Oh Ridgewood, my Ridgewood. I’ve lived in the ‘wood for nearly all of my life, and some of the shops in this quaint community simply haven’t changed. Even with the New York Times proclaiming that we’re “Quooklyners,” and FOX bringing Weird Loners, a TV show set in Ridgewood, longstanding local Ridgewood businesses haven’t been fazed by the new hype. And this post is celebrating those shops which prove that they’re truly the heart of Ridgewood. So here are a few that you should totally visit – whether you’re stopping by, or moving in. These sites will gladly welcome you with open arms.
#1 Rudy’s Pastry Shop: Ridgewood’s fave bakery since 1934
905 Seneca Ave.
This shop is a local favorite, and has been in the baking game since 1934 (!!), and they literally remember generations of pastry lovers. They have a huge assortment of German baked goods (try the Bienenstich), tons of gelato, as well as vegan and gluten free treats. They were also recently featured on an episode of Unique Sweets on The Cooking Channel!
#2 Valentino’s Food Market: Better than Whole Food and Fairview combined
66-64 Fresh Pond Rd.
Valentino’s Food Market is one of the freshest produce markets I’ve ever been too. In my book, it’s better than Whole Foods and Fairway combined. They’ve been serving fresh fruit realness in Ridgewood since 1973, and their years in the market biz are documented with photos near the cashier lanes. It gets a little crowded there sometimes, so be prepared. It’s probs because they have an awesome soup/olive bar, and really great European grocery products.
#3 Joe’s Fish Market III: “Eat fish, make a cow happy!”
60-94 67th Ave.
Joe’s Fish Market III has been selling their fresh fish since 1916. Their slogan, which you can see from the Fresh Pond Rd. M train stop, reads: “Eat fish, make a cow happy!” As I’m writing this, I’m remembering the fresh fish smell that I experienced when my mom brought me here as a kid. What’s great about Joe’s is that all the fishmongers are super nice, and they supply local restaurants with their fish. The prices are pretty affordable, but note that this market is cash only!
#4 Morscher’s Pork Store: Top-notch meats, poultry & more
58-44 Catalpa Ave.
Morscher’s Pork Store is family owned, and has been offering Ridgewood’s residents top-notch meats, poultry, and homemade European specialties since 1957. They follow traditional old European butchery, and take pride in their family recipes. In the mood for some good ole’ bratwurst, and smoked ham hocks? Then you’ve come to the right place!
#5 Antica Trattoria: Authentic Italian cuisine
68-10 Fresh Pond Rd.
Antica Trattoria’s been churning out authentic Italian cuisine for 24 years, serving dishes from Chicken Francese, to personal pizzas. The food certainly made actor John Turturro dine here. With it’s décor (they have a painted window of the Italian seaside in the restroom) and soft lighting, this is the perfect place for a first date, or if you really wanna treat yo’ self for a nice dinner. They serve you a good portion for your buck here, so get ready to take home some leftovers.
#6 Art Cove: The cutest mom and pop hobby shop
60-09 Myrtle Ave.
Ah, the many years that I spent in this craft store when I was a young lass were, suffice to say, a lot. This is literally the cutest mom and pop hobby shop there is. They do have more craft supplies than art supplies, so don’t go there with Blick intentions. It’s a small business that’s been at the same location for the past 40 years. They haven’t changed to this day – even the creaks in the wooden floor sound the same to me.
#7 Gottscheer Hall: Traditional German food and beer
657 Fairview Ave.
Gottscheer Hall is a great bar that serves traditional German food and beer. While people have noted that hipsters have started to flock there, the reason they’re coming is because it’s an awesome place to be. It’s been around since 1924, and they host an array of events. Over the years they’ve held, “Miss Gottschee,” a beauty pageant for women of the Gottscheer descent. They also hold the Ridgewood Market, which is filled with brunch, booze, and baked goods!
#8 Grimaldi’s Bakery: Bread Heaven
2101 Menahan St.
Imagine walking down the street and all you smell is bread. It’s like you’re in bread heaven. That’s what it’s like when you’re walking towards Grimaldi’s. It’s glorious. Have I convinced you to visit? Grimaldi’s, aka the “House of Bread,” has been on the same corner of Menahan and Grandview since 1959. Grimaldi’s does both wholesale and retail for their loaves, and they have plenty of pastries too!
#9 True Blue Tattoo: Every proper Ridgewood resident has a tattoo from here
62-15 Fresh Pond Rd.
Ok, if you’ve lived in Ridgewood long enough, you probably have a tattoo from True Blue. I would know, I’ve gotten both of mine from here, and I’m itching to get my next one. They’ve been established on Fresh Pond Road since 1999, and if you’re not into tattoos, don’t fret, they do body piercings too. Everything is super-clean and the artists are very helpful. If you have time before your appointment, check out their sister skate shop, Sideshow, which is right next door.
#10 The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House: Magical farmhouse between factories
18-20 Flushing Ave.
The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House is officially the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City, with its construction dating back to 1709. In 1769, it served as the marker between Brooklyn and Queens. In 1975, the Ridgewood Historical Society formed to prevent the house from being demolished, and in 1996, the house became a NYC landmark. Today, the Onderdonk House is host to museum tours and exhibits, and you can rent the space, as well. It even participates in Bushwick Open Studios! It’s not that far to get to, just hop on the Q54, or take the L to Jefferson Street.