VINTAGE NEW YORK – MOM-AND-POP SHOPS
By: Danielle Middleton, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Property East Side Office.
At one time, food was personal and quality didn’t have to be demanded because it was expected. When my father and his siblings were growing up, my grandmother would go to the butcher for her meats, the pork store for her sausages, the fish store for her fish, and the bakery for her bread. She knew each owner by name and her shopping routine was more of a social activity than a chore. These specialty stores were a way of life in New York City and they made up the identity of each neighborhood.
Now, many of these specialty stores have faded into a competitive jungle of supermarkets and internet delivery services. A well known grocery chain took over the old bank where my grandmother used to work, and many other storefronts were replaced by trendier shops The unique flavors that had once identified each neighborhood may be far and few and in between (RIP prosciutto balls from Joe’s Pork Superette), but thankfully, some still remain in a current sea of mass production.
The old world butchers and specialty shops that still exist are kept alive by the loyalty of their aging customers. It is the younger generation that needs to help sustain their future and preserve the history of their craft. Since very few of us are going to butcher a cow just to make a hamburger, don’t you want to know who is doing this for you? Or, where the meat came from and what the animal is fed? I know that I sure do!
I have many favorite specialty shops in Brooklyn and Queens, but here are the top five on my list:
1. K&T Quality Meats
This local butcher has serviced Astoria for over 30 years. I walked by their unassuming store front a zillion times before actually going in. I’m so upset that it took me so long to discover this neighborhood gem! Purchasing meat from K&T is more of an exciting experience than a boring chore. All of the on-site butchers take pride in being able to guide their customers and service their community.
Locate at 33-14 Ditmars BLVD, Astoria, NY 11105
2. Court Pastry Shop
This small bakery has been in business for over 70 years. They have a little window facing the street where people can order an Italian ice to go. I have so many childhood memories of devouring their ices on hot, summer days. Another family staple is their delicious pignoli cookies. We never have a party without them!
Located at: 298 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
3. Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop
This February, My mother, sister and I were casually walking down Manhattan Ave when we accidentally stumbled upon Peter Pan’s Donut and Pastry Shop; it was a very, very happy accident. This little store serves up some BIG desserts. There is a very small take-out counter and a breakfast bar. Whether you take-out or eat-in, you won’t be disappointed. Located at 727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
4. Fish Tales
Staying true to Italian tradition, my family celebrates every Christmas Eve by feasting on the “seven fishes”. Every year my grandmother orders all of the fish a month in advance from Fish Tales. In all these years we have never had a bad experience. The service and fish are both well worth the trip to Brooklyn!
Located at 191 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
5. Morscher’s Pork Store
Sausage making is an art form that the dedicated butchers of Morscher’s Pork Store have perfected. Each piece is filled with the best meat and complimentary spices. Once you try a sausage from Morscher’s Pork Store, you will not be able to eat any other brand. Ridgewood, Queens is lucky to have them!
Located at 58-44 Catalpa Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385
Connect with Danielle on her agent website or find her on twitter to ask her a question of your own.
Thoughts and opinions presented in this post are those of Danielle Middleton’s and do not reflect the opinions of Halstead Property, LLC.