Price Check: Comparing Lower East Side Grocery Stores

 Lo-Down NYC Grocery Graphic

Editor’s Note: the following article first appeared in the April 2013 edition of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.

The supermarket scene on the Lower East Side has seen major shifts in recent months, with the arrival of Union Market, an upscale Brooklyn-based grocer that opened on East Houston street in November, and the closure the following month of the giant Pathmark on Cherry Street. Fine Fare, which has two stores in the neighborhood, recently reorganized and renovated sections of its Clinton Street store to beef up the produce department and expand its organic and higher-end offerings. We decided it would be a good time to take a look at prices in our local supermarkets and make some comparisons of basic kitchen staples among Fine Fare, Union Market, Whole Foods on East Houston Street and FreshDirect, the home-delivery grocer used by many urban households.

Clinton Street’s Restaurants Rising

Pig & Khao, 68 Clinton Street. Photo by Zandy Mangold.

Editor’s note: The following story first appeared in the March 2013 issue of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.  Since the magazine came out, there’s been more Clinton Street restaurant news. As we reported yesterday, Alias, the creative comfort food spot at 76 Clinton, might be closing after a decade on the LES to make room for a new seafood-centric restaurant from the team behind Wild Edibles.

When 71 Clinton Fresh Food opened with wunderkind chef Wylie Dufresne in 1999, it was widely credited with launching the Lower East Side’s fine dining scene. By the time Dufresne opened his own shop, the wildly successful wd~50, across the street four years later, the blocks of Clinton Street between Delancey and Houston seemed destined to become a hotbed of exciting new cuisine.

While Dufresne racked up award after award, though, the flow of restaurants around his destination dining spot surged and ebbed, never quite reaching critical mass. While Clinton Street Baking Company has drawn rave reviews and long, loyal brunch lines since arriving in 2001, and neighborhood joint Alias has demonstrated staying power, celebrating its 10-year anniversary last year, others that seemed destined for long-term success have come and then gone, most notably Falai and Frankie’s, which both closed in 2012. Countless others have opened to loud fanfare but then burned out quickly, such as Ed’s Lobster Bar.

LES Bites: Michelin Bargain Spots, Cocktail Bodega Lunch, Malt & Mold Tasting

Inside Family Recipe on Eldridge Street.

A few restaurant/nightlife notes to end the week:

  • Only one Lower East Side restaurant, WD-50, made the 2013 Michelin Guide.  But the neighborhood scored better in the separate “Bib Gourmand” — bargain list. Among the LES spots making the cut: Apizz, Clinton Street Baking Company, Congee Village, newcomer Family Recipe, Katz’s, Meatball Shop and Yunnan Kitchen. And the Chinatown entries: Dim Sum Go Go, New Malaysia, Nyonya and Oriental Garden.
  • Cocktail Bodega launches a lunch special: Monday-Friday; your choice of one food item a one “freshly juiced fruit and vegetable cocktail” for $15.
  • Malt & Mold, 221 East Broadway, has a Bluepoint Brewery tasting tomorrow from 3-6 p.m. On draft: White IPA, Pumpkin, Hoptical illusion, Blueberry.
  • It’s for real this time: Bondi Road says it’ll be closing after lunch on Monday.


LES Bites: Sausage Fest 2012, Yunnan Kitchen, Mom’s Day Menu

This afternoon’s Lower East Side food news:

  • Loreley’s 9th Annual Sausage Fest begins 3 p.m. Saturday.  To get things started, a “ceremonial keg of Hofbräu Maibock beer will be tapped with each guest receiving a free beer (while supplies last).”  More info above and here.
  • Sons of Essex is out with its $40 prix fixe Mother’s Day brunch menu.
  • Gothamist goes on a food/drink tour of Chinatown.


My LES – Leslie P. Pena

This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.

What do you do?

I am a community and legislative liaison for Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, on the LES between 14th Street and Delancey. I get to interact with people who live in our community on a daily basis, assisting constituents in resolving housing problems and accessing government services. I represent our office at Community Board 3 meetings and attend many events in the neighborhood.

Food Wire: Fatta Cuckoo, White Star, Shopsin’s

Photo via Grub Street.

Lots of catching up to do today, on the food/restaurant beat:

  • Grub Street gets a look at the menus for Fatta Cuckoo, the seasonal Italian restaurant opening on Clinton Street next week.  The chef is Brett Ackerman of Diner and Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg. Dinner entrees include: veal dumplings, ginger soy sauce glazed salmon and a ribeye with fries for $22.
  • Grub Street also reports: Mixologist to the stars Sasha Petraske is no longer involved with White Star on Essex Street.
  • Serious Eats samples the breakfast sandwich at Shopsin’s and finds it to be delicious, even though there’s an umbrella stuck on the top.