Eli Zabar, 73, describes himself as “New York’s neighborhood grocer.” Along with his flagship store and restaurant at the corner of 80th
and Third, his delicious New York City empire includes more than a dozen Upper East Side locations, plus an online store
– all inspired by the food markets and old-world wines of Europe. The lifelong New Yorker travels for business and pleasure – with his wife, Devon Fredericks; his kids; various colleagues; and sometimes his wheaten terriers. His favorite stop: Paris. (Burgundy, Piedmont, Sicily, Havana, and Venice also rate high.) For culinary immersion, he heads to the Avenue President Wilson market in Paris and the Coustellet farmers’ market in Provence. His “endlessly patient” travel advisor, NYC-based Valerie Benham, “is great at finding convertibles to rent at out-of-the-way airports,” Zabar says.
I DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT:
1. I’m a pilot, so my plane, a Cessna Citation jet, is often an essential.
2. A Ralph Lauren navy down vest. I wish he’d start making them again.
3. A gray cashmere watch cap. I often come home via Reykjavík, Iceland, so staying
warm is important.
4. Six months’ worth of New Yorkers.
5. Sandwiches from my café E.A.T. Most of the time, a three-day-old E.A.T. sandwich is better than anything available locally.
6. A Bodum coffee press or Melitta cone with filters and Kenya AA coffee, ground. You can always find hot water. Even in a tent in the desert in Jordan.
7. My Vélib’ card. I love the rent-a-bike system in Paris.
Top portrait by Jessica Antola.
Originally appeared in November 2016 issue of Virtuoso Life.