Zabar’s, a New York grocery store landmark that opened in 1934, sells more than 4,000 pounds of smoked fish and more than 8,000 pounds of coffee a week. “That’s a lot of coffee to sell in one store,” said general manager Scott Goldschein, who has been running Zabar’s for more than 30 years. “It’s not a chain. This is just one location, one store.”
One of the secrets to Zabar’s popularity is consistency. Every Tuesday, floor managers Ken Hom and Annie Zabarr drink, smell and taste all the coffee delivered to Zabarr’s. It has become a weekly ritual and I never miss it. “One of the reasons he says people keep coming back no matter what they eat is because they know it’s going to taste the same every week,” Goldschein explains.
An Upper West Side icon, Zabar’s is probably best known for its smoked fish as well as its coffee. And buying fish is a job that is taken very seriously. Saul Zabar, now 95 years old, previously worked as a fish buyer. Currently, Tomas Rodriguez, who trained under Zabal for years, is in charge of acquiring the product. “He’s Dominican, but he buys smoked fish for the largest Jewish smoked fish store in the world,” Goldschein quipped.
Once Rodriguez’s hand-picked fish is delivered to Zabar’s, it is sold and served in a variety of ways. The locus is sliced paper-thin by hand by the pros at the fish counter, increasing the enthusiasm of the locals. And then there’s the fish salad, made with recipes passed down through generations. Yuri Kanis, a cook in the appetizer department, has been with Zabar’s for 34 years and knows all the recipes for Sole Zabar’s fish salad. “These recipes are from his 50 years ago,” Goldschein says. “Saul still comes back here almost every day.” [and] He has a taste. ”
Watch full video Get an inside look at Zabar’s operations and meet the people who make it what it is.