10 Specialty Grocery Stores That Actually Inspire Us to Eat at Home
You know—and love—that this town is a global dining destination. But what many people don’t realize is that it’s one of the best cities to dine in as well. From neighborhood institutions to superstores that feel like theme parks, NYC is full of specialty grocery stores with some of the best meats, cheeses, provisions and produce around. Whether you’re looking for imported goods or local, sustainable fare, these shops will inspire your inner Ina Garten. (Jeffrey, unfortunately, not included.)
An NYC institution, the iconic Tudor building with the orange logo has been serving Manhattan’s Upper West Side since 1934, when Louis and Lillian Zabar first opened their doors. Aside from the grocery (known for its smoked fish, baked goods, coffee and cheese), Zabar’salso has a kitchen and housewares section on the second floor as well as a café next door, usually filled with octogenarians. The shop claims to have caused, and won, the “Caviar Wars” in the ’80s, so you know where to find fish eggs for a steal.
What to buy: Zabar’s merch, rugelach, caviar
2245 Broadway; zabars.com
DEAN & DELUCA
Part tourist attraction, part neighborhood hub, Dean & DeLuca is a great place to grab a coffee, buy some truffles or run into a celebrity. Before growing into the behemoth it is now—with locations as far-flung as Hawaii, Singapore and Kuwait—the company began in 1977 as an Italian import business in Soho. The owners claim they were the first to bring radicchio stateside, and the store continues to be a destination for specialty produce outside of farmers-market season. Along with its well-stocked provisions, you’ll find cheese-, charcuterie-, coffee- and fish-of-the-month subscriptions; catering; gift baskets and a fast-casual food situation. And the proprietors continue to add to the culture of the neighborhood by sponsoring the Prince Street podcast.
What to buy: Olive oil, gifts, specialty produce
Multiple locations; deandeluca.com
Murray Greenberg opened his Greenwich Village shop in 1940—and it has grown into the cheese purveyor of New York City. Carrying arguably the most comprehensive cheese selection this side of the Atlantic, this is the place to find pretty much any type of domestic or international fromage, including several varieties aged in Murray’s own cheese caves. (Try the impossibly creamy Greensward.) The staff is happy to make recommendations, and you’ll also find a comprehensive cheese pairing guide on the website. Murray’s is also known for its catering and classes, including the infamous Boot Camp, a three-day-longimmersive crash course in all things cheese. For a sit-down meal, visit the cheese bar a couple storefronts down from the Greenwich Village flagship, or even book a cheese-themed party (the dream) in its new private event space, The Leroy Room.
What to buy: Domestic cheese, truffles, classes
Multiple locations; murrayscheese.com
What started as a chorizo factory in Jackson Heights, Queens, has now become a venerable Spanish importer. The Soho flagship features a cheese counter with more than 50 varieties of cheese and a meat counter stocked with jamón ibérico, serrano ham, morcilla and chorizo. The pantry section, meanwhile, features staples like tinned fish, almond paste, olive oil and sherry vinegar. The Soho location offers jamón-carving classes, as well as “Paella Saturdays” in the summer. Next door, a teeny wine shop carries more than 600 kinds of Spanish wine. Compared with more well-known spots like Dean & DeLuca and Eataly, the adjacent tapas café feels like a sanctuary in bustling Soho.
What to buy: jamón, Cola Cao hot chocolate mix, Marcona almonds
408 Broome St.; despanabrandfoods.com
Winner of the James Beard American Classics Award, Sahadi’s has been bringing Middle Eastern and North African goods to Brooklyn Heights since 1948. Three generations in, the shop still carries essentials like rose water, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and hard-to-find Lebanese and Syrian cheeses. A lot of the store is dedicated to bulk goods, as well as prepared foods like hummus and stuffed grape leaves. (We don’t suggest leaving without either.)
What to buy: Karoun labne, Saifan olive oil, harissa
187 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn; sahadis.com
As far as specialty markets go, Eataly might as well be the Disney of the grocery world. More amusement park than grocery store, Eataly does sell food, but there’s a big emphasis on in-store entertainment. Each location houses multiple restaurants and counters within the store, ranging from a rooftop beer garden to fast-casual ravioli bowls. Eataly employees are impressive in their own right: They include winners of the Cheesemonger Invitational and Caputo Cup pizza competition. (Also, never forget the innovation of the “vegetable butcher” counter.) Eataly has more than 40 locations worldwide, including the Flatiron and FiDi spots.
What to buy: Specialty produce, fresh pasta, prosciutto, Lidia Bastianich merch
Multiple locations; eataly.com
RUSS & DAUGHTERS
Fourth-generation, family-owned Russ & Daughters is as New York as it gets. The shoebox-sized appetizing shop (not a deli!) has lines that wrap around the corner for both its revered reputation and its hand-sliced smoked fish. Russ & Daughters also bakes its own bagels, bialys, shissel rye bread, pumpernickel, challah, babka, black-and-white cookies and knishes. A staggering 18,000-square-foot location will soon open in the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a production kitchen, bakery, retail counter and private event space.
What to buy: sablefish, bialys, Dr. Brown’s soda
179 E. Houston St.; russanddaughters.com
CAMPBELL & CO.
Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, is saturated with specialty shops, but Campbell & Co. shines thanks to its dedication to carrying small-batch local goods. Order a ready-to-eat meal from the café menu, which includes bacon and fig jam breakfast biscuits as well as cheesemonger boards. Or surprise your foodie friends with custom gift combos, because sometimes gift baskets aren’t one-size-fits-all. The craft beer and cider selection is also noteworthy, so grab a few bottles to go, along with some of the homemade whitefish.
What to buy: custom gifts, chocolate, cheese
502 Lorimer St., Brooklyn; campbellandco.nyc
THE MEAT HOOK
With a heavy focus on ethos, customer education and having fun, the Meat Hook has been supplying North Brooklyn with grass-fed and -finished meats for nine years. Located in its own brick-and-mortar on Graham Avenue since 2016, the neighborhood grocer also offers local and seasonal produce, pantry items, cheese and craft beer—and it’s one of the first shops in New York City to sell cult-fave sparkling water Topo Chico. In addition to the butcher shop, there’s also a restaurant at Threes Brewing in Gowanus and wholesale sausages online.
What to buy: “Trashy” sausage, Topo Chico, Nixtamal tortilla chips
397 Graham Ave., Brooklyn; the-meathook.com
This beloved Japanese market is here for you. Need a quick bite? Takeout bento boxes await.Looking for your afternoon sugar fix? The Japanese candy selection is extensive and mesmerizing. Thinking about attempting some at-home kimchi? The produce section regularly stocks staples like daikon radishes. Also, just in case you lost one of your Hello Kitty chopsticks, you can always restock in the dishware aisle. With three locations in Manhattan and a brand-new outpost inside Industry City’s Japan Village, you’re never too far from a mini trip to Tokyo.
What to buy: Matcha KitKats, miso, frozen udon
Multiple locations; sunrisemart-ny.com