One of the iconic stores in New York City is in its 83rd year of operating in Manhattan’s stately upper west side.
Zebars is a New York institution: a legendary appetizing and Jewish soul food shop at the corner of 80th Street and 2245 Broadway – and a feature of scores of television shows and movies.
The store is a favourite haunt of ours when in NYC, especially the mind-blowing tea and coffee section, which is the equal of anything we’ve seen at Harrods of London and other similar high profile shops.
Copyright Memorable Destination 2013
In New York City, it all started in 1934, when Louis Zabar, an arrival from what is now Ukraine, left his market stall in Brooklyn to establish a smoked-fish department inside a supermarket on Broadway near 80th Street.
Largely on the strength of its smoked salmon and a housewares section added in the 1970’s, Zabars steadily became a culinary magnet.
In the 1960’s, Zabars became well known for its Brie cheese; in the ’70’s it brought New Yorkers sun-dried tomatoes and gnocchi, and the following decade it became involved in a price battle with the speciality section of department store, Macys, for caviar.
This has gone down in New York folklore as the ‘Great Caviar War’.
On our last visit, we asked whether there had been a winner of the caviar standoff – and were told in no uncertain fashion that Zabars had emerged victorious and the real housewives of New York City had benefitted.
Zebars was also at the forefront of the trend toward drip coffee makers and by the 1970’s it was one of the biggest supermarkets in Manhattan.
Photo courtesy Zabars
Today, the gourmet store is one of the best known commercial landmarks of the Upper West Side and, as well as tea and coffee, it is known for its selection of bagels, smoked fish, olives, and cheeses.
Zebars appeared in the film, Banksy Does New York and was mentioned in the film You’ve Got Mail.
It has also been mentioned in the TV series V and episodes of Northern Exposure; Will & Grace; Dream On; The Green Inferno; How I Met Your Mother; Mad About You; Friends; Sex and the City; Broad City; The Nanny; Seinfeld; The West Wing; Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; 30 Rock; The Daily Show; Hart of Dixie; Castle; Pardon the Interruption; Law & Order; and Gossip Girl.
Manhattan’s Upper West Side is an affluent, mainly residential area that has the reputation of being New York City’s cultural and intellectual hub.