New York’s Best Fancy “Green” Grocers
In the era of conscious consumerism, widespread support for the local food movement makes grocery shopping in 2017 as much of a cultural experience as it is a practical necessity. Never before have people cared more about where their food comes from, how it was made, who made it, and how it reflects their values— ethically, aesthetically, and nutritionally.
New York City grocers are some of the best places to get high-end, locally produced products in the world, whether that’s condiments and spices or wine and cheese. Below, we round-up some of the best places to get local produce (and local meat, cheese, fish, chocolate, and baked goods) in the Big Apple.
Marlow & Daughters
If ever there were a quintessentially “Brooklyn” food market, Marlow & Daughters Butchery Shop would be it. With their excellent selection of super-local produce, super-local meats, and super-local cheeses, one would be hard pressed to find an item that wasn’t made in New York on their shelves. From homemade pie crust to raw local cheeses and free range, nitrate-free meats reared locally, M&D is a one stop shop for any kitchen dweller. The produce, while high-end and with a price that reflects it, is always unique, fresh, and locally sourced from partner farms, as is their bread and all of their local preserves– from upstate maple syrup to Brooklyn-blended sea salt.
Bedford Cheese Shop
Regarded as nothing less than The Real McCoy among cheesemongers in NYC, Bedford Cheese Shop is one of the best established European-style cheese shops in NYC, with locations in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. Their excellent range of soft and hard, raw and pasteurized cow, sheep, and goat milk cheeses rotate regularly to reflect the nuance and flavor of each season (take, for example, many of their many sheep’s milk cheeses, which are only available during the seasons when sheep actually produce milk). Those with a sweet tooth should opt to try a slice of the seasonal Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake, which is arguably one of the most delicious confections in all of NYC.
Depannuer is a Williamsburg staple that’s close to the waterfront and local green wellness hubs like Kula Yoga and Sprout Home. With their excellent selection of locally made, minimally packaged pantry goods, drinks, breads, nontoxic cleaning products, and local beauty curiosities, it’s a great place for neighborhood shopping or weekend brunch. They also have excellent baked goods, charcuterie, and ready-made salads.
Eataly is a classic among the New York foodie elite– Mario Batali’s empiric, Italian-style grocery and restaurant multiplex has everything from hand-stretched mozzarella to imported olive oil and every locally carved prosciutto in between.
In addition to fresh rolled pasta and red sauce, Eataly features colorful, Eden-like piles of fresh berries, figs, exotic lettuces, Mediterranean staples like dates, shallots, grapes, citrus fruits, and garlic, and the finest imported Italian wines, chocolates, biscotti, breads, seafood, and more. The sheer number of options is somewhat overwhelming, but the quality and integrity behind the sourcing is top-notch.
We prefer Eataly’s downtown Oculus location to the one in Flatiron, as it is less crowded and also has more beautiful views– but no matter which one you go to, be sure to try the gelato and the espresso, which are as good here as in the mother country.
Clover Cafe is a West Village staple for farm-fresh, veggie-forward food, and the recently opened sister store, Clover Grocery, is beautifully curated to reflect the same experience.
While bone-broth infused kale chips might draw a few eye rolls from those with hipster fatigue, the quality of the store’s house-made salad dressings and blueberry oat biscuits speaks for themselves (all grab-n-go food is made in the Clover Cafe kitchen). The shelves are minimally appointed with various local and national sundries (think: collagen powder from Vital Proteins and curry powder from ILA) but every product is thoughtfully chosen, from all-natural coconut-tomato sheet masks to watermelon seed + beet root protein powder.
O Live Brooklyn
Olive oil aficionados will swoon at this bespoke olive oil bottling store in Williamsburg, which is just a short walk from the J/Z/M stop at Marcy Avenue. At O Live, shoppers can sample various infused olive oils from Italy, Greece, California, and beyond while marveling at the variety of styles, flavors, and reductions that owner Greg Bernarducci sources from all over the world.
The oils are on tap and bottled at the time of purchase–a fun experience to watch. Here, olive oil is treated with the same doting affection that some might lavish unto fine wines, with specific flavor profiles listed for various premium olive oils (like Arbosana, Favalosa, Manzanillo, and Picual) as well as Organoleptic Taste Panel Assessment and chemical information about the Polyphenol, FFA, and Oleic Acid content for each oil “at the time of crush.”
The shop also sells an impressive variety of Balsamic vinegar on tap (we like the Black Fig Dark Balsamic and the Lavender Dark Balsamic) as well as accouterments like pourers, bottles, aerators, cheese boards, and spices.
Blank Slate NYC
Aesthetically pleasing Blank Slate Gourmet Market offers fresh produce, local dairy, specialty meats, and a curated selection of dry goods include high-end culinary products as well as daily essentials. Their main counter offers flavorful, house made deli items for takeaway, including local favorite Black Seed Bagels. With their geometrically stacked shelves and chalkboard signage, think of it as your classic small town grocer that just so happens to serve one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
Russ + Daughters Appetizers
“Russ + Daughters occupies that rare and tiny place on the mountaintop reserved for those who are not just the oldest and the last– but also the best.” Anthony Bourdain once said this about Russ + Daughters, the exquisite Jewish food purveyor who has been serving up hand-slice smoked fish and beautiful salads, herrings, desserts, bagels, breads, roe, halvah, and baked goods for over 103 years. Since 1914, the Russ family has baked all of its own bagels, bialys, shissel rye bread, pumpernickel, challah, babka, black and whites, knishes, and other traditional favorites in-house for both the meal counter and, more recently, Russ + Daughters Appetizers shop.
Brooklyn Larder Cheese & Provisions is a great place to source locally made provisions, like Brooklyn-made salt water taffy, homemade granola, small-batch chocolate, foraged tea, and other curious bespoke sundries. From Liddabit Sea Salt Caramels to Filotea Spaghetti Al Nera, the products range from hyper local and seasonal to internationally renowned, but everything is curated according to strict quality standards that culinary aesthetes will appreciate. At Brooklyn Larder, the best of Brooklyn and the world come together in a single shop.
Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local
Bed-Stuy isn’t often associated with foodie groceries, but Bed-Stuy Fresh and Local offers a good selection of often local, organic produce and other food items from the Tri-State area. The store’s focus is on filling the needs of everyday shoppers with an array of healthful pastas, spices, beans, rice, canned tuna, coffees, teas, hot sauces, jams and jellies, peanut butter, oils, condiments, sugar, salt, and other snack items that constantly rotate according to requests from local shoppers.
R & D Foods
R&D Foods is a haven for made-to-order sandwiches, vegetable-driven prepared foods, grocery staples and specialties alike. From coffee to candles, hot sauce, candy by the pound, and old-fashioned cake donuts that they make fresh every morning, it’s a reliable place to grab lunch or pre-order elegant snack platters for your next holiday celebration.
La Boîte offers a tiny but robust collection of spices sourced both locally and from all over the world– think of it as Sullivan Street Tea Company meets Eataly (above). The store’s collection of over 60 bespoke spice blends– from “Bombay” and “Marrakesh” to “Pierre Poivre” and “Galil”– are not to be missed, as are the European-style biscuits they make in-house (they pair perfectly with locally-ground coffee or homemade tea). The shop also offers wildly popular 2-hour spice blending workshops directed by Chef Lior Lev Sercarz. Because if there’s anything more impressive than well cooked food, it’s having the perfect spices to match.
Want more tips for finding good food in NYC? Check out our list of the Best Places to get Hummus in NYC, explore New York’s bone broth haven, or read up on the Best Places to get Botanically-Inspired Icecream.