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Citarella, NYC

Citarella, NYC
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  • Citarella, NYC

    Post #1 - April 7th, 2020, 7:00 pm
    Post #1 - April 7th, 2020, 7:00 pm Post #1 - April 7th, 2020, 7:00 pm
    So a few months ago I bounced from the Bedford Cheese Shop down the street from Gramercy Park. New investors making bad decisions. Took me a minute to find new work which has never been my experience, but...okay. I trained(well, having been a trainer, new store opener, deli manager/cook trainer/manager trainer/ cheese specialist back in the day). And, mongering in Manhattan(I live on the island itself, but way up north). I feel it is always beneficial to become, once again, a trainee. I've been a cheese manager twice since I've lived here, first place closed, the second started off great, but was a bad fit, the third I loved most aspects of, but as the assistant to the cheese buyer there was no room for growth. I joke that I am on a quest to work in every cheese department in the city. That cheese buyer is legendary. He took my cheese knowledge to new heights and remains a friend to this day. So, on to Bedford which in the time of Corona has closed; prescient move on my part. Finally, I landed at Citarella Eastside, possibly the busiest cheese department in the city(when not in a pandemic). My reason for posting all of this, is, one, come visit when in the city! Two, the owner of the company announced today that all employees will have Easter Sunday off in thanks for our service during this bleak time AND it will be a paid holiday. I really like this company(they might have the most byzantine ordering processes I have ever encountered). However, it is probably the friendliest, hardworking company in my experience of over 12 years working specialty cheese in one capacity or another. Also, our customers known for being some of the more irascible in the city, have been sending and saying thanks that we are open. We order everyday so, mostly always in-stock. And, small world, our department also carves smoked fish(which I am learning, I have strong knife skills, but slicing Nova is an art) and our smoked fish guy is another legend, he used to work with my former manager thirty years ago at Balducci's. Now why smoked fish is part of the cheese department is somewhat beyond me. Citarella is known as a seafood destination, one imagines the smoke sturgeon, etc would be part of seafood, but, there are mysteries never to be answered.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #2 - April 10th, 2020, 2:35 pm
    Post #2 - April 10th, 2020, 2:35 pm Post #2 - April 10th, 2020, 2:35 pm
    Congrats on your new mongering gig! I've been a fan of Citarella for quite a while and hope you'll be happy there. I'm unfamiliar with the newer stores, but for many years my sister lived a couple blocks from the original on the corner of Broadway and 75th. When visiting her, I'd sometimes stop for some fish to cook at home. The quality was always high (as were the prices) and I always had a good feeling about the place. The people working there seemed happy and happy to help. A pleasant experience all around.

    My most vivid memories of Citarella, though, are of the famous fish displays in the main window, often drawing small crowds on the sidewalk. I still remember reading a short article about Citarella in The New Yorker a long time ago. I didn't realize until just now that "Fish Window" was written by Susan Orlean, and the uncredited 1987 piece was among her earliest contributions to the magazine. I'm afraid the elaborate daily displays might be a thing of the past (anyone know for sure?), but any business that had a fish artist on staff gets my respect.
  • Post #3 - April 10th, 2020, 7:11 pm
    Post #3 - April 10th, 2020, 7:11 pm Post #3 - April 10th, 2020, 7:11 pm
    Thanks for the link. I did my training at that location. They tried to keep me, but the Eastside store was all, no way Jose'. And, you are correct; the stores I've worked in are
    very friendly.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #4 - August 18th, 2020, 12:40 pm
    Post #4 - August 18th, 2020, 12:40 pm Post #4 - August 18th, 2020, 12:40 pm
    The East Hampton Citarella was my first ever “gourmet” grocery store, years before I’d even heard of Whole Foods or seen Fox and Obel for the first time (‘06 or ‘07). Nice store, sounds like they lucked out by hiring an experienced ’monger!