With its farm stands piled with fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and other artisanal, locally produced goods, the year-round Union Square Greenmarket (open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays) attracts foodies from throughout the city. It is not the only reason, however, that Gramercy/Union Square is a paradise for those who love to cook and to eat. Below are a few other epicurean emporia.
111 East 23rd Street (between Lexington Avenue and Park Avenue South)
This local mini-chain—14 bakeries so far—is best known for its mini cupcakes—beautifully decorated bite-size morsels of sweetness available in a dozen flavors, including peanut-butter-and-jelly, mint cookie, and seasonal varieties. Vegan and gluten-free mini cupcakes are available as well. Those who prefer their desserts a bit more sophisticated but still petite can opt for the six flavors of bite-size macarons.
67 Irving Place (between East 18th and 19th Streets)
Black Betty gouda, Ogleshield made from Jersey cow milk, creamy Domaine du Village, Wabash Cannonball goat cheese, Kinda Blue from Vermont, Wild Spitz Bio from Switzerland… Bedford Cheese Shop stocks well over 50 types, many locally crafted, at any given time. Its knowledgable staff will guide you to the exact flavor and texture you want as well as help you put together the perfect cheese board. The store also sells charcuterie, bread, spreads, and other accoutrements,. If you cannot wait till you get home to dig in, you can order sandwiches, including its signature grilled cheese on challah, to eat on your walk home. To further feed your cheese lust, the store offers classes such as Cheese 101: Become a Cheese Nerd and Cocktails and Cheese.
273 First Avenue (between East 15th and 16th Streets)
Gramercy is home to a number of bagel shops, including Bagel Boss and Taj Bagels. We are singling out David’s Bagels, though, because of its wide variety of spreads available not just by the schmear but also by the pound. Along with plain and flavored cream cheeses (including jalapeño and walnut raisin), it sells plain and flavored lower-fat cream cheeses and tofu spreads. Pick up some classic accoutrements such as lox, whitefish, or chopped liver, as well as some less traditional options including jerk turkey and chipotle chicken, and you have the makings of an ideal weekend brunch.
104 East 23rd Street (between Lexington Avenue and Park Avenue South)
Gramercy Wine and Spirits might have you reeling before you even take a sip: It offers some 700 wines and more than 500 whiskeys, along with brandies, sakes, gins, and even absinthes. Here you can find gingery falernum from Barbados, soju from South Korea, and wines from Slovakia and Georgia as well as France, Spain, Germany, and the U.S. From a $3 Shiraz from South Africa to a $350 Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre from a small-batch California winery, there is something for every palate.
362 Second Avenue (between East 21st and 22nd Streets)
“Malt” refers to the menu of beers, many from craft brewers within the five boroughs including Alphabet City Brewing Co., Finback, and SingleCut. “Mold” refers to the equally well curated selection of cheeses, which include Trifecta from Brooklyn’s Crown Finish Caves, Iowa’s Prairie Cheese Cheddar, and Noord Holland Gouda from the Netherlands. Malt & Mold also carries hard-to-find ciders such as the blueberry Re-Thinker from Indianapolis’s New Day Meadery and small-batch edibles such as pickles from McClure’s, handcrafted cured meats from La Quercia, and alcohol-infused ice cream from Brooklyn’s Tipsy Scoop. To start your weekend on the right note, stop by for the Friday evening beer tastings.
180 Third Avenue (between East 16th and 17th Streets)
For one-stop food shopping, many swear by Westside Market. Along with pantry items from brands large and small, you can purchase artisanal breads, house-made baklava and moussaka, cookies baked on the premises, organic meats and poultry, imported and handcrafted oils and vinegars, 50 types of fresh-made hummus, and nearly two dozen types of specially marinated olives from its olive bar. Need something in a hurry for that dinner party you completely forgot you were hosting? You can buy ready-made dishes such as Israeli salad, lasagna (meat and vegetarian), chicken marsala, and meatloaf by the pound.
Why Gramercy Is a Foodie Paradise