clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A Procrastinator’s Guide to Shops With Last-Minute Food Gifts in NYC

Pickles, totes, and pistachio spreads for down-to-the-wire holiday shopping

Conservas, pickled vegetables, cheese, and other snacks are arranged on a red countertop.
Cheese, pickled vegetables, and conservas from Big Night.
Chelsie Craig/Big Night

Holiday shopping can be hectic even in normal times. Add in all the anxieties particular to the past two years or unprecedented shipping delays, and you’ve got one stressful season. Though it may be too late for many of the items on Eater’s New York gift guide this year, we’ve put together this guide with a handful of NYC shops where you can scoop up food gifts last-minute.


Sahadi’s

A stroll through this Middle Eastern grocery store (there’s the Brooklyn Heights location and a newer outpost in Industry City), which has been family-owned since 1948, could easily result in a bigger bill than expected. There’s the hummus and baba ghanoush that regularly fly off the shelves, but the aisles are also filled with imported goods — from excellent olive oil to rare teas — that make for great pantry staples. The store recently debuted a cookbook, as well, a good source for recipes like red lentil soup and za’atar bread. 187 Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton and Court streets, Brooklyn Heights and 34 35th Street, Building Four, Industry City

Archestratus

During the pandemic, Paige Lipari’s Greenpoint Archestratus expanded and has more opportunities for gifts than ever. The recently remodeled spot has even more space for its endless new and vintage cookbook titles and Sicilian cafe goodies. Here, you can also find provisions like beers, wines, condiments, and housemade items like daily arancine, made at its in-house cafe. For the holidays, Archestratus has put together a holiday set with a few of their favorite items, stuffed inside one of their branded tote bags. You can also find fun food-themed ornaments here, including ones that look like a classic New York Greek coffee cup. 160 Huron Street, near Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint

SOS Chefs

Atef Boulaabi has been running this cabinet of curiosities in the East Village since 1996. In addition to the hundreds of top-notch provisions, sourced from around the world and available for individual purchase, Boulaabi also sells several holiday gift sets. Here, you’ll find her line of vinegars (with flavors like elderberry or pineapple), a spice set that doubles as a painting palette, pantry staples like garlic powder and peppercorns, and more. No matter how many top chefs roll through its doors, SOS still feels like a well-kept secret with gifts made to impress. If you’re not sure where to start, just ask Boulaabi for a recommendation. 104 Avenue B, at East Seventh Street, East Village

Bookshelves filled with books and pickle jars, plus a blue wall with hooks where mugs and totes are hanging for sale
Inside Sweet Pickle Books.
Sweet Pickle Books

Sweet Pickle Books

No pandemic opening may be more clever than Leigh Altshuler’s Sweet Pickle Books. An ode to the 1980s film, Crossing Delancey — the story of a bookstore employee and a Lower East Side pickle seller who fall in love — and the longstanding history of pickling in the neighborhood, here you’ll find used books, as well as jarred pickles made exclusively for shop. Sweet Pickle Books is also home to some coveted merch: hats, sweatshirts, mugs, and baseball caps with fun slogans like “New York’s Best Pickle Bookstore.” The pickle theme never gets sour. 47 Orchard Street, near Hester Street, Lower East Side

Big Night

Former editorial director of the Infatuation Katherine Lewin is behind this colorful Greenpoint general store with a tasteful selection of utensils, tableware, and other hosting essentials that rotate regularly. A shelf dedicated to women in olive oil? She’s got you covered. Tinned fish on tinned fish on tinned fish? That too. Oven mitts that smile back? Of course. 154 Franklin Street, near Kent Street, Greenpoint

Edy’s Grocer

Edy’s Grocer, from caterer Edouard Massih, opened during the pandemic with a selection of prepared items inspired by his Lebanese heritage and flavors of the Middle East. At this ultra-cute Greenpoint grocer, you’ll find gift-ready items like house-bottled olive oil, pickled items, and a strong merch selection that includes lemon-shaped pins and custom Edy’s totes. The shop also has a special holiday gift box with falafel mix, spice blends, zaa’tar pita chips, and more. 136 Meserole Avenue, at Eckford Street, Greenpoint

Despaña

For the friend who may had their travel plans squashed by COVID concerns, why not surprise them with some vacation-worthy goodies from a store specializing in top-tier Spanish ingredients. Despaña stocks their own brand of food products— such as chorizo — as well as those from Spain like turron, the almond dessert bars. For the holidays, the store stocks various curated boxes with cured meats, olives, piquillo peppers, and more, available at their Soho and Jackson Heights locations. 408 Broome Street, near Lafayette Street, Soho and 86-17 Northern Boulevard, near 87th Street, Jackson Heights

Riverdel, a vegan cheese vendor located with Manhattan’s Essex Market food hall.
Riverdel, a vegan cheese vendor in the Essex Market.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Essex Market and the Market Line

Take a lap through the narrow, food-filled aisles of Essex Market, and you’re sure to find last-minute gift inspiration. For the funky, there’s Formaggio Essex, Valley Shepherd Creamery, and Riverdel — specializing in European, New Jersey, and vegan cheeses, respectively — while those in search pasta by the pound (New Amsterdam Pasta), natural wine (Peoples, located in the Market Line downstairs) and bulk spices (Essex Olive & Spice) are likewise covered. Also downstairs, you’ll find Alimentari Flâneur, an indoor market with “horny,” hard-to-source produce and luxe condiments from Pith. 88 Essex Street, at Delancey Street, Lower East Side

Kalustyan’s

Career chefs and home cooks have long patronized this excellent grocery store that’s been in business since 1944. Kalustyan’s specializes in artisanal food items from around the world, whether you’re on the hunt for loose teas, snacks, syrups, truffles, or spices. The shop also sells cookware and other kinds of kitchen accessories, making it near impossible to leave here empty-handed. 123 Lexington Avenue, near East 28th Street, Kips Bay

Heatonist

With locations in Williamsburg and the Chelsea Market, this shop delivers on the promise of its name. Here, you’ll find dozens of hot sauce varieties to spice up any holiday gift exchange. 121 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg and 75 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea

Tenichi Mart

Park Slope’s Tenichi Mart is one of our favorite places in Brooklyn for onigiri on the go, but for a wider selection of snacks and so on, head to this Japanese market’s newer location in Williamsburg. Spread out over two stories — prepared foods and a small eating area on the first floor; chile crisps, pan-Asian snacks, and an uncountable number of food-scented face masks on the second — it’s possible to find something for anyone, usually for $10 or less. 188 Berry Street, between North Third and Fourth streets, Williamsburg

John Derian Company

Though this shop primarily sells non-food-related home goods — like decorative pillows and ornate rugs — John Derian has also become one of the city’s premiere sources for sculptural food candles in the shape of cakes, tarts, breads, and more. Want to give the joy of a panettone that’ll last all-year-long? Opt for this non-edible version that could easily be the centerpiece of your holiday table this year. 6 East Second Street, near Bowery, East Village

Gustiamo

This Bronx market is one of the city’s best spots for imported Italian food items like pastas, sauces, and other provisions largely hard to find around the boroughs. Try its decadent dessert spreads, like this version made from pistachio. Gustiamo also recently collaborated with chef collective Ghetto Gastro on a limited-edition run of rare olive oils — a perfect stocking-stuffer. 1715 West Farms Road, near East 173rd Street, Charlotte Gardens

Prospect Butcher Co.

Shelves lines with sauces, seasonings, and snacks span one wall of Prospect Butcher Co., making this employee-owned butcher one of the best places in the neighborhood for a last-minute stocking stuffer. Kewpie, Duke’s Mayonnaise, Crystal Hot Sauce — it’s all here, as are a number of other quality condiments you won’t find sold together at the Foodtown across the street, or many other places in the city. 665 Vanderbilt Avenue, near Park Place, Prospect Heights

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New York newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world