Q: How did you come to the North Fork? A: I came to the North Fork because it seemed like it was an interesting place; a lot was happening on the food scene. I live on the South Fork and started Gula Gula Empanadas there about 3 years ago. We were a one-line, artisanal business, selling at farmers’ markets, and I was renting space at commercial kitchens. I decided that I wanted a store front, but I couldn’t find the right location on the South Fork. So I decided to open the search to the Island.
I was already familiar with the North Fork for quite some time; it’s a great community and I visited here a lot. The East End is really lucky; you have great farmers and artisanal producers on both forks—there’s quite a bounty in general.
Q: How did you pick your Pike Street Location? (Pike Street is part of the Love Lane community)
A: I found Pike Street from an ad in the paper. The space was completely raw, and I loved the location. I was also looking for a partner at the time who similarly was trying to get a storefront for the artisanal food they were already making. Holly Browder of Browders’ Birds introduced me to Alison Katz. At the time she had her own label, Ali Katz small batch baking. She wanted to expand that. So it all worked out really well.
Q: You offer a beautiful array of foods in addition to the Gula Gula Epanadas and the Ali Katz small batch baking. Is there anything that defines your food in particular?
A: Everything you see here we pretty much make ourselves. Nothing’s processed. If we need roasted peppers as an ingredient, we roast the peppers. When we make soups, we don’t use pre-made bases. We make everything from scratch.
That has a couple of benefits. First, you can taste the difference. But it also lets us control the ingredients, the sodium, the sugar, the gluten.
Q: How did you pick the name Goodfood. ?
A: We wanted the name to be open enough, so we could accommodate whatever we felt like cooking. Some people come in and ask, what are you, are you a Latin place, are you…? And we wanted to live it open; we just wanted to make good food.
One day you might come in and find a Thai dish; another day an Indian dish. Some things are constant we always have the empanadas and the baked goods. We’re working on developing a more standardized catering menu. Right now we’ve got a terrific catering menu for the Super Bowl.
Q: Sounds like you’re a new business. When did you open?
A: We opened last June, and we had a great summer. We have been well received by the community, and are looking to expand and improve in several ways. The catering is one way we look to expand, we’re responding to demand.
We’re also looking to expand the menu. We have customers who come here every day, or every other day; we want to offer them even more choices. We’re learning what people want.
Every time you add a new item, people will expect it to be there, and it takes a little while to be able to work that all out. Consistency and quality is key.
Q: Beyond the catering menu and expanded in store menu, do you have any other changes planned?
A: By the start of summer we will offer some additional grab and go for people on their way out on their boat, to do a wine tasting or some other North Fork adventure.
Another aspect that we are expanding is our specialty food items, many of them from local producers. Currently we offer a great selection, both local and not, but we can offer still more.
Right now we carry Carissa breads and items from Old School Favorites, both from Southampton. We sell Browders’ Birds eggs, fresh and pickled; coffee from North Fork Roasting Co.; olive oils from East Hampton, etc. We also have a line of convenience gluten-free products that people can buy.
Still we look forward to being able to provide more food choices and services to our customers. We have a hungry clientele looking for new things.
As to physical changes, we have a great patio and outdoor seating. We’re looking at beautifying it by the season, perhaps adding an awning and more planters.
Q: Does being on Pike Street, part of the Love Lane community, have any particular benefits?
A: Yes. Love Lane is great because we’re all different businesses, we all complement each other really well. In a short walking distance people have a lot of choices, I think it makes it very nice for people. And Pike Street is really up and coming. Also First Fridays is a great event; everyone’s relaxed, everyone’s out to have a good time.
Q: The commitment to quality ingredients and from-scratch food that you and Ali share is striking. Have you always been in the food business?
A: Yes and no. Food has always been fun for me, I’m not professionally trained in it. I graduated from the university in Uruguay, where I was born and raised, with a degree in clinical psychology and social work. I ran a very similar business to goodfood. in a resort area before moving to New York City.
I first came to the East End in the early 1990’s to help a friend run a new business, a fish market and restaurant called the Amagansett Fish Company. Later on I took the business over and permanently moved to the East End. Sold the business five years later and went on to work for the Town of East Hampton as a bilingual social worker and then went back into the private sector working in finance and insurance for several years.
I’ve done other things, but I’ve always enjoyed business, the food business in particular. Alison came here from Brooklyn, she worked in food related businesses and as a private chef. When she moved out here she worked at the North Fork Table & Inn and also set up a seasonal pop up restaurant in Shelter Island and started her small batch baking label.
Q: Do you have a favorite ingredient, or a favorite dish you make?
A: Yes. My fish empanada. It’s very Mediterranean. We make it with albacore tuna and flounder, roasted red pepper, parsley, tomatoes with an olive oil crust. It’s delicious!