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Grocery Store in East Village?

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I recently moved to a summer sublet on 3rd st. near 2nd ave. and wonder if anyone has insider tips to grocery shopping. I don't do an extensive amount of cooking but do need things like fresh breads, some produce, cheeses, some meats, etc. Whole Foods is 3 blocks away at Houston and is nice, but I'm curious as to where others in the area suggest.

I've had Food Emporium and St. Mark's Market recommended. Thoughts? Other ideas?

When mentioning places, do provide a sense of how it compares to Whole Foods price/quality wise, if possible.

Thanks!

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  1. There is a Met Market at 7th Street and 2nd Avenue that is OK for staples and brand name items. The produce and meat/seafood there is mediocre in quality. I always wonder how long the stuff they have in stock has been sitting around. They close too early for me, usually 7 or 8pm. The prices are pretty good, and a lot of senior citizens seem to shop there, for what it's worth.

    I really like that Whole Foods on Bowery and Houston St. is open until 11pm for specialty, organic, hard to find, etc. items and beautiful product. The cheese section is also quite extensive. On the expensive side, but usually good quality, and I typically buy most of my seafood from there. Or if they're having a sale on something, I stock up on meats/poultry, and freeze them.

    St. Mark's Market is pretty good and for a random Korean deli-style supermarket they have typically quality, some organic items, and some obscure Asian items, too, and are open 24/7. The prices are higher and their meat/poultry/seafood never looks that great to me, but the produce/herb section is nice (I think they actually have a pretty high turnover rate), and so is the rest of the refrigerated section. They have Tom Cat bread, too, and a variety of rolls, etc. It works in a pinch when you need cereal, bread, milk, etc because it's open all the time. The staff is really nice and friendly, and remember their regulars.

    There is also a farmer's market in Tompkins Square Park on Sundays, from, like 10am-4pm. Union Square Greenmarket is 8a-6pm and a short walk away; it's open Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays.

    I prefer to get my milk and fruits and vegetables from the Greenmarket. Other fruits and vegetables and meats/poultry/seafood I get from Whole Foods. Met Market and St. Marks Market fill in the gaps for bread, cereal, frozen items, etc. And if I'm missing something (like, I'm out of eggs), it's usually popping into St. Marks Market.

    And there's always FreshDirect, too.

    1. Whole Foods is ridiculously expensive. If you head a few blocks east over into Alphabet City, you can find the exact same things for a Whole Lot less. Not the chi chi stuff, but the basics you were looking for, anyway. There's a Fine Fare on 3rd and C that caters to the old school working class residents and not the newbies who don't know when they're being ripped off.

      1. in addition to the tompkins square market mentioned below, there is a great italian grocery called russos on 11th street between 1st and 2nd ave. they have lovely mozzerella, sausages, fresh and frozen pastas of every variety. good olives.
        as for bakeries, you have to go to the city bakery oupost which is on 1st ave at 13th street to get something decent. that pinisi bakery on 4th street is terrible and whole foods bakery is really only average.