The Zabar's Story

Lillian and Louis

For over 70 years, Zabar's has been located on Broadway at 80th Street. But, not always as it exists today.

In 1934 Louis and Lillian Zabar started Zabar's by renting an Appetizing Counter in a Daitch Market. Louis had a philosophy. He would sell only the highest quality smoked fish at a fair price. He wanted his customers to trust him and he wanted them to become "regulars".

He traveled to the smokehouses and sampled the smoked fish himself. He refused much more than he accepted. He developed a reputation of being hard to please. Over the years Lillian and Louis took over the Daitch Market - and Zabar's was born. Louis worked long hours; he roasted his own coffee. He hand selected every item that Zabar's sold - always wanting to give his customers the best available at a "fair" price. The store was his life.

Zabar's 1945

Louis died in 1950. Saul and Stanley Zabar took over running the store. Eli Zabar, their youngest son, was still in school and would help out by working evenings and weekends. Stanley applied himself to the business issues, and Saul became involved with the smoked fish, coffee, and day to day store issues. It wasn't easy but Zabar's flourished.

Over the years the store expanded, taking over neighboring stores, as they became available. Saul and Stanley hired Murray Klein to run the retail operations. In the mid 1970's Zabar's opened The Mezzanine. The Mezzanine offered kitchen appliances and gadgets from every corner of the world. Remaining true to Louis Zabar's philosophy whatever was sold had to be the best quality and the price had to be right. Zabar's even sued a major manufacturer of food processors who refused to sell to Zabar's because of Zabar's discounted prices.

Zabar's Today

Zabar's battled major department stores over caviar prices. New Yorkers came to trust in and love Zabar's. Murray Klein retired many years ago but Saul and Stanley are still running the store - actually the whole family is involved. Ann Zabar, Saul's oldest daughter runs the Mail Order Division and helps her father roast coffee and buy smoked fish. David Zabar, Stanley's son, helps run the office. Aaron, Saul's son manages Zabar's mail order warehouse.

Zabar's is open 365 days a year and there is always a Zabar in the store. Today the store is over 20,000 square feet (almost a city block long). We have over 250 employees. We sell over 8,000 lbs of coffee a week and over 35,000 customers a week visit our store.

We think Louis would be proud.