HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


The Kings of Food?

Hi There,

I'm an illustration student doing a series of paintings depicting the "Kings and Queens" of traditional food in NYC. Basically, people who still make food on-site, by hand, in traditional ways.

So far i'm painting Sikorski (the Polish butcher shop in Greenpoint), Roccos (hand-piped canolli in Greenwich Village). I was thinking Guss' Pickles ? Junior's Cheescake?

The thing is, the person needs to be alive, so I can go and talk with them, and take their picture (the King or Queen who I will paint ) ... so Juniors Cheescake may not work .. is there still a "Junior?"

I need some more. Any suggestions? A Bagel King, a Bread Queen ?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. there are two kings of pork in greenwch village: ottomanelli and faicco.

    3 Replies
    1. re: steve h.

      King of Pork? Sounds good. Are these guys butchers? What do they make (by hand in traditional ways)


      1. re: steve h.

        Ottomanelli, Barny Greengrass, Russ & Daughters, Alleva, DiPaulo . . the old shops of NYC. These are where you will find the kings and queens of NYC. Places where families have shopped for years and years and generations.

        Check out the book " The Historic Shops & Restaurants of New York."

      2. You mentioned Guss, but there's also The Pickle Guys on Essex:


        And maybe a Chinese dumpling place, or Soba-koh?

        1. How about Yonah Schimmel's Knishes? Yonah is not alive, but the current owner, Alex Volfman, still makes them by hand. (In Arthur Schwartz's "New York City Food," there's a picture of Volfman holding a tray of knishes on P. 145.)

          Another possibility is Kossar's Bialys. Acc. to their website, they're the oldest bialy bakery in the US. (Opened in 1927.) I have no idea who owns it, but the bialys are hand-made -- and delicious!

          1 Reply
          1. re: RGR

            Great idea! I went there today and met his daughter. Thanks!

          2. How about Dominick of DiFara's pizza in Brooklyn?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Beau711

              Great! I was wondering which Pizza King I should focus on. Thanks!

            2. The Lemon Ice King of Corona, Peter Benfaremo.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Joe MacBu

                Now we're talking! Hope he's still in business with the cold weather coming in. Thanks for the tip!

              2. NYC tradition? or Any tradition?
                does sushi making count? yasuda? hehe

                Chinatown ice cream factory?

                1 Reply
                1. re: DarthEater

                  Sushi is good! Yasuda? I'll check it out... thanks!

                2. The grizzled and venerated counterstaff at Mei Lei Wah Coffee Shop on Bayard (b. Elizabeth and Mott Streets). Many's the day I've done some sketches of my own of those ancient coffeepots and big steamed buns behind dim glass, only to raise more than a few quizzical eyebrows. Have fun.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Polecat

                    Grizzled is good! (good for sketching at least) thanks for the tip!

                  2. Absolute Bagels on 107th and Broadway. Thai owned and run but just ask Ed Levine, this guy learned from the masters of old. Arguably the best bagels in Manhattan.
                    Also, Dominics of Arthur Ave. Go to Madonia Bakery while your there for another Canoli experience.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mattbrown23

                      Thanks so much. I needed a Bagel guy. much appreciated!

                      1. re: sroberts209

                        Ess-A-Bagel. 21st Street and 1st Ave. IMHO best bagels in NYC. Also check out the recent beef jerky thread for New Beef King in Chinatown. Good luck, sounds like a terrific project.

                    2. the times just did this piece on the east village ukrainian women who make their dumplings still by hand at the Ukrainian Catholic Church http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/nyr...