Last summer we hosted the legendary, once-in-a-lifetime Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Tour. Here, finally, is our long-awaited roundup of all the places we visited. The good news is: since we waited almost a year to write this post, it’s summer again, which means it’s the perfect time spend a leisurely, sunny Saturday afternoon checking out all these amazing places!
(See below for the Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Tour Map)
1. Ridgewood Youthmarket
What it is: Farmer’s market
Location: Ridgewood Remembrance Triangle (Myrtle & Cypress)
The tour group—including me (Mollie), occasional Ridgefood contributor Ari, guest Instagrammer Alaina, and special guests Anne and Stephen—met at the Ridgewood Youthmarket, a seasonal farmer’s market that sets up shop in the Ridgewood Veterans Triangle every Saturday. Last year at the market, we scored kohlrabi, orange & yellow carrots, and kale. The market is open from 9am–3pm, now through November 22nd.
2. Mt. Everest Grocery & Deli
What it is: Indian & Nepalese market
Location: 5609 Myrtle Avenue (between Cornelia & Cypress)
Next, we headed to Mt. Everest—a quintessential Ridgewood establishment in that it looks pretty mediocre/shady from the outside, but then once you get inside you’re pleasantly surprised by what it has to offer. Ignore the cat-pee smell and explore the aisles; the Indian food is in the back. And be sure to check out the freezer, where you’ll find homemade momos, paneer, and other Indian & Nepali delights.
Stuff we bought: frozen roti (Stephen), cilantro chutney (Ari)
3. Fancy Fruit
What it is: Fruit & vegetable market featuring Italian and other European products
Location: 56-11 Catalpa Avenue (near Myrtle)
The group quickly cruised through Fancy Fruit, an indispensable and uber-cheap greengrocer just off Myrtle Ave. I stock up on produce here once or twice a week and rarely spend more than $15. Also, check out their impressive dried pasta selection (and their simple and excellent Mamma Lombardi’s tomato sauce is a staple in our house).
4. Parrot Coffee
What it is: Amazing European, Balkan, and Middle Eastern specialty market
Location: 58-22 Myrtle Avenue (near Forest)
A Ridgewood institution, Parrot Coffee (more than just coffee) is one of our very favorite places to shop. Load up on homemade zacusca & spinach pie, Schweppes bitter lemon soda, frozen burek, goat gouda, smoked trout & salmon, bulk olives, an inexplicably vast selection of high-end honey, and everyday staples like organic eggs and yogurt. It’s a ton of stuff packed into a relatively small store and there’s always something new to try.
Stuff we bought: pork meatballs, coffee, Bulgarian yogurt, gallon of olive oil (Anne); frosted honey cookies (Mollie)
5. Green Dot
What it is: Fruit & vegetable market that also sells “health foods” and Middle Eastern products, plus there’s a halal butcher in the back
Location: 59-29 Myrtle Avenue (just off the 71st Avenue Triangle)
The halal butcher—offering neatly packaged beef, goat, lamb, chicken, and tilapia—seems to be the main draw here (Ari swears by it). The downside, to some, might be the store’s organization (or lack thereof): you’ll find Wishbone Italian salad dressing next to goji berry granola next to jars of Heinz gravy next to pitted dates. Weird!
Stuff we bought: halal chicken (Anne)
6. Forest Grocery
What it is: Polish deli
Location: 58-49 69th Avenue
It looks like a regular bodega, but once inside, you’ll see that it’s actually a decent Polish deli (Tip: Anytime you see the words “European Products” on a store’s awning, you should check them out). Good place for ham & cheese, Lion bars, and boil-in-bag kasha and barley. We’d shop there more if it weren’t for the frequent bottlenecking problem that occurs near the deli counter.
7. Max Euro
What is is: Another European/Balkan market
Location: 68-55 Forest Avenue
Smallish but solid selection and conveniently located a few blocks from Norma’s. They also sell local, farm-grown tomatoes and other vegetables in the summer.
Stuff we bought: Munchmallows (Ari)
Forest Avenue Pit Stop: Norma’s
Though not an official stop on the tour since it’s not a grocery store, Norma’s—located in the heart of the Forest Ave grocery strip—deserves a mention. (We would’ve stopped for a snack but we were running behind schedule.) Our Norma’s faves include bagels with scallion, dill, and chive cream cheese; lemonade with various flavorings like mango, raspberry, and jalapeño, and passion fruit mini bundt cake!
8. Morscher’s Pork Store
What it is: One of Ridgewood’s three remaining “Pork Stores”
Location: 58-44 Catalpa Avenue
Morscher’s is the most mainstream and accessible of the pork stores. It’s brightly lit, service is prompt, and everything tastes great. We love to pop in and buy a $1 sausage stick while running errands in the neighborhood. Other standout fresh-meat options include sirloin burger patties; steak tartare; “Andy’s burger,” aka pljeskavica (Bosnian beef & pork burgers); and of course pork chops, cutlets, etc.
Stuff we bought: Rice-flour sausage, “walking stick,” summer sausage (Ari); spicy pork medallions, bacon, sausage links, Andy’s burger (Alaina)
What it is: Another European market
Location: 6699 Forest Avenue, in the shadow of the M tracks
Forest Avenue is lined with European markets, as you can see. Our favorite thing about Europa is the farm-fresh New Jersey peaches they sell in mid-summer. I spend the rest of the year dreaming about these peaches! They sell out quickly, so buy a big bag of and eat them plain (recommended), or make a delicious cobbler.
This guy sells various trinkets outside Eddie’s Newsstand on Forest. He also played “Jo Jo the Whale” in A Bronx Tale.
10. Aneta Deli
What it is: Polish deli
Location: 690 Woodward Avenue (corner of Palmetto)
We love Aneta, our go-to spot for quick and hot sniadania & obiady (breakfast & lunch, but mostly just lunch). For $5 and change, you can get a chicken cutlet, mashed potatoes and gravy, and two heaping piles of salads like shredded beets, sauerkraut, or coleslaw (salads vary each day). An extra dollar will get you fish, or try the stuffed cabbage or stews! Plus, they have the best window art on Whimsical Window Row (WWR). We love the dancing ham and cheese so much that we use it for our various social media accounts and on this website (is that legal?).
Stuff we bought: Bacon-flavored pretzel sticks (Mollie)
11. Wallbait Deli (née Wallgate Deli)
What it is: Middle Eastern deli
Location: 666 Woodward Avenue (corner of Gates)
Continuing down WWR, we popped into Wallgate (since perplexingly renamed Wallbait), which, even more than Mt. Everest Deli, is the prime example of a Ridgewood shop that appears nondescript from the outside but actually sells interesting products inside. To take it a step further, Wallbait actually looks rather shitty, and it doesn’t help that the adjacent 99¢ store is also named Wallgate (er, Wallbait); food and dusty discount stores do not mix! But step inside and you’ll find an unexpected variety of Middle Eastern goods like baklava, canned fava beans, falafel mix, and various snack foods. OK, it’s not Kaluystan’s or Sahadi’s, but try it anyway!
12. St. Bishoy & 13. Aghapy Food Inc.
Location: 607 & 603 Woodward Avenue
Two more hidden Middle Eastern/Egyptian mini-stores along WWR.
14. Cracovia Deli
What it is: Polish deli
Location: 501 Woodward Avenue (corner of Greene)
If I could shout it from the rooftops or skywrite it, I would: CRACOVIA DELI IS MY FAVORITE POLISH DELI IN RIDGEWOOD. Why? They have the BEST homemade soups and sauerkraut & mushroom–stuffed savory blintzes. The best potato pancakes! Unlike other Polish delis, the food is cooked to order—and it’s worth the wait. While enduring a never-ending sickness this past winter I literally survived on their chicken noodle soup with dill and Ukrainian borscht. Plus, it feels kinda old-timey in there, and it’s never crowded yet you can tell they get a lot of business.
15. Ridgewood Pork Store
What is: The pork store you take out-of-towners to if you want to impress them
Location: 516 Seneca Avenue (corner of Bleecker)
The highlight of the tour! We love all the neighborhood’s pork stores, including Muncan (6086 Myrtle Avenue, near Fresh Pond—unfortunately out of the tour’s range), but the beautifully preserved Ridgewood Pork Store stands out as the most artful and creative of the bunch. We binged on smoked Wagyu beef, rosemary lamb, hazelnut-studded salami, and more while the counter guy reminisced about the old Ridgewood and the beauty of Stockholm Street (and he’s a Bunker fan, too!). Plus, he’s super-generous with the samples, to the point where you feel like you should ask him to stop (and he’ll even pack up the uneaten samples for you to take home).
16. Guadalajara de Dia 2
What it is: Mexican restaurant/mini-market
Location: 566 Seneca Avenue (corner of Menahan)
The best tacos can be found at Taqueria El Paisa, but check out Guadalajara de Dia 2 for paletas, or popsicles, in flavors like tamarind, maple-walnut, rice pudding, limón, strawberry cream, and hibiscus. The “El Palaton” brand pops, made in Passaic, NJ, contain no fillers—just fruit, sugar, and water. Muy delicioso!
17. Grimaldi’s Bakery
What it is: Italian bakery
Location: 2101 Menahan Street
We walked up Menahan to Grimaldi’s—a neighborhood staltwart since 1959. Stephen swears by their baguettes!
18. Catania Bakery
What it is: Italian bakery
Location: 64-10 Fresh Pond Road
We raved about Catania‘s sfogliatelle in our first-ever Ridgefood post, and it remains our favorite pastry in the ‘hood. Crispy-soft, flaky layers filled with fluffy white cream: the best.
What we bought: sfogliatelle, of course (Mollie)
19. European Coffee Bar
What it is: Coffee shop
Location: 6607 Fresh Pond Road
The official tour itinerary called for slices at Minitalia to round out the day, but we were so full of samples from the Ridgewood Pork Store that we went to European Coffee Bar on Fresh Pond instead. Booze! Espresso drinks! The big arancini (rice balls) and gelato looked tasty, too!
Official Ridgefood Grocery Shopping Tour Map:
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