Sahadi’s wins James Beard Award

Hummus-town hero! Sahadi’s wins prestigious food award

Say cheese: Charlie Sahadi ran the Atlantic Avenue market for 50 years.
Brooklyn Paper
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The Oscars of the food world has finally confirmed what Brooklynites have known in their hearts and stomachs for more than 70 years — that Sahadi’s grocery store in Brooklyn Heights is one of America’s great culinary institutions.

The James Beard Foundation on Wednesday bestowed the venerable Atlantic Avenue Middle Eastern emporium with its America’s Classics award. It’s just about the highest honor available for a casual neighborhood food store — even one that has been around as long as Sahadi’s, according to its proprietor.

“We’ve gotten plenty of very good press over the year, but the James Beard Foundation is definitely the most prestigious food-related organizati­on,” said co-owner Christine Whelan, a Bay Ridgite whose dad Charlie Sahadi ran the store for 50 years before retiring last year. “It’s in its own class.”

The foundation feted the market as the “heart” of the cluster of Middle Eastern stores along the stretch that make up “Brooklyn’s fertile crescent.”

“Sahadi’s is a bulk bin wonderland, packed with locals scooping through glass jars of amaranth, pistachios, dried figs, spices, and roasted coffee, or loading their carts with pantry goods like pomegranate molasses and Middle Eastern cheeses,” the organization wrote it its announcement of this year’s five winners. “It all comes together in the deli, where the family stocks multiple varieties of rich, tangy labneh, vats of creamy hummus and delicious seasonal salads as well as stocking the bakery with flaky borekas and baklava, harissa-drenched lavash and Middle Eastern breads.”

Whelan and brother Ron — whose grandfather opened the store on Atlantic Avenue in 1948 — will officially collect their prize at a ceremony in Chicago in May, and she says she can’t wait.

“It’s very exiting,” she said. “We definitely want to be part of that food conversation and we’re looking forward to meeting our peers.”

Reach deputy editor Ruth Brown at or by calling (718) 260–8309. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sid from Boreum hill says:
Good for them!
Jan. 27, 2017, 11:59 am
ursula from downtown Brooklyn says:
Absolutely deserved!
Jan. 27, 2017, 2:18 pm
Joe from Bay ridge and florida says:
Nothing better. They deserved this 50 years ago
Jan. 27, 2017, 7:34 pm
Nadia from Cobble Hill says:
My mom used to take me to Sahadi's when I was little, so I kind of grew up there. They deserve every award they get, not only is their store the best of its kind, the whole Sahadi family are wonderful people.
Jan. 28, 2017, 2:21 pm
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
It's a wonderful store, along with such nearby Atlantic Avenue places as Trader Joe's and Two for the Pot.
Jan. 28, 2017, 5:55 pm
Ros Aaron from Brooklyn Heights says:
Mazel Tov!
Jan. 29, 2017, 1:24 pm
Miller says:
Award for humus? It's just mush! Glorified baby food. Shouldn't be getting awards for that!
Jan. 29, 2017, 10 pm
Annette from Carroll Gardens says:

What a gem of a store serving the neighborhood for many years. The selection of spices, olives and nuts are the best!
Jan. 31, 2017, 5:38 pm

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