By Bill Parry
Food options at The Falchi Building became more intriguing last week with the grand opening of a Russian-based international cafe chain that has 49 locations around the world in such locations as St. Petersburg, Moscow, Belarus, Ukraine and Israel. Stolle Bakery opened its first franchise in the U.S., featuring Eastern European traditional cuisine.
Stolle specializes in pies made of fresh ingredients according to ancient recipes passed down from generation to generation. Stolle pies come in small, medium and large sizes that serve six, 10, or 12 people respectively.
“We had a soft opening a month ago and one thing that struck me is how New Yorkers are open to trying new things,” co-owner Irina Belksa said. “They understand the concepts of our pies that are totally different than the traditional American understanding of pies.”
Belksa’s creations are made fresh daily on the premises. In addition to sweet pies made of apple, raspberry, plum and dried apricot there are pies stuffed with fish, salmon, meat, cabbage or chicken.
“People have never tried pies like this before and they like them,” Belksa said. “We’re not surprised they’re such a hit because western Queens is such a melting pot.”
She said The Falchi Building exemplifies that, with the other eateries that have opened at the former Gimbels department store distribution facility at 31-00 47th Ave. ReCaFo Carribean food, Don Tappas, Mrs. Soupy and Friends, and Khao Man Gai NY have developed followings there in addition to the Doughnut Plant and Juice Press.
“The choices are as wonderful as the location, so close to Manhattan and Brooklyn,” Belksa said. “And the landlord, Jamestown, is fabulous. That’s very important when you’re opening in a new location. They’ve been very helpful.”
Jamestown Properties, owners of the popular Chelsea Market in Manhattan, purchased the block-long warehouse for $80 million in 2012. They gave the property a multi-million dollar makeover and began signing an interesting mix of tenants such as Lyft, Webline Designs, Coalition for Queens and the Astoria Distilling Company, makers of Queens Courage gin.
“It’s a great place to establish our footprint in New York City,” Belksa said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr