7 large American food bookstores

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Cookbooks are a big part of the food community, and the stores dedicated to them function as civic centers, much like neighborhood farmers’ markets. Because while access has never been easier (Thanks, Amazon 1-click), there’s nothing to browse the real thing. Nowadays, there is only one cooking bookstore in Los Angeles: Now Serving, the tiny boutique in Far East Plaza in Chinatown run by former chef Ken Concepcion and his wife, Michelle Mungcal.

For 20 years, Cook’s Library, Beverly Grove’s beloved cookbook store, has drawn chefs and home cooks as a cooking hotbed. It closed in 2009, and two years ago Cook Books, Janet Jarvitz’s extensive collection of used and rare cookbooks in Pasadena, closed its physical doors and became an online-only business. (Jarvitz is looking for a new location for its inventory of over 30,000 titles, which includes historic cooking brochures and nearly every issue of Gourmet.)

The Iliad Bookstore, a cavernous second-hand bookstore in North Hollywood, has a crowded aisle of food and drink books that includes out-of-print titles, and the last bookstore downtown has a solid collection of cookbooks, everything like Vroman Bookstore, the venerable independent bookstore in Pasadena, but they are annexes rather than centers.

Reserve Pantry

Owner Lara Hamilton has mostly new titles in her inventory of around 1,200 pounds, with a focus on UK imports and a strong Pacific Northwest collection, as well as numerous food journals and quarterly . The bookstore also has a show kitchen with a full-time culinary director who teaches cooking classes and oversees food for the 175 or so events held annually by Book Larder. “The kitchen is there to bring books to life,” says Hamilton, a book collector who worked in technology before opening Book Larder in 2011. 4252 Fremont Ave. N, Seattle, Washington; (206) 397-4271; booklarder.com.

Culinary arts and letters

Open in Manhattan since 1983 – 1983! – Kitchen Arts & Letters manages to cram approximately 12,000 books into a 750 square foot space. While founding partner Nach Waxman now focuses on out-of-print books, managing partner Matt Sartwell oversees an inventory (“to the ceiling”) that is more than just cookbooks, encompassing many aspects of culture. food, history and anthropology, as well as textbooks and technical journals. The store works in conjunction with the nearby 92nd Street Y community center to host talks and tastings. 1435 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY; (212) 876-5550; artscuisineetlettres.com.

In LA’s only kitchen bookstore, former gourmet chef draws chefs, home cooks and crowds ”

Cooking Witch Cookbooks

Established over 20 years ago in the French Quarter of New Orleans by former chef Philipe LaMancusa, this quirky cookbook store survived Hurricane Katrina and then moved about a mile from the neighborhood to 2015. It is now home to approximately 10,000 books, including new, used, rare and out of print cookbooks and food-related titles, with an emphasis on Louisiana books. LaMancusa and her partner Debbie Lindsey also host neighborhood-focused book autographs and food pop-ups (Tuesdays often feature Chilean rellenos) and sell a collection of homemade spices and spice blends from LaMancusa. . 1452 N. Broad St. C, New Orleans, Louisiana; (504) 528-8382; kwcookbooks.com.

Lizzyung Bookstore

After eight years in the rare book world, Elizabeth Young opened a brick and mortar cookbook bookstore in Brooklyn in November with an inventory that includes a few thousand rare books, a few hundred new books, as well as the library and MFK Fisher’s personal correspondence. In addition to cookbooks, Young has books on food culture, history, and politics, as well as historical documents and artifacts such as 17th-century Austrian wooden baking molds and trade catalogs for baking machines. wash. 212 Degraw St., Brooklyn, NY; 917-909-1488; lizzyoungbookseller.com.

Omnivorous Food Books

In 2008, Celia Sack opened Omnivore in a former butcher’s shop in San Francisco, a 500-square-foot space that still sports the butcher-era dungeon-style door and ceiling. Sack was previously a rare book specialist at an auction house, so there is a strong antiques component in the shop, where you can find first editions and out of print books as well as rows of new covers. Sack also hosts free signings and author events. 3885 Cesar Chavez Street, San Francisco, California; (415) 282-4712; omnivorebooks.myshopify.com.

Rabelais

Don Lindgren and his wife, Samantha, opened their kitchen bookstore in 2006 in Portland, Maine, then moved it in 2012 to a former mill in the nearby town of Biddeford. There are more than 30,000 books, manuscripts, photographs and other ephemera related to food, including more than 5,000 historical menus and 3,000 images of pigs. Lindgren is working on a multi-volume catalog exploring the community cookbook. 2 Main Street, 18-214, Biddeford, Maine; (207) 602-6320; rabelaisbooks.com.

Read it and eat

The over 4,000 books on the shelves at this Lincoln Park store are new – mostly cookbooks, but also biographies and memoirs, and some devoted to travel and history. There are sections on diabetes, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan cooking. Opened in 2015 by owner Esther Dairiam, the store also has an integrated kitchen in the space where guest authors can cook from their own books. 2142 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois; (773) 661-6158; readitandeatstore.com.

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