By Kelly Rush
In the name of one of the businesses I’m featuring today, benvenuti, or welcome! This week, we take you from Japan to Thailand to China to Italy and possibly California. That’s the great thing about Lower Manhattan; you can experience culture thousands of miles away all within one square mile. As usual, if you see any new retailers or spot changes to a long-time friend, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check them out.
Benvenuti – 235 South End Avenue
There’s something about fresh mozzarella that intrigues me. Perhaps it’s because I can better imagine the source of this wonderfully creamy cheese—a cow, maybe in California, soaking up rays on the Central Coast—than when I open up a package of the dry shredded variety. In any case, Benvenuti makes fresh mozzarella on premises, and it comes highly recommended. This Italian specialty deli and caterer offers favorites such as Sicilian rice balls (arancini) in a variety of flavors, artisan pizzas and all different kinds of pork provisions. Manager Nick Liuzzi says his family has been in the business of providing food to lots of people for a long time. You won’t find his grandmother there, but you will find a great source for lunch, your next party or a date by yourself. I don’t like to share certain things, and fresh mozzarella is one of them.
Wei West is one of the new kids on Goldman Sachs’ restaurant row, but it’s making its own name among the recent openings. The restaurant has a flair for fusion and combines Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes into a menu bursting with opportunity. Options include the classics Pad Thai, General Tso’s Chicken and fried rice as well as choices you won’t find on every menu, such as the roast duck Mandarin Noodle Soup and the Curry Seafood Sand Pot.
Real Deal Dollar & Discount – 59 John Street
Have you ever arrived home from a shopping trip across town only to discover that you forgot something essential, like soap or toilet paper? This happens to me every time I shop. For those who live near Real Deal Dollar & Discount, the answer is around the block. As Manager Yusupha Gassama put it, “this store has a little bit of everything.” Imagine a corner pharmacy but four times the size. Cotton balls and conditioner freely mingle with potato chips and portable phones. The store’s motto is: if you don’t see it, please ask. You’re either not looking hard enough or you became overwhelmed by the selection.
With about 20 soups available every day for purchase, Hale and Hearty has the soup lover covered. The menu is always changing because some people believe that soup, like socks, must be changed daily. Hale and Hearty offers low fat, dairy-free, gluten free and vegetarian options as well as classics such as beef stew and chicken noodle. If you have experienced the frustration of longing for chicken pot pie soup, coming into the store and finding that it is not available, Hale and Hearty has a new solution. Go to their website, enter in your favorite soups and they’ll notify you when they’re being served. They also serve a variety of salads and sandwiches to accompany their soups or just by themselves.
This shop takes the concept of the bodega and kicks it up a few notches. It’s not often one finds a sandwich shop and deli that also offers for purchase raw Kobe steaks and filet mignon. Battery Place Market also offers catering in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Their entrees range from Veal Paillard with Grilled Organic Radicchio to a classic mac and cheese.
Biddy Early’s – 43 Murray
Hallmark – 181 Broadway
Battery Park Swim & Fitness – 375 South End Avenue
For more information on retailers in Lower Manhattan, visit the Alliance for Downtown New York at www.DowntownNY.com. You can check out an interactive map with details on hours, locations and services and search the events calendar. Or, stay connected through the Downtown Alliance iPhone app, available for download on the website.