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Special Report: Food Depot Supermarkets - East Orange, NJ

Food Depot Supermarkets
Owner: Orfilio Chaviano and Nick Gonzalez
Opening: not yet announced
Cooperative: Krasdale Foods
 1 Main St, East Orange, NJ
Photographed: June 14, 2023 and July 25, 2021
Well, it's not the greatest picture (just out of a bus window) but here's a look at what will soon be the Food Depot in East Orange. The store was for a long time the Western Beef, although the store closed around 2020 and a banner went up on the old building announcing Food Depot was coming soon, a local chain with locations in Newark, Kearny, and Belleville coming soon. While there hasn't been any signage installed subsequently -- and unlike Belleville, there's nothing on the Food Depot website about this location -- there's been substantial renovation progressing around the building. The shot above is from just a few days ago but I realized I had photographed the store pretty extensively during its major construction but never posted the pictures. Those are below. If you notice, there's oddly no windows on the building, and only that one rolling door. So if it's still going to become a Food Depot, I assume it's likely they'll cut new windows out of the walls they just built. Now for a look at the construction two years ago...
Here's a look at the old storefront, facing the parking lot. As we see, the old Western Beef signage at the top of the building was painted over and actually remains there despite the rest of the building having been built out.
This building seems to have been in pretty bad shape, so the work required was quite extensive. My single new picture doesn't really capture it, but the walls have really been rebuilt around the perimeter, and of course the cosmetic work is being done, too, with new brick and stone cladding being added to the building.
The parking lot has been filled with building supplies for a long time now, practically for as long as the store has been closed.
And here we actually get a glimpse inside the old supermarket! We can't really see any clear remnants of the store other than what appears to be the frame for the lower drop ceiling and the higher HVAC system.
From what I understand, the owners of Western Beef still own this property. It was being advertised for rent when I visited in 2021, but the signage has since been removed.
Western Beef is a bit tricky to predict, given the internal turmoil of the company (well-documented in this article). They've closed and subsequently re-opened (and then subsequently re-closed) at least one location, in Flushing, but there's another location that's more relevant to what's going on here. The Bay Street location on Staten Island was sold around 2019 to the NJ chain Extra. Although ownership changed to Extra, the name of the store remained Western Beef, although they no longer sold any of the Western Beef brands, replaced instead with Krasdale. But earlier this year, Western Beef actually bought the store back from Extra. Why is that relevant here? The owners of that Extra chain also own Food Depot, which announced they were going to open here. So is it possible that Western Beef is intending to take back this location, too? Especially since in the time this location has been in progress, Food Depot has started and is coming close to finishing another in-progress location to the north in Belleville.
Grand Opening signage still remaining here was referring to the laundromat that shared the building, not the supermarket. The entire building has been vacated now.
So I guess I really have no idea what's going to move in here, whether it's going to be a Food Depot, or Western Beef again, or some other grocery chain, or something else entirely, like a warehouse.
Western Beef signage just barely visible on the back of the store.
This part of the store has been completely rebuilt, with very nice new stucco and stone textures. You can see the work kind of in progress in this street view from March.
An overview of the back of the store.
There's only one clear remnant from Western Beef I could find at the time...
So it's going to be really interesting to see what comes in here! Whatever it is, the work has been extremely extensive, and the outside is looking really nice. If it's going to be a new Food Depot, I'm sure it'll look great. We'll have to wait and see!
That's all for this store, but don't forget to check out today's other posts in Belleville and Hackettstown!