The vacant former Toys R Us store on Route 58 will be renovated as a LiDL discount grocery store. Photo: Denise Civiletti

A LiDL supermarket is in the works at the former Toys ‘R’ Us building on Route 58.

The deep-discount Germany-based grocer has filed a site plan application with the Riverhead planning department to convert the 35,000-square-foot retail store to a supermarket. LiDL anticipates opening in 2021, according to the application.

Like rival German discount grocer Aldi, most of LiDL’s offerings — about 80% — are private-label products.

LiDL operates more than 11,000 stores in 32 countries. It opened its first U.S. store in 2017.

Rendering of proposed LiDL supermarket at the former Toys R Us site.
Source: Riverhead planning department file

In November 2018, LiDL announced its purchase of Best Market’s 24 stores on Long Island, as well as three in New York City and one in New Jersey. Before the acquisition, LiDL operated 59 supermarkets in the U.S. LiDL said at the time it planned a step-by-step transition process beginning in 2019 that would involve the remodeling, reinvestment and reflagging of Best Market stores to converted Lidl stores. In December, LiDL celebrated the grand opening of its first two Long Island stores — former Best Market locations in West Babylon and Center Moriches.

The new LiDL site is owned by a limited liability company controlled by Raymour & Flanigan, the Liverpool, New York furniture chain that bought the property in April 2019. The company filed preliminary plans for a retail store with the planning department, but then backed out.

The Toys ‘R’ Us store closed in April 2018 after the chain went into bankruptcy in September 2017.

The store was originally built as a specialty supermarket, Gamaldi’s Meat Way, in the early 1990s. It closed after just a few years and the site was sold to Toys ‘R’ Us in 1995.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.