Any New Yorker who loves to eat knows that Zabar’s is the gold standard food gourmet store and a go-to place for cookware and kitchen accessories. Zabar’s has a long history on the Upper West Side. It’s been at the intersection of Broadway and 80th Street for over 70 years, but not always in the same configuration. It all started in 1934 when Louis and Lillian Zabar set up shop selling only the highest quality smoked fish at a fair price. Louis traveled to local smokehouses, personally sampled the goods, and made his selections available at a fair price. Today, Zabar’s has expanded into a landmark 20,000 square feet (almost a city block long) emporium open 365 days a year. They sell over 8,000 lbs. of coffee and draw over 35,000 customers per week. But one thing hasn’t changed: There’s always a Zabar in the store whether it be a sister, aunt or dedicated cousin.
Zabar’s is really a state of mind, rather than just a retail establishment. The store is divided into a coffee and ice cream shop on one side and a gourmet market on the other. I’m going to focus on the market side which is really a grocery, deli, bakery, and kitchen utensil supplier all rolled into one. As soon as you walk through the doors, you’ll see that it’s loaded with quality from fresh squeezed fruit juice containing absolutely no concentrate or added sugars to a wide variety of flakey, tender and not too sweet Rugalash and addictive Cinnamon Babka in the bakery section. It’s simply impossible to pass by the extensive olive bar which is open for sampling!
Prepare to navigate (too bad they don’t have GPS units specifically designed for stores) around this tightly confined, almost maze-like space and you’ll be rewarded with fresh, pungent scents at every turn. They grind coffee on the spot for you in multiple ways depending on kind of coffee machine you plan to brew it in. Pre prepared entrees, dozens of pates and cheeses abound. And the even more exotic…pickled lox with cream sauce and onion on the side, white fish salad spread, sturgeon caviar, black truffles in glass jars, and salt packed anchovies await the more adventurous palate. Best of all, they have chocolate croissants!
Their house wares section on the second floor, crammed with everything from top brand food processors to extraneous baking utensils makes it look like they like they took an entire Williams Sonoma and squeezed it into 1000 sq ft.
Hot tip: Perfect place to gather a picnic lunch before heading into nearby Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River