New York's best-known name in pricey takeout food, Zabar, is entering the wine business.

Eli Zabar plans to open both a wine bar and a wine shop in his popular market, Eli’s Manhattan, on the Upper East Side in early September.

The wines will be chosen to ‘cross-pollinate’ with the array of meat, fish, cheese, produce and delicacies the emporium sells, Zabar said.

In Manhattan, the Zabar name is as resonant as that of Fortnum & Mason in London and the KaDeWe department store food hall in Berlin. For years, it has dominated New York’s prepared-food landscape.

The new store, a boutique, will start with 150 to 250 wines. Its emphasis will be on upscale and everyday wines, said Jonathan Laufer, who will be the manager. ‘I am planning a trip to France in June and July to meet small producers and negociants and find wines,’ Laufer said.

Laufer, 31, is a salesman at Morrell & Company, a retail store in Rockefeller Center in the heart of tourist Manhattan.

Eli Zabar owns not only the two-story Eli’s Manhattan (containing an eatery called Eli’s Restaurant) but also the Vinegar Factory and E.A.T., a restaurant, all on the Upper East Side. These emporiums were ‘inspired by the food halls and markets of London and Paris,’ his advertising says.

These properties are entirely separate to 67-year-old Zabar’s, the permanently jammed appetizer and cookware establishment on the Upper West Side, owned by Eli’s brothers, Saul and Stanley.

Filmgoers may remember scenes in You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, and Woody Allen’s Manhattan filmed there. First-time visitors remember it as a pre-eminent source of cheese and smoked fish.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York27 May 2002