Astoria: Best Yet Market, an Awesome, Awesome Grocery Store
Best Yet Market
19-30 37th Street, Astoria NY 11105 (near 19th Avenue; map); 718-721-7500; bestyetmarket.com; @bestyetmarket
The Skinny: As one reviewer put it on Yelp, "this is like a supermarket you'd find in the America outside of New York City."
"So," I said to Girl Slice* last night, "I was just in the bathroom, reading Yelp on my iPhone."
"Um, yeah," she said, "Everything about that sentence is so wrong. It's like last week's Approval Matrix about Courtney Love's Facebook feud with Frances Bean—'If only we could go back to a time when none of that would have made any sense.'"
"Yeah, yeah, I know, but I ended up finding out about a supposedly awesome supermarket nearby that I'd never heard about."
"Um, why are you reading about supermarkets on Yelp ... IN THE BATHROOM?!?" she asked while I sanitized my iPhone with Purell Wipes.
Why, dear reader? Because I've been itching to get my hands (washed, I assure you) on some Pepsi Throwback (more on this later). The stuff has proven remarkably difficult to find in New York, and the last time I had checked at our local Key Food (on 31st and Ditmars, in Astoria) there was none in stock.
Anyway, back to the lecture at hand. In looking up Key Food's hours, I saw someone mention another supermarket called Best Yet Market. Really? In the years I'd been dating Girl Slice and visiting her in Astoria I had never heard her mention this place. And now that I had moved in with her, I have been exploring my new neighborhood with greater interest. From what the Yelpers were saying, Best Yet was a veritable paradise with two-cart-wide aisles.
Wrote Yelper Daniel L., "...This is like a supermarket you'd find in the America outside of New York City."
So after we finished eating dinner last night (Green Curry on Ditmars; any thoughts on that place?), I convinced her to take a walk to Best Yet.
"But it's so cold," she whined. "Let's just go home."
"Aren't you curious about this place? It's in a weird part of North Astoria I never even knew existed."
(Forgive me for that, North Astorians. I guess I never really looked closely at a map. I thought the neighborhood just sort of ended at 20th Avenue and the ConEd plant.)
So we walked up sparsely populated 37th Street, past a couple houses and a playground, and WOW. There was Best Yet, in a strip mall that did indeed look like the America outside NYC. And it looked like it was still open. It was approaching 10 p.m., so we hurried across the gigantic parking lot worried it would close soon.
I stopped to snap a picture while she went in.
"ADAM! You HAVE to get in here! It's like Wegmans!"
"What? No way."
We are HUGE FANS of Wegmans; when we go on mini vacations to visit Girl Slice's sister in Ithaca, we stay at a motel near the Wegmans there and end up visiting at least twice a day.
Finding Best Yet felt like going on vacation. It really was like visiting the America outside New York City.
While I wouldn't say that Best Yet approaches Wegmans levels, it does have a prepared foods section (that I have yet to try), ample aisle room (it really can fit two normal carts), and a friendly staff.
I was so amazed I had to shoot some video, as you would never believe that this place existed in NYC otherwise.
Oh, and they play good music there, as you can hear. The Rolling Stones ("Brown Sugar"), George Harrison, and Beach Boys were a few of the artists pumped through the sound system during our visit.
"I'm so sorry I doubted you about this place," Girl Slice said. "I've been living in Astoria almost seven years and I never knew this existed! I will never doubt you again." (Ah, music to my ears.)
I honestly can't make a price comparison at this moment, because we didn't buy enough to secure enough data points.
Rest assured, though: I will be back. And I'll tell you if Purell Wipes are any cheaper here than at the Key Food.
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Update: Bonus Video — Improv Everywhere's Grocery Store Musical
Via the comments, I was reminded that Improv Everywhere filmed its Grocery Store Musical prank at Best Yet.
*"Girl Slice" is what I call her on Slice; I just carried the convention over here to SENY since some readers are already familiar with her from the pizza site. For reasons you may understand, she does not want her real name to be affiliated with a wacko pizza blog.