Cliched as it may be to say, the best food markets in New York City really do offer something for everyone, including picky eaters, careful consumers, bargain hunters, wine connoisseurs, and, of course, food lovers. Read on for our five favorites. By Jessica Allen.
At Chelsea Market, you can shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, load up on vegan sushi (pictured), nosh on lobster and oysters, get your caffeine fix, stock up on teas and spices, browse the latest boho fashions, try a Cambodian sandwich, and slurp ramen. In fact, at this urban food court-cum-mall, you can even walk through history: Oreos and Animal Crackers, among other products, were once made here, back when Chelsea Market was a Nabisco factory.
Essex Street Market
Essex Street Market began in 1940 as an effort to ease congestion and crowding on city streets caused by an overflow of vendors and pushcarts. Today, the market is home to more than 20 vendors, selling everything from chocolates to cheese to tamales (pictured) to smoothies. For an extra-special treat, sit down to a meal at Shopsin’s, whose notoriously long menu includes mac-n-cheese pancakes, poutine, “postmodern” grilled cheese, and French toast sandwiches.
Arthur Avenue Retail Market
Manhattan’s Little Italy gets all the press, but the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue is where true connoisseurs of cannoli, capellini, ciabatta, and coteghino go. For going on eight decades, the Arthur Avenue Retail Market has anchored the neighborhood, offering one-stop shopping for Italian groceries, including freshly made pasta and straight-from-the-old-country meats. Speaking of meat, Mike’s Deli, inside the market, makes some of the fattest, tastiest, delicious-est sandwiches around.
To best enjoy Smorgasburg, you need two things: cash and an appetite. This food-focused sibling of the Brooklyn Flea takes place on Saturdays in Williamsburg’s East River Park and Sundays on DUMBO’s Pier 5 from April to October. Among the astonishing array of vendors generally on hand are The Good Batch (purveyors of ice cream sandwiches [pictured]), Asia Dog (makers of gourmet hot dogs), BITEME Cheesecakes, and Brooklyn Soda Works.
Union Square Greenmarket
Open year-round, this farmers’ market features produce and products from farmers, beekeepers, fishmongers, artisans, bakers, butchers, vinters, cheesemongers, and ranchers throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and even parts of New England. What began as a handful of folks in a parking lot in 1976 has grown into the city’s largest greenmarket, featuring 140 vendors and serving 250,000 people a week during peak season.