Specialty shops in Northern Manhattan offer plenty of culinary delights for those with discerning palates. Whether you are searching for gourmet ingredients for your epicurean recipe or a ready-made feast—as well as the perfect varietals to accompany your meal—you do not have to travel beyond Washington Heights or Inwood to find what you need.
91 Pinehurst Avenue (between West 180th and West 181st Streets)
When the Camposes opened Cabrini Wines in 1975, it was simply a small local wine shop. Today it offers more than 2,500 wines and 1,000 liquors in its 2,400-square-foot store. From sake to kosher cabernet, mescal to artisanal vodka, cider to Moet & Chandon, if it is a wine or a spirit, you are certain to find it here. The shop also has a tasting room that hosts, in addition to tastings, classes and private events. And if you run out of wine during your dinner party, you can call the shop for free delivery if you live west of Broadway between 159th Street and Fort Tryon Park.
3931 Broadway (between West 164th and West 165th Streets)
5025 Broadway (at 215th Street)
Carrot Top Pastries. Image: Benjamin Ragheb/Flickr
You know a business is a neighborhood institution when a street is named after its founder. That’s the case with Carrot Top Pastries; in June 2017, West 214th Street off Broadway was co-named Renee Mancino Way after the bakery’s late founder. Macino opened her Inwood shop in 1979; six years later she opened the Washington Heights store. While best known for its carrot cakes—Morgan Freeman is reportedly a fan—Carrot Top also offers red velvet, pineapple pound, chocolate, and cheesecake, and other varieties such as coconut, chocolate mocha, and Black Forest are available by special order. Beyond cakes, you can pick up pies (including sweet potato), turnovers, cookies, rugelagh, and muffins (the carrot muffins, not surprisingly, are especially popular). Carrot Top also offers party trays, with an emphasis on classic Italian-American dishes (lasagna, baked ziti, eggplant parmigiana). What’s more, both shops have a café that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
807-809 West 187th Street (between Fort Washington Avenue and Cabrini Boulevard)
Ziggy Frank, a German refugee, opened his eponymous business in 1948 as a butcher shop. Today it is a full-fledged grocery, selling cheeses, organic produce, artisanal foods, and prepared foods made daily on the premises. Its selection reflects the diverse makeup of the neighborhood: German candies and Russian borscht, kosher soup and refried beans. Thanks to its deli and catering department, you can purchase a vast array of platters, hors d’oeuvres, and prepared entrees for just about any occasion—or no occasion at all. Go ahead and pretend that the chicken cordon bleu, roasted duck, or barbecued baby back ribs you ordered from Frank’s were a result of your own labor; we won’t tell. In addition, Frank’s recently opened a wine and liquor store, Vines on Pine (814 West 187th Street) across the street from its store.
4161 Broadway (at West 176th Street)
Founded in 1963, this family business originally specialized in Spanish and Latin American foods, though like Frank’s Market it has expanded to offer a full gamut of groceries, from organic and locally grown produce to Spanish and Italian oils and vinegars to tapenades from the Middle East. Its cheese selection includes artisanal Spanish cheeses such as manchego and Mahón alongside hand-pulled mozzarella. La Rosa is perhaps best known for its fresh fish, meat, and poultry. Next time you need Spanish octopus or live lobster for a recipe, head here.
801 West 181st Street (at Fort Washington Avenue)
In response to an increasing number of Russian immigrants in the area, Moscow on the Hudson opened more than a dozen years ago. You do not have to be Russian, however, to appreciate its selection of caviar in an impressive range of prices. Ditto its variety of pickled vegetables, smoked fish, farmer cheese, and teas. Here is your chance to indulge in smetannik (a rich sour-cream cake) or pelmeni (the Russian rendition of ravioli) without applying for a visa. Moscow on the Hudson offers catering too; standout dishes include beef Stroganoff and baked salmon with red caviar sauce.
4898 Broadway (between West 204th and West 207th Streets)
Peter Yi, who founded PJ Wine in 1991, is something of a wine connoisseur, and his store’s selection reflects that. Rather than quantity, his offering is focused on quality: wines he has deemed worthy of selling. Fortunately that is still a vast selection, with varietals literally from A (Aglianico, Arneis) to Z (Zweigelt). The shop carries whiskey, gin, cordials, and other spirits as well.
4734 Broadway (between Arden and Thayer Streets)
Tonnie’s Minis. Image: Samantha Chapnick/Flickr
Coconut cupcakes, anyone? How about Golden Heart, a yellow cupcake with a red-velvet center topped with cream-cheese frosting? Strawberry Twist (strawberry and golden sponge with strawberry cream-cheese frosting)? Dulce de leche, coconut, or Death by Chocolate? These are just a few of the varieties available at Tonnie’s Minis. Cupcakes come in three sizes: the namesake mini, the midsize California, and the 3.5-inch Hollywood. If even the large cupcakes are not big enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can order cakes in four sizes. The largest is said to feed up to 40 people, but given how tasty these treats are, we believe a small family could easily polish one off.