Chef’s Neighborhood Secrets

I have always loved the traditional French approach to food shopping. For the most part, it involves going to certain stores that are known for specific items. There you will find proud, independent shop owners who know their products exceptionally well. It’s the mom-and-pop bakery with unforgettable cookies and tarts, the fishmonger with the fresh catch and the reliable butcher who insists on trussing the chicken for you (and remembering your birthday).

We’re fortunate to have excellent food shops in Manhattan’s West Village, my neighborhood of 14 years. Some are brand new, while others are more than a century old.It’s these types of places that make shopping here a pleasure rather than an errand.Buying food this way also brings the community closer together and strengthens our local economy. As a chef, I’ve gotten to know these places and the people who run them. At the risk of divulging my secrets, I felt compelled to share these gems with other neighbors and visitors to the West Village. Here are some of my best bets:

Fruits and Vegetables

– Abingdon Square Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning year-round : Hudson Street and West 12th Street
– Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market : 75 9th Avenue
– Bleecker Farm : 272 Bleecker Street; Open 24hrs. Great for fresh herbs during the off-season.
– Bethel Deli : 79 Greenwich Avenue; Open 24hrs. When you absolutely need a ripe avocado.

Meats and Poultry

– Ottomanelli & Sons : 285 Bleecker Street. Make friends with Frank, Jerry and Joe.
– Faicco’s Italian Specialties : 260 Bleecker Street. Indulge in their sweet Italian sausage.
– Garden of Spices Farm at the Abingdon Square Farmers’ Market. Ask for one of farmer Ben’s chickens or ducks.
– Myers of Keswick : 634 Hudson Street. Delicious Irish bacon and meat pies.

Seafood

– The Lobster Place in the Chelsea Market. Recently remodeled and better than ever.
– The fishmongers at the Abingdon Square Farmer’s Market.

Bread

– Landbrot Bakery and Bar : 137 Seventh Avenue South.
– Amy’s Bread : 250 Bleecker Street and in the Chelsea Market. Excellent brioche hamburger buns and baguettes.
– Pain Quotidien : 550 Hudson Street. A chain, yes, but the baguettes work well in a pinch.

Wine

– Uncorked! : 98 Christopher Street. Just ask the owner Paul for a taste of something.

Cheese and Charcuterie

– Murray’s Cheese Shop : 264 Bleecker Street.

Artisan Foods & Gift Ideas

– The Meadow : 523 Hudson Street. For great sea salts, cocktail bitters and chocolate. Chelsea Market Baskets in the Chelsea Market.