Who Charges Less in Brooklyn Heights? Gristedes, Hans or Peas N Pickles?

Brooklyn Heights resident Tina Nole tackles the question: Who is cheaper, Gristedes or Peas N Pickles?

I recently found myself without a job after the demise of Air America media, which means I have entirely too much time on my hands, and well you know what they say about idle hands (I don’t either but it has something to do with the devil).

Being that I’m curious, bored and now poor I figured I’d use my
time wisely by doing some neighborhood investigating. My first mission: to satisfy something I’ve been curious about for a while – is there really any difference, price-wise, between the three markets closest to my apartment; Gristedes, Peas N Pickles, and Hans Market on Clark. So, with my newfound boredom – I mean free time I set out to scratch my curious itch.

I based my study on just a few essential items I like most: eggs (6 pack free range), milk (silk 1 gallon), cheese (McCadam, white cheddar) , tuna and frozen Amy’s organic enchiladas with black beans.. Here’s what I found:

HansPeas N PicklesGristedes
Mac n

(Annie’s Organic)


The Winner is Peas N Pickles; twenty whole cents cheaper than Gristedes and seventy-two whole cents cheaper than Hans Market. There are other calculations one can do in terms of service, convenience and variety but truth be told the name Peas N’ Pickles is worth about a buck anyway so they win hands down!

Stay tuned for my next missions: How many total strollers exist in BH and how to survive in the Heights for under $500 a day.

*Hans doesn’t sell Silk by the gallon but they do sell a half gallon for 2 dollars.

**When I first moved to BH Gristedes has this item for $7.00 and even after I told the manager it must be wrong they didn’t change it – but after it burnt down the price was back to normal.

Tina Nole: Former Executive Producer for the Ron Reagan show on Air America Media and author of The Only Livin’ Girl in New York: http://elonanit.blogspot.com

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  • Kiki

    um, some of that would probably be cheaper at Key Foods which is 5 minutes away- and, even Garden of Eden has reasonably priced dairy items (milk, eggs, yogurt, pierogies, etc.). Did you try that?? Silk comes in a gallon? Don’t you mean 1/2 gallon?

  • Publius

    If you have time on your hands, get a granny cart and go to Trader Joe’s and the market diagonally across Court Street, which has excellent produce and specialty items.

    An example of how Gaugestedes will destroy your unemployment check (sorry about Air America):

    Hunk of Saga Blue Brie at place across from Trader Joes: $1.79. Same size hunk of Sage Blue Brie at Gaugstedes: Over $7.00 (I kid you not).

    Auntie Chung soup bowl at TJs: $1.99. Same exact thing at Gaugestedes: $6.99

    Campbell Soup can at Fairway: $1.79. Same can at Gaugestedes: $3.48.

    I could go on and on.

    I hate, hate, hate Gaugestedes. I’m infuriated whenever I get desparate for ingredients I forgot on trips to TJ or Fairway (a convenient bus or ferry ride away, with free delivery over $100), and need to spend 2-6x what any real supermarket charges. Even for milk and eggs, TJs is signifcantly less expensive.

    Gaugestedes’ prices are an insult to the people of this neighborhood.

  • ABC

    People do actually grocery shopping at Gristedes or Hans or Peas N Pickles? (And then complain it’s expensive?! In other news, Barneys charges too much for shoes!)

    But seriously, I’m shocked people shop this way. Key Food, TJs, Sahadi’s, the fruit/veg stand on Atlantic and Fairway (annie’s mac n cheese 6 for $6) are the way to go. I can spend $50 at Trader Joe’s and feed a family of 4 for nearly a week. Really, go elsewhere.

  • http://elonanit.blogspot.com Tina

    The point of the piece was that here are three place one COULD buy a few things because the stores are conveniently located. RE: Key Foods, I stopped shopping there after discovering that I almost bought a loaf of bread that had been eaten by mice! The teller found it before I brought it home and when I told the manager he was neither surprised nor quick to create change.

    Agreed re: Trader Joes – the BEST option yet, but I’m small and so can’t carry much so it takes me a lot of time and planning to do a big shopping excursion there.

    I used to pop into Hans, Peas or Grist. after coming home late after work (sigh) or when I needed something in a pinch. Poor planning apparently leads to overall poverty. Trader Jo’s it is from now on. Thanks for the comments!

  • AEB

    For myself, a north-Heights resident, nearer is ALWAYS better, when quality (as in the case of meats or some produce) isn’t a an issue.

    So I’m not about to go to Trader Joe’s for stuff I can get at Ps & Ps.

    By the way, for animal food, the pet place on Clark is cheapest, if you buy in quantity–for example, a case (24 pieces) of cat food comes to .65 per piece, as opposed to the usual .89 per.

  • Jen

    This is an interesting experiment and I’m surprised Grosstede’s didn’t fare worse.

    We use FreshDirect pretty often, especially for heavy things. Here’s what the same items cost at FD:

    Milk $4.19
    Eggs $2.29
    Mac and cheese (family size) $3.29
    Amy’s Enchiladas $5.29
    Tuna $1.09 – $1.79

  • Bartmann

    I do 99% of my shopping at Trader Joe’s. I love the whole shopping experience: the beautiful bank building, the low cost, and the courteous check out people.

    I experienced a real but not unexpected shock when I went to Key Food to do the remaining 1% of my shopping: to buy seltzer. The checkout person dumps five bottles of seltzer in one plastic shopping bag. I ask her for a second bag (so I can split the load between the two arms that I have) and she looks at me with such a look of disdain. While I’m trying to take bottles out of one bag and put them in the second bag, she gives me a look “what are you still doing here.” Luckily I was in a good mood because my trips to either Key Food or Gristedes are so rare that I feel like I’m on a special field trip to a distant part of Brooklyn. If I had to shop at either Gristedes or Key Food every weekend, I would have been pissed. I’m so happy to have found a place like TJ’s that makes grocery shopping pleasant.

    But I often wonder if and when Gristedes or Key Food will ever go out of businesss. Because given the crowds at TJ’s and the lack of shoppers at Key Food or Gristedes, I think this could actually happen.

  • paul

    we have shopped at fairway as our primary grocery store for years. it blows the doors off of any grocery store in the area in terms of quality, price and value. if you spend more than 200 bucks, delivery to the heights is free, otherwise it’s a very reasonable 5 bucks. we get there either by jogging, biking or taking the B61.

    for weeks when we don’t have time to go to fairway, we shop at sahadi’s and get our vegetables from the vegetable store next to sahadi’s. their stuff is very fresh and they have great prices also.

    I would rather chew my arm off than shop at gristede’s. trader joe’s is great but isn’t a substitute for a real grocery store IMO, it’s more of a huge specialty foods shop.

  • nabeguy

    As go the rents, so go the prices. It’s indecent that BH north of Clark St. does not have a decent selection from which to choose. I literally shudder everytime I walk into Grosstedes, and see a jar of Branston Pickle for $15 that I know Fairway sells for $7.00

  • Monty

    @paul, do some more careful comparison shopping. TJ’s is almost always cheaper that Fairway. Fairway beats on selection, for sure. But TJ’s has all my essentials at the best prices.

  • jiker

    PEAS AND PICKLES! It is the cheapest and has the freshest produce. i do all my shopping there.

  • my2cents

    Trader Joe’s is a massive chain with a vast distribution network. Of course they will have lower prices than local chains and independent stores. I like the convenience of Peas and Pickles to my house so I go there a lot even though I cringe at what essentials like TP and Paper towels cost. Still, I think P&P has good selection and good quality, and their produce is definitely better than Gristedes, which I avoid like the plague.

  • WillowtownCop

    I go to Fairway or Trader Joe’s. I used to go in the Pathmark on Atlantic sometimes until the day I was there and a fight broke out. Also, Silk is not milk.

  • nabeguy

    If only someone would take over one of the empty storefronts on Henry to sell just those the staples that all the other stores rip us off on, that would be great. It would only sell toilet paper, paper towels, milk, cat food and (of course) Branston Pickle.

  • Teddy

    It’s too bad Fairway isn’t on Atlantic Ave. The combination of Trader Joe’s & Fairway would put Key Food out of business. The reason Key Food is still around is because TJ isn’t enough.

  • paul

    Monty, I am sure TJ’s is cheaper for many, if not most, things than fairway. but the selection at TJ’s just isn’t there for me, particularly since I tend to avoid processed food.

  • ABC

    Honestly, at those prices for mac n’ cheese or enchiladas, why not just grab take out? I have had a hunger fit and grabbed a falafel sandwich or an order or steamed veggies and sesame noodles plenty of times. Less time, less money, less cooking.

    If for some reason I couldn’t make it the two blocks from Clark to Montague, I’d crawl one block to CVS for milk or ice cream or certainly toilet paper. I can count the times I’ve been to Gristedes on one hand — and I’ve lived here for more than 10 yrs. How I WISH you’d all just stop rewarding them with your business.


  • Someone

    Petfood: Try nycpet in dumbo. they are in general cheaper than Clark Pet, but not everyone is willing to carry heavy stuff that far.

    Trader Joes: I was going to go there about 2 weekends ago. When I noticed that the line for the register was starting at the entrace I ran right out of there.

  • Tim N.

    I can’t say I hate Gristedes as much as Publius or ABC, and I’ll run in there for something quick on the way home, but I have to add my voice to one emerging consensus: Fairway kicks it, even if the crowds on Saturday are difficult (but still not as difficult as TJ’s… and you won’t need as much yuppie repellent).

  • jed

    it’s unfortunate that you cannot buy ballantine (america’s largest selling ale) in any ounce bottle besides 40 in this part of the entire neighborhood. (no where in the heights.) we’d be doing a lot better if there were 22 oz Yuenglings for 1.59 nearby as well.

  • Joe

    We go to Fairway mainly for essentials though I still haven’t mastered what is where. I hate how its set up but love the prices and variety. The produce is non too fresh or I should say spotty however. Produce place on Atlantic is the best and we will make two trips there a week and stock up on fruits and veggies. Trader Joes has the best price on organic milk and organic treats and the family is addicted to the mushroom risotto and salsa. Sahadi’s is the place to go for olive oil, olives, loose nuts, cheeses and preserves. Fish Tales for seafood and Staubitz for meat. The exercise is good and you actually feel like you live in a small neighborhood.

  • marquise

    Had we a car, it would be Fairway. On warm(ish) days, we make the trek to TJ’s, which is awesome– cheap, friendly, mostly organic, good produce. For emergencies and produce runs, or when it’s 20 degrees, we go to P & P’s, which is only a block away. Gristedes is too, but as many have said– it’s the devil’s grocery.

  • No One of Consequence

    Here’s a hint, buy eggs at CVS. They have that dairy case back there as a loss-leader, most of those big drugstores do. BUT, be sure to check for cracked shells and be willing to shuffle them to get a pristine dozen.

    I, too, avoid Grosstedes as much as possible, but will shop there carefully for select items. It’s such a shame that it sucks as much as it does. And the owner thinks he’d make a good mayor, HAH! In general Key Food has better prices. It’s still NYC, so I can see where the manager wouldn’t be surprised by traces of vermin. Whaddaya gonna do?

  • Eddy

    If you really want to save some bucks go to Costco….

  • PS 8 parent

    Fairway once every six weeks. TJ’s is great, but they don’t have everything, i.e. they’ll have regular flour (good, cheap, house brand) but not whole wheat. Fairways has great sales, and we stock up on packaged goods there. Sahadis and TJs 1x/month. Pasta at TJs, also maple syrup and that off-brand that’s like Annie’s mac/cheese. Sahadis: oatmeal, coffee, tea, cheese, spices, olive oil, rice, nuts. The grocery next to Sahadis for produce, and the greenmarket for same during summer/fall. Key Food and Gristede’s–never. P&P–only in an emergency. Fresh Direct–hate their trucks so haven’t tried.

  • Ten-Year Heights Resident

    As a ten-year Heights resident, I support the removal of the Gristede’s chain of supermarkets from our neighborhood. The store is overpriced and the product quality is sub-par. E.g. cost: If You Care Coffee Filters there cost half as much at Sahadi’s.

    Educated-consumers aren’t shopping at Gristede’s. It’s mostly those who don’t have easy alternatives that shop at Gristede’s. Walking past the store I notice mostly elderly residents shopping there. It’s as if the store’s strategy is to price gouge elderly residents who can’t easily walk to find better alternatives. If so, where’s the morality in that? If you have doubts about management’s business practice see what they tried to do last year in Manhattan: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a96SaIM9rmHQ&refer=us

  • Harry

    what about kombucha prices?

  • Andrew Porter

    There is reportedly a market opening soon at the J Condo, in DUMBO. Don’t know when, or what prices will be like.

    It’s a lot easier for a friend of mine to take the subway from Clark Street and hit Zabar’s, Citarella and Fairway on Broadway, then take the train home, than to get to the Fairway in Red Hook. I’ve gone there myself, and the trip is less than half an hour—and you’re sitting down!

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Andrew hit it on the nose. I take the 2-3 at Clark to 72nd and Broadway and go to Fairway and the fantastic Zabar’s. I grew up in that neighborhood and have been going to Zabar’s for over 45 years. Great prepared dishes. Subway ride is quick with a good book and off peak hours. Maybe i’ll do a video of my trip to the supermarket and time the experience to and fro. Just kidding.

  • Heather

    Got salmonella from Hans. Bought some peanut butter there and apparently they don’t remove recalled items from the shelves.