Zabar’s Cafe (Inside the Zabar Building)
New York, NY 10023
Zabar’s is one of the most interesting grocery stores in New York City. Back in the late 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, it was the only place to go for certain gourmet items, baked goods and a variety of vegetables. Their cheeses were some of the best in the city and when you needed fresh pasta, it was here or Manganario’s which went out of business about five years ago.
While other stores have gotten fancier or more expensive in their wares and grocery items, Zabar’s stays tried and true to its roots and is still a place for the average person to come and do their grocery shopping while buying high quality at a fair price. New York City has never been cheap.
I had been to the store many times in the past but even after all of these trips, I never realized that they had a cafe. I came across this when walking the Upper West Side and touring Zabar’s the many times in the neighborhood.
Zabar’s Cafe, according to their history, sits in the original part of the store (the store has expanded to the whole building) and is separate from the rest of the store. The one thing I like about their menu is that there is nothing over the price of $10.00. Their extensive menu which includes soups, wraps, sandwiches, pizza and pastry.
I have been there twice as while enjoying their specials for $1.00. This is a special treat that you have to hit in the early afternoon while the specials are going on. The first time I ate there, I had a ham,egg and cheese croissant. That was really good. The outside was buttery and crunchy with a nice bite to it while the inside is stuffed with scrambled eggs, chopped honey ham and cheddar cheese. Yes, worth every bite.
The second time I ate there, I had their version of Sicilian pizza with some fresh tomato on top of it that was very tasty. It was more of a sauceless pizza with a just a light touch of olive oil, cheese and fresh tomato sliced on top.
I have overheard many customers rave about their homemade chicken soup as a cure all. Their cookies and pastries look delicious, sitting like gems in the display cases. I recently had one of the giant cinnamon buns which was loaded with a thick icing ($2.95) and it was worth every bite. I must have had a big smile on my face when I was walking down Broadway because everyone was staring at me enjoying myself.
The crowd is very interesting. It is made up of older Westsider’s who claim their spots in the restaurant as their own. It is really a neighborhood hang out for a lot of these people and I hear a lot of gossip going on as well as old friends greeting one another. If you try to sit in their area, there is that distinct look you get.
Overall, it is a nice place to eat with reasonable food with fresh ingredients and a nice selection of simple American foods from soups and wraps to sandwiches and desserts. There is something for everyone here and the best part is you can still visit the main store to pick up more goodies right next door.