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Fat Guy

Your neighborhood NYC grocery store

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What's your neighborhood grocery store? Let's compare notes on the good, the bad and the ugly. I've just moved in next to a Fine Fare, which I'd never heard of before but apparently it's a 60+ store regional chain, with a website and everything. I'l l need to do some exploring. It actually looks kind of nice from outside.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Funnily enough, the first supermarket I went to regularly as a kid back in Scotland was called Fine Fare. Was a fairly big chain at the time (early 80s) but is now defunct.

Down here in the Financial District, we go to Jubilee Market on John Street most days. Some items are pricey (although often not as bad as the local Gristedes). It's small, but always seems to have what you need. The butcher is pretty decent (esp the Italian Sausages, not sure if they are made in house or not). I've had less luck with the fishmonger - the chap is grumpy and the fish is often not the freshest.

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I luckily can do most of my shopping at the Red Hook fairway, but I do have a Associated food market about 2 blocks away that is great to pick up odds and ends. I would never buy any of their meats, but they do have a good selection of mexican products, specifically dairy and produce.


John Deragon

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Living here in Lancaster County Pennsylvania I see lots of Amish. I looked at the website for this place and I can tell you that the Amish here have nothing like that. Those NYC Amishmen must be from a different sect or something. Those Anabaptists are a diverse lot I guess.

It seems like the kind of place I'd be happy to shop at. I hope these Lancaster County Amishmen open someplace like that soon.

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Since they built a Whole Foods on Columbus and 97th or so, I guess that's my local now. I still mostly prefer Fairway, though. Maybe I'm spoiled that I'm used to buying fish and seafood at Fairway and Citarella, but the WF product is distinctly inferior.


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I have a Food Emporium across the street. It's awful... Simply awful. If you're ever looking for a bright green/sprouting potato, this is the place to go. I also have a Gristede's downstairs in the building... it's even worse...

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Down here in the Financial District, we go to Jubilee Market on John Street most days. Some items are pricey (although often not as bad as the local Gristedes). It's small, but always seems to have what you need. The butcher is pretty decent (esp the Italian Sausages, not sure if they are made in house or not). I've had less luck with the fishmonger - the chap is grumpy and the fish is often not the freshest.

Jubilee is terrible and their meat I would put about one step above Gristedes and still 10 steps away from my plate. If you’re up for an extra couple block walk from there a new place that opened up in battery park called Battery Place Markets (http://batteryplacemarkets.com/) they have some pretty great stuff and some extremely hard to find ingredients. They finally started stocking raw meats to include amazing kobe and wagu from snake river farms. I’d def check them out if your downtown.

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What's your neighborhood grocery store? Let's compare notes on the good, the bad and the ugly. I've just moved in next to a Fine Fare, which I'd never heard of before but apparently it's a 60+ store regional chain, with a website and everything. I'l l need to do some exploring. It actually looks kind of nice from outside.

My sympathies. We have a Fine Fare in our commercial strip, owned by our co-op and with about a 25 year lease. They tend to be in the marginal neighborhoods, or neighborhoods that at least once upon a time were considered marginal.

The interesting thing is, of course, that they charge higher prices to the poorer people.


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. . . . We have a Fine Fare in our commercial strip, owned by our co-op and with about a 25 year lease. They tend to be in the marginal neighborhoods, or neighborhoods that at least once upon a time were considered marginal.

The interesting thing is, of course, that they charge higher prices to the poorer people.

What?! Openly? How? Please explain.


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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A long standing NYC phenomenon--Few decent grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods, so less competition and higher prices in the places where residents can least afford it.

Beat me to the punch, David. Fine Fare is the only grocery store within 1/2 a mile...the other store farther east on Grand St. is a...Fine Fare.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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A long standing NYC phenomenon--Few decent grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods, so less competition and higher prices in the places where residents can least afford it.

Beat me to the punch, David. Fine Fare is the only grocery store within 1/2 a mile...the other store farther east on Grand St. is a...Fine Fare.

Ah... thanks.

Where I stay in NYC, when I go back there these days, there's Landau's (which has a far more extensive selection than I'd anticipated), and a Shoprite (which is the size of a hangar, so perhaps a bit beyond the concept of 'grocery store').


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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A long standing NYC phenomenon--Few decent grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods, so less competition and higher prices in the places where residents can least afford it.

Beat me to the punch, David. Fine Fare is the only grocery store within 1/2 a mile...the other store farther east on Grand St. is a...Fine Fare.

There's nothing peculiar to NYC about this. It happens in pretty much every urban area in the country.


Dave Scantland
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It's a complex issue. Running an inner-city grocery store presents challenges. Were it the road to riches the better chains would be clamoring to get in. Not to mention the history of organized opposition to better supermarkets.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Jubilee is terrible and their meat I would put about one step above Gristedes and still 10 steps away from my plate. If you’re up for an extra couple block walk from there a new place that opened up in battery park called Battery Place Markets (http://batteryplacemarkets.com/) they have some pretty great stuff and some extremely hard to find ingredients. They finally started stocking raw meats to include amazing kobe and wagu from snake river farms. I’d def check them out if your downtown.

I might have to check that out, but its almost a mile further away than Jubilee. I'd almost be as well getting the subway to W4 St where there are really good options.

Since I made my earlier post, and after years of loving the Italian sausages from Jubilee, they have gone downhill the last two times (very gristly). I'll need to ask them about what changed (not sure if they are made in house or not).

Obviously they don't do Kobe, and are not a top notch meat purveyor. But for standard fare like ground beef, Bell & Evans chicken, etc, they do a decent job. I guess they suit me fine but everyones's tastes and standards vary. I will say I have always been impressed by the skirt steak (which I think they claim to be prime). So have plenty of family and friends I have served it to, although I will take some credit for my prep :laugh:

Meanwhile, the Gristedes here only has meat pre-packaged in styrofoam vacuum packs, so I doubt I will ever try those. Have you tried Zeytuna's butcher or fishmonger? How do they stand up?

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. . . . We have a Fine Fare in our commercial strip, owned by our co-op and with about a 25 year lease. They tend to be in the marginal neighborhoods, or neighborhoods that at least once upon a time were considered marginal.

The interesting thing is, of course, that they charge higher prices to the poorer people.

What?! Openly? How? Please explain.

Happens in every big city. The one store in a poor neighborhood has no competition, and anyway nobody comparison shops with food stamps even if there was a place to do it. The store cites higher expenses from theft and vandalism as rationale. They may have a point (up to a point). You see the same thing with gas stations.

Its an everyday example of the value of competition in keeping prices down.


Edited by gfweb (log)

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Brooklyn has union markets popping up like mushrooms, incl my neighborhood and I guess it's where I do my shopping. Not my veg (veg stand across the street). Or my meat (butchers -- Los paisanos or staubitz). Or my pantry items (fairway -- really, I had to walk out of UM when I was asked to pay $15 for a roll of tin foil. $15???!?). How is it that I'm in there daily?! Milk and the only baguette my son (who pretty much only eats baguettes) will eat. There ya go.

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Jubilee is terrible and their meat I would put about one step above Gristedes and still 10 steps away from my plate. If you’re up for an extra couple block walk from there a new place that opened up in battery park called Battery Place Markets (http://batteryplacemarkets.com/) they have some pretty great stuff and some extremely hard to find ingredients. They finally started stocking raw meats to include amazing kobe and wagu from snake river farms. I’d def check them out if your downtown.

I might have to check that out, but its almost a mile further away than Jubilee. I'd almost be as well getting the subway to W4 St where there are really good options.

Since I made my earlier post, and after years of loving the Italian sausages from Jubilee, they have gone downhill the last two times (very gristly). I'll need to ask them about what changed (not sure if they are made in house or not).

Obviously they don't do Kobe, and are not a top notch meat purveyor. But for standard fare like ground beef, Bell & Evans chicken, etc, they do a decent job. I guess they suit me fine but everyones's tastes and standards vary. I will say I have always been impressed by the skirt steak (which I think they claim to be prime). So have plenty of family and friends I have served it to, although I will take some credit for my prep :laugh:

Meanwhile, the Gristedes here only has meat pre-packaged in styrofoam vacuum packs, so I doubt I will ever try those. Have you tried Zeytuna's butcher or fishmonger? How do they stand up?

Yea i've tried zeytuna's butcher and fishmonger. They are ok but nothing I'd really go back for or write home about. It just seems like jubilee, zeytuna, and obviously gristedes don't really care or care about their products much and it really shows. The new shop battery place market the guys seem to really care about their products and you can tell from the results which is why I like them. Aside from that in the area whole foods tribeca is the only other decent option.

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I spend way too much time shopping for food because I enjoy hunting it down. I rarely go to the grocery story any more -- most of my food is coming from fruit and vegetable delivery from Urban Organics, basics from Trader Joe's, and certain items from the Union Square Farmer's Market. At least once a week I add a favored specialty shop into the mix -- Kalustyan's, Titan, Coluccio's, Buon Italia, Patel Brothers . . . I also order certain items online like candied ginger and grits and Rancho Gordo beans. If it's not food, it comes from Costco.

But recently I discovered a Bravo half a block from my house, which is the grocery store nearest to the projects. When I need to go to a grocery store, like for cat food for the landlord's cat, I go to the Bravo. They have a very interesting meat section and a panoply of "ethnic" foods. Like the jelly roll cakes that have guava jelly.

I can remember that it really wasn't that long ago that access to any sort of food in New York outside of Key Food or Associated and the 24-hour Korean deli/vegetable stand wasn't possible.

If I had to go back to doing weekly shopping in a regular supermarket (which I once did at the A & P in Washington Heights) I'd be very unhappy.


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I'm a Fresh Direct girl! Most of what I buy from them is cheaper than my local Key Food grocery store here in Brooklyn. The quality of meat is also superior. The boyfriend could tell if I bought the meat from Key. It was always gristle or rubbery. I've stopped buying from them. :) Oh, except for the fact that they carry D'artagnon brand meats, which are fantastic.

It's crazy to find myself living in a city where it's cheaper to have food delivered than schlep it home myself. I guess Fresh Direct can reduce the prices as they don't need to pay rent for a store fronts.

I'm in Park Slope so I also have access to great Mexican grocery stores on 5th Ave around 9th St.

I also have my very own fish monger on 7th ave between 4th and 5th st which is amazing! The fish is top notch and the staff are so nice. They also stock lots of asian products/condiments/noodles. They have sushi grade fish which is fun for sushi night. There is another fish place one block away near 6th that is horrible. The quality isn't as good and the staff is surly.

edited to add the link in case anyone wanted to try them

www.freshdirect.com


Edited by FoodMuse (log)

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The bulk of my food shopping occurs at Union Square Greenmarket, so that doesn't count. Closer to home is Citarella where I usually get meat, fish and some spur of the moment purchases on my way home. Daily incidentals like milk and OJ are from the Associated across the street from my apartment.

As far as Associateds go, it's a far cry from the supermarkets of my youth. You have to remember that I grew up in Jersey City, Bayonne and suburban New Jersey when I was a kid. The grocery stores that I remember aren't these squished into small spaces that seem so common in New York City.

There are many advantages that City grocery stores have over their suburban counterparts but space is not one of them.

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A long standing NYC phenomenon--Few decent grocery stores in poorer neighborhoods, so less competition and higher prices in the places where residents can least afford it.

Beat me to the punch, David. Fine Fare is the only grocery store within 1/2 a mile...the other store farther east on Grand St. is a...Fine Fare.

There's nothing peculiar to NYC about this. It happens in pretty much every urban area in the country.

I haven't been to a Fine Fare in years.

Like since the late 1970s.

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I have a Food Emporium across the street. It's awful... Simply awful. If you're ever looking for a bright green/sprouting potato, this is the place to go. I also have a Gristede's downstairs in the building... it's even worse...

Kenneth, I'm going to guess that you're a Murray Hill dweller like myself? That Food Emporium actually has the best produce in the neighborhood, though as you point out that's not saying much. That basement Gristede's is truly awful. I'm closer to the two D'Agostinos up the street, and they are even worse in their selection, although the freshness can be OK (with the emphasis on "OK").

Finding quality meat is another problem. I work downtown, so I get to the excellent West Village butchers when I can, but of course all of them close at 6, so it's nearly impossible to get there after work.

For many ingredients (but not produce), Todaro Bros on Second Ave. is a lifesaver. Also Grand Central Market (but again, not for produce, and emphatically not for meat at Ceriello's either).

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