Bodega Food Near Me gets name from common internet search | Downtown Albany

Bodega Food Near Me gets name from common internet search

Bodega Food Near Me gets name from common internet search


A vibrant new bodega that got its name from the common internet search to locate something to eat nearby, Food Near Me features fresh produce, lunch specials, smoothies, and household items. 

Owner and Harlem native Kevin Skeen, 28, moved to the Albany area about a decade ago following in the steps of his grandmother and mother. An entrepreneur at heart, he signed a lease for the location in January 2020, planning to open an eatery to help his grandmother realize her dream of owning a restaurant. Once COVID-19 hit, Skeen transitioned the business model and began work to transform the space to be a more energetic and welcoming convenience store, opening the doors to the community in early May 2021. Inspired by the common online search to find something nearby to eat, the idea to name his bodega Food Near Me sparked after Skeen’s former coworker mentioned having done a search for the phrase while out of town. 

“My dream is to be able to open businesses and give people jobs. My favorite thing in the world is helping people and putting smiles on their faces,“ says Food Near Me Owner Kevin Skeen. “The response from this community has been tremendous, and being able to help out neighbors and Downtown businesses has been an inspiring experience. I want to thank the business owners who helped me open, and I look forward to continuing to pay it forward in the neighborhood and beyond.” 

Food Near Me’s interior features a colorful display of hand-painted bricks and murals, a reflection of Skeen’s love of art and desire to make the business look and feel inviting. The bricks, on two walls, took five days to paint, he estimates; the remaining wall space is home to murals painted by local artists Lateef, Rae Frasier, and Sion. Having chosen a Downtown location to tap into the foot traffic and fill the void left by a lack of convenience store in the immediate area, Skeen pulled from his own experience as a youth living in New York City where bodegas are found on every corner and the expertise of local convenience store owners who helped guide him on the process of opening his own. 

Complete with everything from household items including toilet paper and cleaning products to bulk candy bins, Skeen didn’t lose sight of wanting to help his grandmother’s dream become reality, and as a result many of the food options at Food Near Me come from recipes created by his grandmother, his mother, and himself.  

Among the most popular items are Rasta Pasta, Chopped Cheeseburger, and smoothies, with food options including Caribbean dishes, tacos, and Soul Food. As customer requests come in, Skeen is working to expand what’s available, with fresh packaged meats, Italian ice, ice cream, and a grocery store beer license in the works. A recent partnership with Capital Roots means that fresh produce is available as well, with Skeen looking to expand the fresh food options with an eye toward bringing to Downtown a bodega reminiscent of his youth, which featured barrels of items like strawberries, watermelons, and bananas.  

Located at 87 N Pearl Street, Food Near Me is open Monday-Thursday 8:00 AM-10:00 PM, and Friday-Saturday 8:00 AM-2:00 AM, and closed Sunday. For more information, follow the business on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/foodnearmellc/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FOOD-NEAR-ME-LLC-101969998736247   

Read the full press release here