved wood, glasswork, impressive displays of seafood, organic produce and a cornucopia of cheese.
"It’s been really spacious to run down the aisle and pick out delicious food, that’s multi-cultural and I didn’t think we could find here," said one shopper.
Shopping for fresh food doesn’t always come easy in the South Bronx. In fact, a lot of the neighborhood surrounding this giant supermarket are food deserts.
"We know that there are so many health disparities in the Bronx. This is really what it’s about. Providing access, opportunity, affordable food - quality food," said City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson.
Bronx County has some of the worst health statistics in the state including sky-high obesity and diabetes rates coupled with a high population of low-income residents. In some neighborhoods in the South Bronx, bodegas can be the only source for groceries. That’s why the city’s Economic Development Corporation is offering tax incentives to developers and companies that want to open new or renovate existing supermarkets in high-need areas like this one.
"Everybody should have access to healthy food. It shouldn’t matter who you are," said Economic Development Corporation Managing Director Eric Clement.
In addition to being able to buy fresh food, shoppers will also be able to enjoy prepared meals at the Boogie Down Food Hall which is currently in the works.
"And that’s costing to create great space for the Bronx community. We are going to have more than a dozen vendors there with delicious international flavors," said Food Bazaar Director of Marketing Suzanne Kuczun.
The Food Hall is set to open in the spring.
For more on the city's competitive supermarket scene and shortage, check out our latest "Crosstown" podcast eprisode: