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new to NYC - shopping advice pls..

Hi all, moving to NYC from the windy city. After much consternation on neighborhoods I've taken a place in the 60s and 3rd (close to office but seemingly empty on ethnic hole in the wall eateries...diff topic). Since I'm new to the area and need to stock a kitchen - am hoping you guys can advise me on the best places for:

Fresh veg/fruit (local organic a big plus)
Fish monger
General grocer
Spice market
Cutlery/tools(in chicago we have Lake Street Cutlery in the restaurant supply district)

My bias tends toward places that are high on ingrediants/product and low on ambiance.

If you have suggestions in departments not listed above pls let me know...I gotta figure this place out somehow.

Thank you very much.

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  1. Hey, p_torres1,

    Welcome to NYC!

    Restaurant supply stores are located downtown on the Bowery.

    In Chelsea Market, on 9th Av., b/t 15th & 16th Sts., there's Bowery Kitchen Supplies.


    Broadway Panhandler, on 8th St., is another good option. They often run sales.


    Kalustyan's, on Lex, b/t 28th & 29th Sts. (on a stretch known as "Curry Hill:), stocks a vast variety of spices. In fact, every nook and cranny is filled with all sorts of wonderful items. If you want a place that's "high on ingredients/product and low on ambiance," you will love Kalustyans!


    I hope your move goes well and that you will participate regularly on this board. :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      great advice. many thanks - I really look forward to exploring the city.
      And yes - actively participating.

      1. re: p_torres1

        Kalustyan's has good spices but is really overpriced (granted, they have Manhattan rent prices). You will save a ton of money by buying them in Jackson Heights where the turnover is high and the prices low. For instance, you save 50% on black pepper. The saving on less common spices are greater. It's the Devon Ave of NYC.

        Taking the F train to 74th/Broadway in Queens will take about 20 minutes. Check out the shops along 74th St north of Roosevelt and on 37th ave/73rd St:
        Patel Brothers, Subzi Mandi, Apna Bazaar are the three larger grocers.

        Nearby is the Pacific Market (Broadway/75th) if you need East Asian goods.

        1. re: p_torres1

          I like Kalustyan's too. As a alternative, another place where you can get decent spices is Penzy's Spice at Grand Central Market (inside of Grand Central Terminal at 42nd street and Park Avenue). I know their selection maybe a little limited at their booth at Grand Central but you can still get most of the basic spices and/or spice blends. While you are there you can pick up their catalog and perhaps order on-line if you wish.

          Here is a link to Penzy's from the Chowhound website:


      2. fellow hound MMRuth compiles excellent lists on this very topic, and lucky for you she's an UES expert!

        and since you'll eventually want to venture South to check out the gems downtown:

        i also heartily second RGR's recommendation for Kalustyan's. it's one of my favorite places.

        oh, and welcome!

        1. To find a greenmarket near you, you can go to the city's farmers' market website -- there's a map. Here's the link: http://www.cenyc.org/greenmarket . By far the best of these is, of course, the Union Square Greenmarket which would only be a short subway trip for you. But there may be a smaller market closer to your neighborhood as well.

          Good luck.

          1. A short ride on the 6 train from 59th/Lex gets you to Canal St--Chinatown... plenty of "hole in the wall" type places there if you do a board search.

            Kam Man market on Canal is good for Asian spices/condiments and they have all sorts of kitchen equipment downstairs. You can stroll to the restaurant supply stores on the Bowery from there.

            Another place for spices is Penzey's in Grand Central market.

            Trader Joe's in on 14th st just off Union Sqaure (near the greenmarket)... check the recent thread on this board for the busy times. Their wine shop is right next door and has lots of good bargains. (no wine/liquor in NY supermarkets in case you didn't know)

            Macy's Herald Square has the Cellar... it is the largest Macy's and there is always a sale if you need general cookware, dishes, etc.

            Pisacane Fish Market 940 First Ave near Sutton place is one of the most highly rated fish mongers in the city.

            There is also Eli's on 3rd and 81st, sort of the East Side version of Zabar's

            Oh, of course Russ and Daughters on Houston st for excellent salmon, lox, whitefish... there is a thread about this too.

            Welcome to the city... be sure to post what you have found, what you like etc

            1. All of the recommendations so far are perfect. But a few places a little closer to home, you can check out Katagiri on 59th between 2nd and 3rd. It's Japanese, but you can get a lot of asian ingredients there. And while it may not be the cheapest place you should also check out the Bridge Market under the 59th st bridge on 1st avenue.

              Kalustyan's is pretty amazing, but sadly it's a little more expensive than you might expect. They truly have everything you could ever need, but some of the "grocery" items are expensive ($3 for a pound of beans?!) If you're willing to travel a little further there's a great indian spice market on 1st avenue between 5th and 6th street on the east side of the avenue.

              Pisacane (1st and 51st) is great, and there's a really nice cheese shop literally next door.

              One thing I think you'll find, the further you get from 5th avenue, the more "residential" things will be. More shops, groceries, etc geared for people who actually live in the hood rather than people dashing out of the office for a haircut, dry cleaners, birthday cards, etc.

              1. Hellooooo Chicago transplant! for cutlery and tools, you live right by the Bed Bath and Beyond, but if you want some good deals, head down 3rd Ave to the Bowery south of Houston and there are LOTS of restaurant supply shops with very durable goods at decent prices. It definitely fits the low on ambiance scale :)

                2 Replies
                1. re: windycity

                  any names of places in the bowery for cutlery/tools/pans...that spring to mind i should pay closer attention to - or is your recommendation just to wander around?

                  1. re: p_torres1

                    Sorry, I just wander around. I do the same thing in the Garment District for clothes - great sample sales, btw. I think there was a NYTimes article that recommended a particular shop: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/din...

                    Bowery Kitchen Supply.

                2. Hi and welcome, hope you love it here!

                  There is a Gourmet Garage right near you -- very good bagels, other bread (Tom Cat, Balthazar), and some arcane ingredients and products, produce, deli, etc.. Not cheap but very good monthly specials.

                  I must differ with the OP who equated Eli's with Zabar's...not! One (Zabar's) is a great and reasonable emporium -- the other (Eli's) is an outrageously expensive food museum.

                  Ideal Cheese is a short walk and one of the best cheese places in the city, also excellent imported cold cuts and Balthazar bread

                  Gourmet Garage
                  301 E64th St. between 1st & 2nd Ave
                  212 535 6271
                  7:30am - 8:30pm

                  Ideal Cheese
                  942 1st Ave (52nd St.)
                  New York, NY 10022-6470
                  (212) 688-7579

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: City Kid

                    It was me, not the OP who mentioned Eli's. They are under the same ownership as Zabar's, and while not the same Eli's is still a nice place with excellent quality foods.
                    OP = original poster

                    1. re: iluvcookies

                      Thanks, iluvcookies...I clearly didn't know what OP meant! I know that Eli's and Zabar's are the same ownership and that Eli's has great stuff, I just never buy there because of the prices.

                      1. re: City Kid

                        From what I understand they aren't exactly the same ownership. Eli Zabar split off from the rest of the family (his brother now, I guess) who owns Zabar's. And I agree with you that they aren't the same. Eli's is very expensive.

                        1. re: LNG212

                          You are so right, just refreshed my recollection: two brothers who know quality food but have very different ideas about pricing. Eli is also E.A.T.

                  2. Although this is the Manhattan board, I also wanted to mention that you are just 1 stop away from Queens (on the N/W line), which gives you access to Astoria and anything on the 7 line (transfer at Queensboro Plaza to the 7), which is foodie heaven! Might be worth looking around the Outer Boroughs board...

                    1. there's gourmet garage right there too, btw
                      64th btwn 1st and 2nd

                      1. All - this a great compilation. thanks again. i look forward to reporting back on what i find....

                        1. complete side note: as a guy who loves his pizza (not chicago pizza) i've been testing out the local favorites. so i went to the highly rated john's recently (not a fan i must say)...and then as i was walking around my new apt i ran into a patsy's and noticed that the menus are nearly identical. Is there a reason for this?