142 E. 14 St.
After nearly a half-century in business and more than 275 stores nationwide, Trader Joe's has opened in Manhattan, wooing the city's food-finicky with the chain’s trademark, store-label delicacies. From fair-trade coffee to pristine produce, the airy, bright ground floor space tempts shoppers to fill their double-decker red wire carts with Trader Joe’s lemon-chili pistachios and signature trail mix, flash-frozen veggie blends, imported and domestic meats and cheeses, and Euro-style lemonade, not to mention the deep inventory of vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and organic food. The chain's carved a niche for itself by bypassing conventional manufacturers and developing its own products, introducing a dozen new items a week. Famously close-mouthed about its recipes, store planners have also targeted urbanites long on appetite but short on time: Ready-to-cook meals abound, from Indian biryani to Chinese stir-fries; dozens of freshly prepared and appealing take-away suppers, sandwiches, and salads will satisfy even those with no time to wait. Twenty cash registers, each with a clanging brass bell, and hyper-cheery staff make cashing out a speedy, Splenda-coated breeze.