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The Best Appetizing Shops And Cafés In NYC

Here are the nominees for the Forward Food Choice Award best appetizing shop/café in NYC. Learn more about the awards and vote for your favorites here.

Barney Greengrass

This beloved Upper West Side appetizing shop and eatery celebrated its centennial in 2008. Whether you eat in or take out, you’ll find everything much as it always has been: a bustling, no-frills establishment with some of the best smoked fish, blintzes, classic soups and egg sandwiches in New York City. The restaurant won a James Beard Award for Excellence as an “American Classic” in 2006. Third-generation Greengrass, Gary, runs the show. Closed Mondays.

521 Amsterdam Avenue

Murray’s Sturgeon Shop

Behind the long counter of this Upper West Side storefront, highly skilled, unfailingly polite fish carvers in white coats slice smoked fish with such precision that they may not notice the line forming down the narrow space on the other side. Deli salads, herring, sandwich meats and cheeses are on offer, along with chopped liver and all manner of other Jewish classics, all impeccably fresh. In the same spot since 1946, Murray’s offers online shopping and is open seven days a week.

2429 Broadway

Russ & Daughters Café

One hundred and three years old and counting, Russ & Daughters is run by 4th-generation owners Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman. Since taking the reigns, the cousins have expanded and modernized while meticulously maintaining the food, style and spirit of the original. In 2015 they opened a café a few blocks from the Lower East Side appetizing shop and in 2016 they opened a second, kosher, café in the Jewish Museum. Offering smoked fish platters and herring, knishes, kasha varnishkes and latkes, the cafés also serve fresh salads, cocktails, wine and beer.

Russ & Daughters (store) 179 E. Houston Street
Russ & Daughters Café (LES) 127 Orchard Street
Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Avenue


While it looks nothing like a typical appetizing shop or café, this elegant, exposed-brick-walled SOHO restaurant offers a variety of smoked fish (including a decadent tower), hand-rolled bagels, blintzes and matzo-ball soup. (Sadelle’s also serves such treyf items as oysters, shrimp salad and double-cheeseburgers.) The place identifies itself as a bakery by day and candle-lit brasserie by night. Co-owner Melissa Weller, formerly the pastry chef at Per Se and Roberta’s oversees the on-site bakery, which produces a variety of bread and pastries along with those beautiful bagels.

463 West Broadway

Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter, @LifeDeathDinner

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