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Lowering the grocery bill.

In an effort to save money, I have been cooking at home more often. But I still end up spending a lot on food. I was complaining to a guy about it & he said,"If you know where to shop, food in NYC is cheaper than in other parts of the country." I asked him where to go, he said I should talk to his wife about it b/c she's the expert, but he mentioned Chinatown & the Union Sq Market. I won't be meeting up with them any time soon, so I was wondering where you guys go for food bargains.

Are there certain supermarket chains that have better prices than others? Are there special places you go for bargains on produce, cheese (my fave thing in the world), chocolate, seafood, ethnic supplies etc?

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    1. You can't beat East Village Cheese Market on 9th street and 3rd Avenue. I stock up all the time there.

      1. I love this topic. I guess it depends on what neighborhood you live/work in and how far you are willing to travel. I work downtown and live on the UES, so I try to get most of my produce in Chinatown or this tiny hole-in-the-wall place in my neighborhood. IMO, Union Square is definitely good, but it's not cheap. I've recently discovered Morton Williams and think their prices and selection are better than the typical Gristedes and Food Emporium (specifically the MW on 57th Street and also the one on 2nd and 48th or so), so I try to pick things up whenever I'm in those areas. Trader Joes gets a lot of attention on this board (positive and negative) - again, a place to keep in mind when you're in the area (assuming it's not over the weekend or anytime between 6pm and 9pm) when the only thing it's good for is making you want to kill someone.

        4 Replies
        1. re: RussianGirl

          Hi Russian Girl,
          I also live in the UES, what is this hole-in-the-wall you are talking about?

          1. re: Little Cupcake

            It's literally a hole in the wall on 2nd Ave between 62nd and 63rd, right next to Chicken Kitchen. The variety varies from day to day, so I usually just stop on my way home from work and get whatever looks decent. Let me know if you go :)

          2. re: RussianGirl

            Depends for the greenmarket - some things are crazy expensive (meat, cheese, bread, etc), but in-season produce tends to be pretty cheap. When everyone there has buckets and buckets of, say, apples in September, prices drop.

            1. re: Emmmily

              I agree, Emmmily. I think it also depends on which greenmarket you go to. Union Square is a "destination" market, and in my opinion, the prices reflect that. I go to the neighborhood greenmarkets on the UWS (my favorite is 97th Street) which, while smaller, most often have much better prices.

          3. For Produce:
            Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market.

            For Seafood:
            Sea Breeze Fish Market, 541 Ninth Ave. @ 40th St

            For Meat:
            Esposito & Sons Meat Market, 500 Ninth Ave. @ 38th St.
            Fairway
            Western Beef

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hurner

              I have to say that for produce, Manhattan Fruit Exchange cannot be beat. I have walked out of there with a full bag of fruit and veggies for only $10.

            2. West Side Market on 110th and Broadway has some cheap produce. Quality is up and down, much like most other places.

              Cheese, DiPalo for quality(usually)/price. I don't understand peoples' fascination with Murray's.

              EV Cheese market buys inventory that is near/post expiration and you can tell.
              Certain cheeses this is fine for, many, the quality is bad and it is obvious.
              Prices are lower than most though, again, sometimes they are worth zero.

              If you are sensitive to cheese quality, then what you buy makes a big difference. If, like most people, you buy a fresh cheese that has been sitting for days and don't care, then, you have more choice.

              Oh, that Westside Market on 110th will have some cheese on sale, sometimes quite cheap but again, certain types are terrible(parm reg, my word, I am still angry about it), some decent enough(a few bries) to be worth the price and more.

              Mostly, you are screwed for good produce, in general, and certainly without paying, what I consider, high prices in Manhattan.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dietndesire

                ah! I bought grated parm from this westside the other day and it was entirely flavorless. I picked up some from Fairway today and it is so much better