I’m usually a stickler for cheaper products and services. Not that cheap is always good, but I look for more value for money more than anything else. But sometimes I don’t mind paying a little premium to get better service.
And in the realm of bookstores, anything related to cooking and eating, Kitchen Arts & Letters is worth the time (and money) out of a short NYC visit.
It isn’t a huge bookstore. You’d actually get to go around it in less than 5 minutes. But if anything edible piques your interest, you’d get lost in the shelves, poring over them again and again and again.
Because its not just books, its also magazines written for food, about food and on food. From history to travel to farming to gathering to preserving to cooking to eating and dining out.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time browsing through reading material in brick and mortar bookstores and their online counterparts and, somehow, Kitchen Arts & Letters carries books and magazines that you can never find anywhere else. I was lost in the shelves of cookbooks, memoirs, history books for more than an hour. I had a hard time deciding which books and /or magazines to bring home.
But these isn’t the cherry on top of the perfectly good bookstore sundae, its the people who run the store.
I’ve later discovered that Matt, the gentleman behind the cashier who was patient to answer the persistent, recurring question (“What cookbook should I get Gail?”) of an elderly lady, is one of the two men who manage the entire store. Yes, two people manage this entire bookstore operation.
Matt was extra helpful and, most importantly, was able every question I had about each book and magazine I picked up. I simply gave him an idea of what I was looking for and he actually pointed me towards the right direction.
He knew his stuff damn well. Props to that.
I couldn’t believe that there was a retail store that wasn’t of hoity toity, flip-your-nose-up stature that could do that. Can you tell me why don’t all stores have this wealth of knowledge about the products they sell and willingness to assist customers?
But they should! They all should. I really wish they would.
Good thing I don’t live near the bookstore, but if I did, I sure would love to work for them.
Kitchen Arts & Letters
1435 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10128
Open Mondays 1PM-6PM
Tuesday to Fridays 10AM-630PM
Closed on Sundays
+1 (212) 876-5550