Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
New York City has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around our fantastic city that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.
Image via EV Eats
Joyce Sitterly is a New York-based interior designer currently working on projects in New York City, Los Angeles, and Croatia. Recently, she also helped design Ruffian's collaboration for Anthropologie with designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais. When she's not doing that or decorating homes, she also plans studio visits and parties for the New Museum and frequents SOS Chefs, a spot in the East Village that was closed momentarily—but luckily for her, it's recently been re-opened.
I stumbled upon SOS Chefs in a former, more ambitious life when I took 7am runs. On my return, the shop would be opening for the chefs that frequented the store early morning. I would stop in to smell the spices and exotic ingredients, and enjoy the baskets and pots spilling onto the sidewalk and beautiful Moroccan lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
In recent years, SOS Chefs has remodeled, shedding its Grand Bazaar feel for steel shelves and white neon lights, but the content remains. During a recent visit the following made my must-get list: strawberry, espresso, and chocolate-flavored sugars; salt, specifically a florescent pink salt for curing meats; ylang ylang water (distilled at SOS along with every scent imaginable); stuffed dates made in-house; and the absolute-must item, La Parissiene brandied cherries. SOS sits on a block in the East Village that serves as a time capsule from my early years in New York. Living in the West Village, I thought it was so edgy, with SOS and Casimir (my then and now hangout) serving as an oasis in the grime.
· SOS Chefs [Official Site]
· Joyce Sitterly [Official Site]
· All Shopping Confidential Posts [Racked NY]