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Penzeys?

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I used to go to the Penzeys in Grand Central Market all the time. Went back the other week and it was closed!!! The website implies that they may be opening another NYC location sometime soon. Anyone have any intel on this? I would love to know if I should wait for the store or place a big order soon. Thanks!

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Penzeys Spices
Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY 10017

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  1. Yes, I like their vanilla and some other things and it was a convenient location. Wonder why they closed - you'd think Penzey's would want to make sure they had at least one retail store in NYC. Have you bought anything from the replacement spice store?

    1. Yes, it's a complete bummer they closed. I got to where for many spices I preferred them to Kalustyan's even.

      On the potential upside, a new spice shop just opened --- in the very same spot as Panzey's. However, it's a very different business and setup. Spices are sold fresh from small bins. At what look to be higher prices and with a much more limited selection. They also are selling teas and such. I want my Penzey's back.

      1. If you're willing to drive, there is a Penzey's out in West Nyack, which I'll be visiting on my way to cut down a Christmas tree. It is a shame that Penzey's closed. They had a top-notch selection and really competitive prices. For only a small premium, their Sichuan peppercorns were far more potent than anything I ever bought in Chinatown.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JungMann

          Definitely agree about the Sichuan peppercorns, for superior to Kalustyan's and the Ctown grocery stores. I'm lucky I have a bunch already. Hopefully their mail order is fairly reasonable.

          1. re: ChiefHDB

            What's the quality difference (overall) between Penzey's and Kalustyan? I moved to DFW and I miss Kalustyans, but they do have a Penzey's however I haven't visited that store yet. I picked up some herbs/spices from a high-end grocer called Central Market but was very disappointed with some items (ground ginger and sumac in particular). The sumac and ginger I bought at Kalustyan was very nice and vibrant but what I bought at central market was one step above sawdust scraped up from a dirty floor.

            Kalustyan's ships, but with Penzey's a half hour away I'm wondering if they're a good replacement. Any words of wisdom from people who have used both would be appreciated.

            1. re: alkonost

              I would say Penzey's is equal in quality to Kalustyan's but a far better value. The sumac I used to get from them had a very vibrant flavor, as did their Aleppo pepper. Their latter, in fact, is better than the pepper I would otherwise buy from my Middle Eastern Market.

        2. If you do go to the Palisades Mall park and enter near Best Buy, once inside (turn left with Best Buy to your right) you will be very close to Penzeys.

          1. I emailed them via their website to gripe (and encourage others too as well). They wrote back that they'd like to open back up in NYC, but had no specific plans to do so. They've opened up a new store in Summit, NJ as well, so i'll have to hit up my NJ family when i need refills.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rose water

              Sad news indeed. I loved that you could purchase various sizes of the herbs and spices. The service was pretty good too. It will be missed.

            2. I bit the bullet and placed an order online, and I was so mad because a) I had to pay shipping, which is just annoying, and b) I of course forgot like 3 things I needed when I placed the order, so I was left wanting a bunch more stuff, but because of (a), can't bring myself to order again. Maybe all of us in NYC can put an order together and when they realize they need to ship 500 bags of peppercorns, they'll think it's more efficient to just open another store!! :)

              1. They are also opening up in the Millburn/short Hills NJ area. Additionally there is a Penzeys that I go to in Huntington.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nycsteve

                  There's one that's open now in downtown Summit, NJ, which might be the one nycsteve is referring to--I don't think there would be one in Millburn too. Anyway, it's a nice-looking and roomy spot, if anyone is looking to head west for spices!

                2. And their spices came in the nicely labeled and convenient small bottles. For some spices, like aleppo pepper or sumac, you could buy those in even smaller jars, thus buying them more frequently and fresher, they had some very good spice combinations and rubs (most salt free), their prices were great and the quality excellent and and and........

                  1. I have ordered spices from Penzey's for over 20 years. When I have lived in cities with stores I have purchased there as well. I think the mail order spices are often the freshest...so for the cost of shipping I get a better product. My experience...

                    1. I was also sad to see Penzey's leave GCT. Thankfully I have a good stock of spices to last through the next year.
                      Even with shipping costs if you have to mail order, Penzey's prices are still better than the average grocery store price for McCormick-type spices. Especially for things like peppercorns and cinnamon (if you buy the larger bags). I love giving a few jars as gifts, and now it will be a lot harder for me to grab that last-minute hostess gift on the way to the train.

                      1. A year later and still no Penzey's store in New York City - you have to go to Long Island or New Jersey to find one. Why do they have a store in Summit, NJ, and not the Big Apple? Beats me.

                        Now in Grand Central Market is Spices and Tease, which "offers over 70 original spices and seeds, 180 exotic imported teas, 30 varieties of homemade spice blends, 18 different types of peppers, 13 types of gourmet salt and 25 herbs and botanical plants." But their selection is not like Penzey's, which offers 4 types of cinnamon plus several blends - S&T has one.

                        1. The Penzeys replacement store, Spice and Teas, in Grand Central is a mess. First they had the spices in open, wooden bins with a large plastic panel over it. It was easy to see how sloppy this idea is: the spices end up getting mixed up with each other every time the panel is opened and spices scooped out and dumped into paper bags of all things. Probably the worst thing to put ground spices into. If not already stale from sitting in open bins the spices have no chance is paper.
                          I see they now have adjusted the bin situation and put the spices in open bowls! Who is running this place?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chervil9

                            And on top of everything else unlike the previous two tenants the place is always deserted no matter when you go. The layout is really terrible as you described. I kind of get why they do it for the winter holiday market at Union Square but even there it seems pointless to actually buy spices for culinary use that are sitting out uncovered on a pedestal all day like some kind of potpourri. Bring back Penzey's! For that matter bring back Adrianna's Caravan (now THAT was a fabulous store).

                          2. Just FYI Penzey's has free shipping on orders over $30. I placed an order yesterday and it was way too easy to hit $30 :)

                            1. My response is not really relevant, but having moved from the NY/NJ area, I've been amazed at how many spice shops are in the Denver area. They. Are. EVERYWHERE. (Including 6 Penzey's within a 100-mile or so radius.) One of the local chains from this area even has an out-of-state location ... in New Jersey.

                              I'm trying to find out why this is the case. Back home in Jersey, and even when I'd go into NYC, spice shops are few and far between.

                              1. I was in the Summit NJ store over the holidays, and asked them when they'd be coming back to NYC. The guy working there was hopeful they'd be back, but it doesn't seem that there's any specific plan.

                                1. If you are looking for spices by the pound, I recommend Sullivan Street Tea nad Spice Co. I just stumbled on them. Not sure how the prices compare, but it is the only shop in the City that i know of where you can get whatever amount of spice you want, so it definitely can be a cost savings. http://www.yelp.com/biz/sullivan-stre...