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Posted: Jan 01, 2020
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By: Jennifer Friedel

The Best Places to Do Your Grocery Shopping in NYC

For some, grocery shopping may seem like a tedious To Do item, while for others it’s their favorite outing. Some busy couples even use it to ensure a bit more face time with each other. Whatever your reason, we all gotta eat, and we’re going to take you on a grocery shopping adventure that you and your partner are going to find very satiating.

01

Farmers' Markets

01

Did you know almost all those cute Greenmarkets you happen on around the city are actually all run under GrowNYC? The organization was created in 1970 under a different name but aligned purpose and has since evolved into “the largest and most established environmental organization in NYC.” Thanks to them, we can peruse locally sourced produce, seafood, meat, baked goods and more at the Union Square greenmarket before heading to brunch, or grab fresh produce at the 49 other smaller set-ups around the city and its boroughs. Beyond just supporting local businesses by loading up on farm- (or oven)-to-market groceries, you can also go further by shopping at one of its 15+ Youthmarkets. According to its site, “GrowNYC purchases produce from local farmers and trains young people to operate a farm stand in their neighborhood as their own small business” increasing access to fresh food for local families in under-served neighborhoods and teaching business and financial skills at an early age.

02

Chinatown

Chinatown

Head over to Chinatown for a day of exploring and shopping. While sidewalks run over with fresh produce and seafood for sale, there are larger grocery stores dotting the neighborhoods boasting food courts and bakeries. Deluxe Food Market on Elizabeth Street is a well-known traditional Chinese market and butcher, that has a huge following. Try some cantaloupe juice or freshly made lotus cakes and pick up some delicacies as well as everyday staples. There aren’t really any slow times, so jump in line, and put your New York assertiveness to good use to get your orders in. Or try the three-floor New Kam Man Supermarket. This neighborhood go-to knows what it’s doing, it’s been open since the ‘70s, and keeps its offerings up-to-date while still stocking mainstay favorites. The store is also packed with a wide variety of items from China and other Asian countries (even toys, dinnerware, and beauty products and cosmetics). There’s also a large selection of teas and teaware.

03

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

Anyone remember a time before Trader Joe’s graced us with its presence and Two-Buck Chuck’s? Shelves are always stocked, thanks to staff refilling them throughout the day, prices are great and for those days when cooking sounds like more daunting work, their healthful microwavable meals will leave you feeling satisfied quickly. New products are also introduced every week, so even if you have your favorite go-to’s, keep an eye out. And, if you’re not sure if you’ll like something, you can ask to sample any shelved product you might want to buy. In addition to being conscious of their customer’s needs, Trader Joe’s also donates all products that are safe to consume but unfit for sale. In 2018, they donated nearly 60 million meals (approximately 72 million pounds of food) through its partner, Feeding America. Make sure to mark your calendar because there’s a new East Village location coming soon to East 14th Street.

04

Whole Foods & Westerly

04

Whole Foods can make you feel like a kid in a candy store, so here’s an obvious hacker move, if it’s after work or around snack time, have a delicious bite first in the dining area before overflowing your cart. Each well-kept location boasts natural and organic products, an amazing hot/cold bar and daily made packaged foods. They even sell beer and wine to complement your dishes (or snacking). There’s also a department dedicated to your pet’s needs, and a beauty/cosmetic section with everything from soaps and lotions to essential oils and vegan make up. Amazon Prime members also receive special deals and discounts on rotating items throughout the store. For a local alternative with similar prices, check out Westerly, a Westside neighborhood establishment, and natural, organic food emporium. The aisles are packed with healthful foods, as well as vitamins and supplements. The aisles are also pretty narrow so try to go during off-hours to more easily navigate with time to really explore its offerings.


05

Food Emporium, Gristedes, & Fairway

Food Emporium, Gristedes, & Fairway

For those quick after-work runs, there’s always the good old neighborhood standbys: Food Emporium, Gristedes, and Fairway. Maybe this is where the mundane kicks in, so if you’re not too grumpy, we asked some local couples how they ramp up their shopping excursions: turn it into your own Supermarket Sweep; sneak treats into the cart to see if and when they’re discovered; one waits in line (there’s always that not-so-happy hour evening line) while the other grabs the items; see who can save the most with discounts, coupons and deals; and others use the pre-game (i.e., writing The List) as a time to bond and unwind from the week while planning new recipes to try. Fairway also offers a little help with delivery via online or its app, guaranteed in two hours or less.

06

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Turn grocery shopping into date night while strolling through the shops and counters, having a bite here and there while picking up basics like cheese, fruit, and meats. You can also further indulge your carb tooth with tons of freshly baked bread, pasta, and pastries. With the handful of wine shops, you can perfectly pair your meals or have a mini happy hour tasting. There’s also the semi-new Chelsea Local grocery store, offering 13,000 sq. ft. of whatever you need to stock your pantries and fridge. Finish off your foodie date grabbing drinks and dinner at one of Chelsea Market’s several bars and restaurants like the hidden away Tippler.

07

Sahadi's

07

This Middle Eastern grocery store first opened in Manhattan in 1898, before moving to Brooklyn more than 65 years ago. It now has two BK locations, one on Atlantic Avenue and the newer Industry City location (which also has a bar). Both are still run by the Sahadi family – and not just in the back offices; they’re checking the shelves as well. The Atlantic Avenue location boasts more than 200 bulk bins of grains, nuts, dried fruits and candy, and more than 30 different olives at the olive bar. Beyond the bins, the markets have a Mediterranean-style deli, and a massive array of spices, specialty foods, fresh and dry goods, dairy selections (with 200+ cheeses, including Lebanese and Syrian cheeses not found anywhere else in NYC), fresh seafood, and loads of coffee beans. Their offerings are sourced domestically and imported from around the world introducing new flavors alongside old favorites. Sahadi’s also has more than two dozen prepared dishes daily, with a seasonally rotating menu if you’re not too confident in your cooking abilities.

08

Eataly

Eataly

Known for its eat-in options galore, you can also pick up pre-packaged meals, or products to make your own at home, like fresh pasta (or boxed), artisanal cheese, Italian meats and more. You and your partner can also drop in for a cooking class to ramp up your cookery or join a talk on regional foods or delicacies for future meal inspo.


09

Kalustyan's

Kalustyan's

While not technically a grocery store, you can’t cook a truly flavorful meal in NYC without visiting this famed shop on Lexington Avenue. Reputed to be a spice mecca, there is a market side also where you can pick up everyday items and specialty items, both U.S. and international brands. But the main attraction is all the spices, herbs, grains, syrups, nuts, sauces and its variety of hard-to-find products. The international spice selection is massive, so it doesn’t hurt to take some time just exploring the bins and aisles (and sampling fresh Turkish delight).

10

FreshDirect & Instacart

10

For those unmanageable weeks or when last-minute cravings kick in, hop on the couch and scroll through Instacart or FreshDirect (which also offers same-day delivery via FoodKick or the FreshDirect app in some areas), and have someone do the shopping for you. More than just food, you can order toiletries, paper goods, and some OTC medications too. Orders are delivered within a few hours, or at least the same day, so tick off Grocery Shopping as you sit back and actually have time to watch “just one more episode (or two)” together.

11

Blue Apron, Sun Basket, & Hungryroot

Blue Apron, Sun Basket, & Hungryroot

Other tried and true options that arrive at your door are meal delivery services. There’s more than we can count or include, but nowadays there are options for everyone, regardless of diet or cooking skills. Blue Apron and Sun Basket are two of the traditional meal subscription boxes, but you still have some dietary and preference options. Sun Basket offers more options for food preference customization, while Blue Apron is a great way to discover meals you typically wouldn’t make whether because of ingredients or experience. Both subscriptions, however, break down recipes into simple instructions so you may be encouraged to try the dish again, or expand to other new dishes. Hungryroot, based in New York City, started with its veggie noodles and has expanded into super customizable subscription meals for almost every dietary preference, while still focusing heavily on vegetable-based offerings. It also offers a good selection of ready-to-eat and easily made meals.

12

Daily Harvest, Smoothie Box, & Frozen Garden

Daily Harvest, Smoothie Box, & Frozen Garden

If full meals aren’t always your thing, you can even subscribe to smoothies. Daily Harvest sends out frozen cups of fresh produce of your choice, and also offers healthy superfood bowls including chia, grains and vegetables, and fresh soups. Every item is vegan, dairy-, soy- and gluten-free. Smoothie Box ships bags of prepped frozen smoothie ingredients. There aren’t as many selections as Daily Harvest, but it does offer grass-fed collagen protein packs. There’s also Frozen Garden which procures its flash-frozen non-GMO organic produce and superfoods from local farmers in the Midwest.


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