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Nov 25, 2013 06:38 AM

Sahadi's closed on Sunday

Family came in from Pennsylvania yesterday to shop and it was closed. I usually go on Friday so I had no idea. Is this new?

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  1. Sahadi's has never been open on Sunday as far as I know. It's a family-run operation and the owner has reserved Sundays for family as far back as I can remember. Damascus Bakery is still open on the same block if you're making a Sunday stop.

      1. re: Steve R

        Wow. I guess I have always seen them open during the Atlantic Antic and never realized. Well, good for them. Thank you.

        1. re: psnative

          Yes, that is correct. They are open one Sunday a year.

      2. How about the two places across the street? Malko and ??? I can't remember.
        Then again, I prefer Damascus. He's got most of the same offerings (without the hype) plus the most divine spinach and meat pies.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Motosport

          im afraid i cant let that comment go, in case people have no been to both establishments before . . .

          Damascus is great for some things, notably the baked goods. sure, they have some olives, spices and spreads (i am unforunately addicted to their amazing baba ghanoush which has an incredibly spicy quality to it).

          that said they dont have anywhere close to what sahadis has in terms of bulk dried fruit and nuts, dairy, other prepared options. A trip to either usually entails a trip to both, for me, but the only way "most of the same offerings" would be accurate is to say that i can find about 90% of what damascus sells at sahadis, but considerably less than that (<60%?) of what sahadis sells is available at damascus.

          1. re: tex.s.toast

            Maybe I should have said "most of the same middle eastern offerings."
            Sahadi has filled their store with all sorts of non middle eastern products which is a good thing. I am thrilled at their success and longetivity. They have been around since I was a child.
            If you are looking for a Syrian/Lebanese spice, dairy product, bakery item etc. you will be able to find it at Damascus or one of the places across the street.
            If you are looking for candy or Indian specialties Sahadi will have it.

          2. re: Motosport

            The other place is Oriental Pastry & Grocery, I believe. Good selection of Middle Eastern products. Their kaak is noticeably richer and less sweet than at Damascus.

            1. re: JungMann

              In the Summer one of those places across from Sahadi has the most amazing pistachio ice cream.

          3. The family member who grew up around there swears Sahadi was opened on Sunday but I think he's talking about the '70's or getting them confused with Malko which is mainly where our family shopped on Sunday after mass at St. Connie's on State Street.

            4 Replies
            1. re: psnative

              Just to the left of Sahadi and downstairs below the street was the best Syrian bread bakery ever. Their ovens were actually below the sidewalk. It was called the Near East Bakery. I remember stopping by after church at Our Lady of Lebanon and getting fresh, still warm bread. They also sold sesame bread rings. I'd get one and eat it on the way home.
              Ask your family member if he remembers it. They probably closed in the mid 60's.

              1. re: Motosport

                I remember that place very well. We loved their meat and spinach pies, which they made in a huge oven (looked like one you'd find in a pizzeria, IIRC) that caused sweltering, hellish temperatures in the summer. Never seemed to bother the guy(s) behind the counter, though. And it certainly didn't bother the customers, who were there in large numbers, at least whenever I went.

                Every time I walk by that staircase I think of that place. We used to go every week or two for the pies and whatever else caught our eye at the moment. They made some terrific stuff.

              2. re: psnative

                I'm not sure about the 70s, but I remember reading an interview in one of the newspapers with Charlie Sahadi some years ago. The reporter asked him about opening on Sundays, and Charlie's reply was to the effect that he would not open on Sunday, now or in the future. He thought (probably still thinks) that Sunday is a day for family, and that everyone deserves at least one day a week off.

                If memory serves, he also said that eventually the ownership of the store will pass to his offspring, and then it will be their decision.

                Since we're kind of wandering down memory lane here (or at least I am), I also recall when you could purchase all the herbs and spices from large jars (like the nuts and candies now) and buy as much or as little as you'd like. You could buy, say, a quarter's worth of whatever spice or dried herb you might want. I'm pretty sure it was his offspring who finally convinced him to package the herbs and spices into the plastic containers he uses now. Still great bargains, though, and it does speed shopping there along.

                1. re: BrookBoy

                  It wasn't THAT long ago that the spices were in the big glass jars. I walked in there in the Fall of 2000 to get cinnamon to make my Thanksgiving apple pie.

                  The guy asked how much I wanted and naive of their fantastic prices said "$2 worth." Remember, I was used to the prices of a McCormicks jar of spice from the supermarket.

                  He asked me if I worked in a restaurant or something because $2 would buy enough cinnamon to last a household for a lifetime.

                  Soon after that they switched from the glass jars to the plastic bins they use now. I asked why and Charlie told me that the lips of the glass jars where chipping and he didn't want to send a customer home with a sliver of glass in their food. It was soon after I think that the spices moved to the pre-packaged clamshells.

                  Speaking of which, the clamshells, while convenient and still a great value, bum me out because I rarely use even a 1/4 of the spice before a year's gone by and in my opinion the flavor has faded and it should be tossed. I'd pay the same price (usually ~$2) for 1/4th the spice.

              3. I cant tell you how many times I've decided to finally check out Sahadi's only to realize its a Sunday. Ok, it happened about 3 times, but seems like a lot to me.

                Is the Hummus and babaganush in Sahadi's as good as advertised? What exactly do you buy there?

                3 Replies
                1. re: Ziggy41

                  I don't like the hummus or baba ghanouj at Sahadi's. Both have a heavy hand with the tahini and while the spicy hummus is hot, it is kind of flat tasting. In general I greatly prefer the prepared food at Damascus, particularly when it comes to baba ghannouj, but I wouldn't turn down Sahadi's grape leaves with lamb, taramasalata, fried kibbeh or cheese mana'eesh, particularly when the latter is fresh from the oven.

                  Mostly I shop Sahadi's for Middle Eastern groceries: molokhia, baby okra, foul mudammas, pickled eggplants, bulgur, ajvar, etc., but they do have very good prices on cheese, pate, olive oils, dry goods and spices so I'll sometimes load my cart up with those as well. Not a place I would travel out of my way for to stock up on star anise, jordan almonds and mozzarella, but it's nice that they're there and reasonably priced when I also need ingredients for kousa mahshi.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    the "special hot" and zataar breads at sahadis are also really good (especially straight out of the oven). i like the labneh as well, but like JungMann, for baba ghanouj im all about Damascus.

                  2. re: Ziggy41

                    That happens to me at Kossar's Bialys. I seem to end up there on Saturday morning to get my bialy fix. Oops!! Strict Kosher and closed on the Sabbath.