Thursday, March 14, 2019

Todaro Bros. is closing April 2, ending 102 years of business

An EVG reader alert (H/T Val!) from outside the usual coverage zone... Todaro Bros., the Italian grocer at 555 Second Ave. between 30th Street and 31st Street, is closing on April 2.

The owners of the 102-year-old establishment shared the news on social media on Tuesday...

No mention if this impacts their Enoteca Wine Bar next door.

Todaro Bros. moved to No. 555 in 1961 (a few blocks from its original location), and long offered products that you couldn't find anywhere else ... the arrival in recent years of a Fairway directly across the street as well as a Trader Joe's on Third Avenue and 32nd Street couldn't have helped business.

Image via


Pat said...

This really hurts. I was just there tonight for the half-priced sandwiches and pastries they offer an hour before closing. I have gone there for years and when Fairway opened I worried about them but that was when they split the store in half and opened up the wine bistro. I hoped they would stay afloat and will miss the friendly staff. They really had the personal touch and stores like that used to be plentiful in the city but not anymore as the chains are taking over. They were selling sandwiches in the Bryant Park Holiday stalls this season, I thought they were expanding, but I guess you cannot always predict what will happen next. Their tiramisu is like no other. I hope and pray all the employees land on their feet.

MrNiceGuy said...

This is really sad -- this place was like a beacon of light in a desert of Gristedes and other awful grocery stores. Great staff, great products, prices that were tolerable. I'll pour some grappa out for them tonight

Brian Van said...

Very not-happy to hear this news, but it almost seemed inevitable. The wine bar was a good move on paper, but I don't know if they saw the returns from it that they were expecting because it's not utilized very much (I've seen it busy, but not often - that said, booze is a huge moneymaker). Thing is, when they were a bigger provisions store, they were awesome, but then Fairway came in across the street and, likely more consequential, Trader Joe's just a block away. When Todaro reconfigured the store, it ended up being "Fairway, but less" rather than something that stood apart from the megastores.

There was little in there that I couldn't find elsewhere. Fairway is a disaster-scene half the time & TJs is always mobbed, but shopping was easier if you just stuck to one of those two. When it was just Todaro and Gristedes, you could buy the "good stuff" at Todaro and then fill-in-the-blanks otherwise at Gristedes if Todaro's didn't have it (or only had a gourmet option). With Fairway around, Todaro was only good for small trips to get the same things from Fairway (without the lines), but TJ's is a different beast altogether and likely revolutionized a lot of people's weekly shopping routine to the point where Todaro just didn't have the same foods in the same kinds of easy packaging. (Nobody running a storefront grocery does.)

This is sad because there's really nothing wrong with Todaro, and we're losing a great option that used the be the only option for anyone in Kips Bay that didn't want to eat junk.

My hope is that someone figures to open a provisions store with all the good/unique things from Todaro & dispenses with the stuff like fruits/veggies & a huge oversized coffee section. And if they're going to do a wine bar, it needs to stay open late to make money & it needs to open up to the street & it needs to be a cozy place that isn't charging $16/glass. But I would forget the wine bar, it's a distraction, just shrink down to coffee, cheese, condiments, some dairy, bread, beer, and maybe SOME fresh food to go (but not a lot because Fairway/TJ are so much bigger and just-as-good). It probably doesn't help to be right near all those supermarkets + a new Target that's going to put out some food (blech), but if they move two blocks to the north with that kind of scaled-down operation, they might find it works well, is not in the kill zone of Fairway, and is accessible to the Waterside Plaza commuters as well (if they jump off at 2Av/34th and get back on the M34A-SBS after).

Giovanni said...

102 years old! This is like losing the old Baduccis on the west side, or God forbid, our own beloved Russo’s. You could always find something new and amazing at Todaro Bros. Great produce, cheeses, desserts and bread. They always had much better quaility products and service than at Fairway, which has raised prices and lowered the selection since they came out of bankruptcy last year. Plus the lines were shorter, and Todaro employees knew what they were doing.

Fairway is quickly turning into an upscale version of A&P, with more overpriced packaged goods, and fresh goods that aren’t always fresh — recently I was going to pick up a bag of avocados and they were all black, soft and rotten, so I went to Badluccis and everything was fresh. Fairway’s cashiers always make you feel rushed, as if it’s the customers fault that their lines are so slow.

Between the closings of Todaro Bros. and Moishes we have lost almost 150 years of history in the past week alone. Now I see a Bed, Bath & Beyond is opening on 3rd Avenue and 32nd St, and a Target is about to open on 2nd Ave. and 29th. Even as chain stores are closing down by the thousands nationwide, for some reason we are still getting more of them.

I will miss both Todaro Bros and Moishes, two places where I always left satisfied and always felt appreciated as a customer.

Anonymous said...

The loss of Todaro's is incalculable - because it's the loss of the HUMAN touch, the loss of the kind of care & attention that Todaro's provides and that Fairway & Trader Joe's do not (and cannot!).

This one breaks my heart, because, among other things, Todaro's is THE only place that carries olives from the exact town where one of my grandfathers was born & raised. It always felt like a connection to "the old country."

I have ALWAYS gone into Todaro's in preference to Fairway & TJ's, b/c I want to see the person who's making my sandwich and have a little chat as they work; I want to be able to talk to the person who actually KNOWS about the kind of olives & cheese & whatever else I'm buying. These people KNOW their stock, and why this kind of mortadella is different from that kind. I enjoy a store small enough to give that level of attention, and give it with a smile, right down to the cashiers.

I know 102 years is an awesome run in NYC, but it's still too short!!

And while I wish the Todaros all the best for the future, I'm still VERY sad that this wonderful store (a store that is so honestly representative of the REAL New York) will not exist any more.

PS: Does the Todaro's store upstate in Windham, NY still exist, and will it close also? Anyone know?

Jose Garcia said...

Pumpkin Cream Cheese pies at Thanksgiving. xo, jg

Unknown said...

I've been going to Todaro's for 40 years. The prepared foods are great -- pricey because they use quality ingredients, but not at all overpriced -- and always delicious. But most of all I'll miss the people. Several of them have been working there for a decade or more. They were always a pleasure to deal with. I wish them all well.

Anonymous said...

Todaro’s Salumeria in Windham, NY is no longer owned or affiliated with the Todaro family. The owner, Mr. Todaro, sold the business in 2017. The new operation is renting the name.

Anonymous said...

I went to Todaros yesterday since i didn't know it has closed early this month. When I found it closed, I became very Sad. We have lost a great store and their efficient staff. I have been going to Todaros Bros. since 1973 when I came to New York to study.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered this gem a few months ago since I moved in from Brooklyn to Kips Bay. Sad to see it leave after 102 years - but glad it wasn't forced out like so many due to rising rents.