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This NYC Venue is Nearly as Famous as the Chefs Who Shop There

kitchen arts and letters bookstore

It’s obvious we at Beyondish love writing about food. But we also love reading about it. Which is why we’ve started a new series highlighting local bookstore owners to get their take on favorite local eats and reads. Our second bookstore in the series features Matt Sartwell, managing partner of New York City’s Kitchen Arts & Letters.

This Upper East Side treasure trove of cooking literature, founded in 1983 by Nach Waxman, is filled with shelves featuring more than 12,000 titles focused on food and drink. The store, which counts elite chefs such as Julia Child and James Beard as past customers, prides itself in its hard-to-find cookbooks, bestsellers and out-of-print works.

According to Sartwell, Waxman, a former book publishing editor who recently passed away, always wanted the store to be more than cookbooks. “From the beginning Nach worked hard to have books on food history and culture, food politics and subjects like starting a food business because they are as much a part of the food and drink world as recipe books,” he said.

Starwell shared with us a few of his own personal favorites, as well as his top choices for restaurant dishes in New York.

Favorite dishes in town: The Whipped Mackeral at Saint Julivert Fisherie in Cobble Hill; Panisse at Long Island Bar on Atlantic Avenue.

Best book to read when dining alone: The Oysters of Locamariaquer by Eleanor Clark

Best book to get you inspired to cook: Cucina Fresca by Viana La Place

Go-to recipe book you read for again and again: From the Oven to the Table by Diana Henry

Best chef memoir: Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee

Have a favorite hometown bookseller? Email and let us know who we should profile next.


Elizabeth Hazard

Elizabeth Hazard is a writer, producer and photography editor. Her work has appeared in various publications and she writes frequently about art, culture, fashion and history.



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