Ever been to Zabar’s in NYC? Here’s my love letter to this amazing neighborhood store.

NYC is my soul city. It’s the place I feel happiest, and most at home.

And Zabar’s? Well Zabar’s is my favorite store, in my favorite city.

Want to visit Zabar’s yourself? Here’s all the information you need:

So why do I love Zabar’s?

Put simply? It’s my favorite shop in the city.

It’s the store I simply have to visit every time I’m there.

It’s the store where I can’t leave empty-handed.

It’s the store whose very logo, gives me happy feelings and good vibes.

A love letter to Zabar's NYC

But despite Zabar’s being one of the ultimate deli-style grocery stores in the city – I’ve never actually needed to buy a full grocery shop from there.

My visits, as a tourist, are purely ‘just because’. But I know it goes a bit deeper than that.

Each visit, I carefully curate a basket full of tiny snacks, things that will fit in our mini hotel fridge. Things I can fit in my suitcase on the journey home to the UK. Things that make me smile.

(But don’t weigh too much, or take up too much space. This is very important.)

And then.

And then, I just browse. I could easily spend an hour browsing the aisles of Zabar’s, playing make-believe.

Playing at being a ‘New Yorker’. Picking up random food items, daydreaming of the day when I’ll actually live nearby. Daydreaming of the day when I’ll have a little fridge, in a little apartment, a little walk away, filled with Zabar’s cheese, and meats, and salads, and sauce.

And that feeling, well it’s a feeling I don’t get from anywhere else.

I just love how this store makes me feel.

And I think, it’s because, Zabar’s makes me feel like a New Yorker.

Zabar's grocery store in New York City

Zabar’s is the store that sends my imagination into overdrive.

“This is the bread I would buy every weekend as a pillow for my scrambled eggs”

I think, searching out the ideal loaf, that’s both soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Perfect for Sunday mornings, sat in my tiny fictional kitchen, on my tiny fictional thrift store chairs.

“These are the posh cheeses I would stock my fridge with”

I think, for when I’d host dinner parties in our tiny fictional NYC apartment. But there’d be no room for 8 people in our fictional apartment, and we probably all end up heading to the bar downstairs anyway. And the cheese would never get eaten, and make the apartment smell.

“These are the cupcakes I’d buy for my husband after a difficult day at work”

I think, and I’d put the cupcakes on fancy plates, and we’d sit in our tiny fictional apartment, looking out of our fictional windows, at the city below. And the cupcakes would make us see how the difficult days don’t matter when you live in NYC.

“These are the deli salads I would buy for summer night picnics in Central Park”

I think, and we’d pack them into my husband’s fictional backpack, which would then always smell of steak, and marinara sauce and dill pickles. But he wouldn’t mind, I don’t think. Because those smells would remind him of summer evenings in the best city on earth.

My husband in Zabar's NYC.
My husband in Zabar’s NYC.

You don’t have to love everything, but I promise you, you’ll love something.

Everyone who has been to Zabar’s, has ‘their thing’. The one thing that Zabar’s sells, that nowhere else compares too.

For my husband and I? It’s their Zabar-branded mustard. And their dill pickles. And their blueberry muffins.

On my recent solo visit to the city, I packed my suitcase full of mustard and muffins, because I knew it would make my husband smile more than anything else.

Was schlepping two crumbly muffins on an 8 flight a good idea? Probably not. Did it make him smile? Absolutely.

Zabar’s has always helped New York feel a little closer.

The life we’re so desperate to live in New York City, suddenly feels closer to me when we’re strolling around Zabar’s.

Seeing my husband imagine which steak he’d take home (if home was just around the block) makes me feel like we’re in a book, and that life, living here and shopping here, is just a single page away.

As if, all we need is a light breeze, and we might skip a chapter and find ourselves there. Keys in hand, slippers on, like we just popped down here spontaneously from the Upper West Side apartment we now call home.

Zabar’s envelopes me in the New York City life I want to live, like a hug.

The smell of fresh bagels, whispering ‘welcome home’.