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Williamsburg grocery shopping

I'm a Manhattan resident moving near Montrose and Leonard and looking for suggestions on where to shop. I've already looked at a couple threads on the list that seemed to devolve into a restaurant discussion. What I really want to know is where I can get my ...

----- DRIED/BULK -----

More than anything, peas, beans, oatmeal, couscous, flax seed and such at a fair price and preferably in bulk. As a point of reference, I used to shop Natural Frontier Market (325 Third Avenue) and Ninth Avenue International Foods (543 Ninth Avenue) as well as Kalustyan's (123 Lexington).

----- PRODUCE -----

GOTTA be something closer than Green Pea (181 Atlantic) or Fairway in Red Hook that's worth going to. Please, help!

----- BUTCHERS -----

This seemed to be the where I would do best. Perhaps the thing to do is ask for what people like best (or to add their own).

- Mario and Sons (662 Metropolitan)
- Lorimer Street Meat Market (620 Lorimer)
- Model T Meats (404 Graham)
- Emily's Pork Shop (426 Graham)

As a point of reference I'm a fan of Esposito & Son's (500 Ninth Avenue) for all things pork and Ottomanelli & Sons (285 Bleecker) for game.

----- FISH -----

I was remarkably inconsistent in who I bought my fish from so I have nothing to offer as guidance, but if you trust them to be fresh and fair, I'm listening.

----- CHEESE -----

I know I can get mozzarella but is there any place that compares to Murray's (254 Bleecker), Ideal Cheese (942 First Avenue), or even Fairway?

I know it's a lot to ask, but any assistance you can offer to help me ease into the nabe will be appreciated more than you'll ever know.

PS - I have an extensive list of sources in Greenpoint so no need to add on to that here, I'm really looking for anything I can find closer by; of course if Greenpoint is the closest I can find what I'm looking for, let me know.

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  1. Everyone knows who has lived in Williamsburg that we have a real lack of a good grocery shopping. Here's what I do...

    BULK- Tops on North 6 is my go to grocery store. They have a bulk area that is separate from the rest of the store but located within the store. Be aware- it has different hours and you pay separately, but they have a good selection of nuts,oats rices, flours etc. Tops is really the only place I will buy fish in the neighborhood. Although admittedly I do not cook fish at home so much, so maybe someone else can chime in. Tops is the best supermarket in the area. their produce is decent and their meat selection has an array of organic and grass-fed options. Don't bother with even trying the C-town or Keyfood. They are pretty bad around here. I'm also not a fan of the Sunac empire either- which is an upscale glorified overpriced deli in my opinion. I only use them if I am really in a jam (they are always open).

    CHEESE- If I need artesinal/fancy cheese I usually go to Bedford Cheese Shop on Bedford Ave. I'm not a huge fan of them, as I feel it's a bit price gaugey and arrogant, but there is really no where else I know of nearby to get impressive cheese and it really is good.

    You may also want to check out Marlow and Sons on Broadway for specialty items and for fun. They sell local veg in season, baked goods and a mixture of local cheeses and dairy products but in my opinion, not very dependable for my 'go-to'. It's quite small and niche'. The McCarren Park Farmers Market is a must on Saturdays. Definitely check that out. Good veg, flowers, Ronneybrook, a cheese vendor, a poultry farm etc. etc. and it seems to be still growing.

    You are in the right hood for meats/fresh mozz and have figured that out. I really like Settapani Bakery as well which is at 602 Lorimer.

    7 Replies
    1. re: malibu

      Thanks for the tips ... I'd heard nothing on these folks (though the farmers market, I was aware of).

      C-Town and Keyfood I figured would get my business for things like soap and paper products, but not likely my meat or produce needs.

      1. re: malibu

        what is the address of the "C-TOWN"?

        1. re: abdiaz85

          There's a C-Town on Graham, just off the corner at Metropolitan Ave. They only have a few things worth buying (Scandinavian flatbread, some Italian items, etc). They have no produce section. It's really not a very good grocery store... mostly canned goods and so on.

          There's also a C-Town on Havermeyer, a few blocks south of Metropolitan, which is somewhat better (but not great).

        2. re: malibu

          Marlow & Sons has announced it will be opening a butcher annex at 95 Broadway (site of the former Tony's barbershop). Apparently, target is a December opening. Expect this to be the best butcher shop in Brooklyn, if not NYC as a whole.

          1. re: sir chowalot

            It is interesting those two decided on a butcher, my friends dad was Tony (rip) and I know a possible wine bar was in the works as well as a possible catering outpost for the lease on the shop.

            1. re: sir chowalot

              anyone know whose meat they will be butchering and any more details? the neighborhood needs something like this no doubt.

              1. re: D Gome

                I found this on eater

                "The folks behind Marlowe and Sons and Diner (along with the Bonita restaurants) have taken their obsession with serving high quality meat to a new level. They're opening up a butcher shop at 95 Broadway in Williamsburg: "The meat itself will come from a variety of local farms and distributors, and from a variety of breeds...Marlow & Sons down the street may divest itself of produce and dry goods and shift the grocery focus to the still unnamed butcher shop." [Brooklyn Based]"

                http://eater.com/archives/2008/09/mar...

          2. I have not been able to find any fishmongers at all.

            Butchers are scarce too. Or at least non-Polish ones. There are about half a dozen amazing Polish butchers, but they only carry a limited selection outside of pork and pork products. You can find Bell and Evans chickens, but so far I have been unable to find stuff like good steaks and lamb products.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sushiman

              For fish - try the Metropolitan Fish Market

              http://www.yelp.com/biz/metropolitan-...

              Their fish is pretty good and def fresher than the selection at Tops. There is also a fishmonger every Saturday at the Farmer's market. Otherwise, I hop on the L and go to the Whole Foods in Union Square.

              Tops has a good selection of Murrays and Bell and Evans chickens and a small selection of organic grass-fed beef. Again, there is a meat guy at the Farmer's Market that has chicken, beef, rabbit, pork and I think lamb. If you are lazy like me, you can join the 8'oclock ranch's meat CSA. Details here:

              http://www.eightoclockranch.com/CSA/i...

              I joined a few months ago and have been very happy. Two things to note: you have to be home for the delivery (they send you the tracking #) and you have to be open minded about the cuts of meat you get. It comes in around $6 a pound and I think it's worth it.

              Also don't dismiss Key Foods too quickly. The one in Greenpoint stocks things like D'Artagnan quail eggs and duck fat next to the Polish specialties.

              Urban Rustic is pretty expensive, but stocks local meat, dairy and veg.

              1. re: robyng

                I 2nd not to discount Key Food thay have the best beer selection around and often have a wide variety of meats available. I wouldn’t purchase my seafood here nor would I say it’s a reasonably prices market. Nor is Garden on Manhattan ave but they do have a nice vegan organic selection when your in a pinch.

            2. -- Mario and Sons is the best butcher. Solid on the basics up to steak. Anything fancy you should ask ahead but you prob have to go back to Manhattan.

              -- Fish I'd only trust the greenmarket. Sadly.

              -- Vegetables you have the Sat McCarren farmer's mkt and the Thurs a.m. market -- summer-fall -- on Havemeyer just S of Broadway. Otherwise there is a Korean vegetable mkt on grand btwn Leonard and Manhattan (just E of the Associated) is surprisingly good. Not great for super-perishable things like lettuce -- try Sunac on Union or farmer's mkt -- but everything else is super-cheap and good. The woman who runs it really does seem to care about her products, which is nice.

              -- Mozzerella you have the lady on Metropolitan just E of Lorimer, across from napoli bakery (also good), and the garage on Leonard, just S of Metro. (bang on the gray wood door) And yes the Bedford Cheese Shop is comparable to Murrays.

              -- Key Food on Grand surprisingly good. Solid on the basics. Some surprising Italian items -- e.g. cheap bella san marzano tomatoes, good pancetta in the deli -- and other odds/ends -- e.g. bialys that I've actually come to prefer to kossar's (which always seem hard to me).

              -- Trader Joe's on Metropolitan in Queens/Ridgewood not that far if you have a car, particularly from where you are.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Jack Barber

                Jack,
                Thanks for the great lists, as always. I went by the garage on Leonard, and the guy ducked into the walk-in fridge for my smoked mozz. It didn't taste that fresh. You think there's a possibility he sized me up for a sucker and pawned off an old one? And if so, any way around that? Also, you dont happen to know the name of that rotisserie chicken joint that trumps Pio Pio, do you?
                Thanks!

                1. re: tupideville

                  Not sure on the mozz. (Purveyor's name is Pecoraro I am reminded via another post.) Sorry you had a bad experience. The guy has always seemed pretty straight-up to me, not the type to foist off old cheese on you or anyone. (In fact when I've bought it he often scoops it out the the water and/or it's still warm in the brown bag.)

                  My only two thoughts are 1) I don't believe he makes cheese on Fri, if that's the day you stopped by; and 2) I don't like smoked mozz, and have never bought it from him or anyone, so I can't really speak to it vs. fresh mozz, maybe the smoked is just not that good there.

                  Georgia Tedone's smoked mozz around the corner always looks fresh, and her regular mozz is perfectly good -- if $1 more expensive! -- so maybe try there as well.

                  The chk place is La Vega. It's just S of Grand on Lorimer -- I think the first block but could be the second -- E side of the street (across from the gas station). Address not Googleable, at least at my skill level, although the joint does get some similar love in the comments of this 2.5-yr-old Gothamist post. http://gothamist.com/2006/01/09/ode_t...

                  It's not all that, not destination dining by any means, but I do think it's better than Pio, at least the Gpnt branch, and it's certainly cheaper. We live nearby and often need something quick to feed children. Leftovers make great fried rice (Bittman recipe), burritos, and chk salad. Etc.

                  You can occasionally get a dry one if you're not watching so don't be shy to indicate (within reason) the bird you want.

              2. Thanks everyone. I'm in the process of creating a map for myself but please feel free to bookmark it and if you can figure out how to collaborate, so much the better.

                http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&...

                By the way, La Vega is here on Chowhound (if briefly
                )http://www.chow.com/places/37043
                I have also included it on my map.

                The map will be an evolving thing and will include places outside the immediate area (Jacques Torres Chocolates in DUMBO, for example). If you don't see a place on it you think should be included, or a place on it that shouldn't be, don't get mad just let me know.