New York City’s West Village has undergone some drastic transformations in its long history. Parts of it seem to have been preserved in a time capsule, yet brand new shops and renovated luxury condos and townhomes seem to appear almost daily. The neighborhood still has plenty of small specialty shops if you know where to look. Here’s a list of some great West Village coffee, tea, food, and wine spots, all within close walking distance of The Printing House.
Amy’s Bread (http://www.amysbread.com)
250 Bleecker Street
A relative newcomer by West Village standards, Amy’s Bread was established about twenty years ago and supplies fresh, artisanal bread to a handful of New York City neighborhoods. Amy’s secret is natural ingredients and no additives, which means you should enjoy those baguettes while fresh. Amy’s is actively involved with the Bread Bakers Guild of America, an organization that works to make sure consumers understand the difference between the trendy “artisan-style” label we often see today and the real thing. Amy’s offers a full range of white, whole-wheat, and sourdough loaves baked daily with local ingredients, as well as tempting lunch fare including sandwiches, salads, and treats. Cakes and pies for holidays or birthdays may be ordered ahead.
109 Christopher Street
Coffee and tea aficionados know that a visit to an ordinary supermarket doesn’t quite cut it. Fortunately for West Villagers, McNulty’s is perhaps one of New York City’s finest purveyors of coffee and tea, and they must be doing something right to have been in business since the era of Edith Wharton. Their Christopher Street shop, with heirloom bins and scales from the late 19th century, feels like a step back in time: aromas from coffees and teas from all over the world perfume the air, sacks of coffee beans and chests of tea from India and China are tucked into every corner.
Murray’s Cheese (www.murrayscheese.com)
254 Bleecker Street
Founded in 1940 by Murray Greenberg, Murray’s Cheese is a West Village treasure. Murray was a Jewish veteran of the Spanish Civil War who was rumored to be a Communist in the 1950s. Whether the rumors were true or not, he was a heck of a cheese salesman. After decades serving local Italian-American clientele, Murray’s was sold to Rob Kaufelt in the early 1990s. Rob began traveling the globe, finding cheeses that no one had ever seen in the US and selling them on Bleecker Street to an eager public. In 2004, Murray’s constructed real cheese caves under the store – a window in the sidewalk lets you sneak a peek – which enables their affineurs (that’s an expert in cheese aging) to wait for peak ripeness in perfect climatic conditions. Enterprising customers can intern with Murray’s to learn some secrets of the trade.
Myers of Keswick (www.myersofkeswick.com)
634 Hudson Street
True Anglophiles don’t find much in the way of culinary delights here in the States. Myers of Keswick is a small outpost on Hudson Street, a few blocks up from the luxury lofts at the Printing House, that caters to British ex-pats and Americans with a taste for British delicacies. Founded in 1972 by transplanted Englishman Peter Myers, who made sausage rolls and Cornish pasties at home when he couldn’t find them in New York, this shop stocks hard-to-find British grocery staples like Weetabix Cereal and PG Tips tea, fresh meat pies, and dairy products like Kerry Gold Irish Butter and Wensleydale Cheese. At Christmas, expect to find mince pie and plum pudding. And if you’re not in the mood for plum pudding, you can always find a Union Jack tea towel.
Sockerbit Sweet & Swedish (www.sockerbit.com)
89 Christopher Street
The interior Sockerbit Sweet & Swedish almost looks like a sleek, new Apple Store, until you notice that the minimalist white bins lining the walls all contain scores of sweets in every imaginable flavor and color. Sockerbit (which means “sugar cube” in Swedish) is a candy store that specializes in Scandinavian sweets, in the beloved tradition of lördagsgodis, or “Saturday sweets.” Swedish children are allowed to buy candy on Saturdays, making a trip to the sweet shop a cherished weekend ritual. Sockerbit is also the name for one of their signature candies, a white-cubed marshmallow, which inspired the design of the shop. Scandinavian sweets are high quality and free of GMOs, artificial colors and trans-fats, so you can assemble your weekly lördagsgodis bag without worry.
Uncorked Wine (www.uncorkedwineco.com)
98 Christopher Street
Uncorked Wine opened in 2012 and has quickly become a beloved neighborhood shop. Former Wall Street analyst Paul Common had no retail experience with wine, but he had the deep knowledge of a passionate collector. His “try before you buy” method allows customers to understand more about the complexity and differences among types of wine before they make a purchase. His shop stocks small-production, hard-to-find and rare wines from all over the world. Uncorked also offers a monthly wine club that can be customized to suit different tastes and price ranges. Over forty wines are available for tasting every day- so prepare that sensitive palate!
Image courtesy of: Yusuke Kawasaki
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