The Little Grocery: Food Made With Love in Hoboken

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Family-owned businesses are no stranger to Hoboken — the Mile Square is filled with restaurants + stores that have seen many generations of the same family managing the space. One local spot that stands out, however, is The Little Grocery {1212 Washington Street, Hoboken}. This family-owned and operated business {which is open for delivery + pick up} has a great story and even better omelets. The tightly-knit team here consists of Peggy and Neamet {the owners} and Courtney and Julia {the employees} and this dream-team has worked very hard to bring delicious food and one-of-a-kind service {and now take out} to the Mile Square for years. Here’s what you need to know about this local gem:

the little grocery hoboken

The History + About the Owners

Peggy and her husband Neamet opened the original “Little Grocery” located at 214 Jefferson Street, in 2004, a few months after the birth of their third child, Hanna. Prior to the opening of their Hoboken bistro, they owned an Egyptian-inspired restaurant {including belly dancers + tented tables} in Montclair, when their two boys were little. That was their first foray in the restaurant business. Running a large, sit-down restaurant in another city wasn’t workable with little kids, so they decided that the next time they went into the restaurant business, it was going to be very small and located in Hoboken.

All three kids have worked in the shops at one time or another. Even Peggy’s 86 year-old mother, Dorothy is a part-time dishwasher and stock girl. Neamet has a culinary degree and worked throughout the 1990s in some of the best kitchens in New York City. Peggy worked in publishing in NYC for 30 years but was laid off from a job five years ago. She couldn’t bring herself to go back to work in an office, so she and her husband decided to open a second Little Grocery in Hoboken, with Peggy running the uptown location and Neamet running the original. They sold the original Little Grocery location last summer after 15 years on Jefferson Street but have relocated to their current Washington Street location.

The Atmosphere

the little grocery hoboken inside

Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect when the doors officially reopen for group gatherings and we can all physically visit again. Inside, the inspiration for the design is from classic NYC French bistros like Balthazar and Pastis. Warm wooden surfaces, old furniture, marble counters, classic schoolhouse lighting, and bentwood chairs fill the space. Visitors will feel a sense of home when they walk through the door. The aura of the bistro feels like a warm hug.

Additionally, eye-catching mixed-media artwork decorates the white walls and adds an energetic pop of color. The artist is the lovely lady serving coffee and treats, Courtney. You can find more of Courtney’s artwork on Instagram {@courtneyfrank}. According to Peggy, Courtney is also the creative/culinary force behind many of their new menu items, including anything with banana peppers like the Russian Panini, Orchard Melt and Kitchen Sink Salad. She and Peggy team up to create the Soups du Jour.

See More: Baja Mexican Cuisine: Delicious Food Delivered Right to Your Door

The Menu

the little grocery hoboken food

Before opening the original Little Grocery, Peggy and Neamet traveled all over NYC looking for the best croissant and Balthazar’s was hands down the best. So now, all of the delicious pastries are brought in fresh every morning to The Little Grocery from Balthazar Bakery.

Now, onto the food — the menu here has a strong French influence, as Neamet was classically trained in French cooking. The signature dish here is the “Famous Egg Sandwich” and the title is a testament to how good the dish truly is. Additionally, some of the omelettes were named after the customers who created them. Similarly, The Little Grocery’s go-to sandwiches and salads were inspired by conversations with customers on what they liked and didn’t like. This local spot offers a long list of classic sandwiches, paninis, and salads, but are always adding new items to the menu too. Bonus, all the sandwiches served here are made with a delicious Balthazar Bakery sesame hero roll. Oh, and we’d be remiss not to mention the popular and aptly-named Kitchen Sink Salad, which has just about everything you can imagine in it

the little grocery food

Beyond sandwiches and salads, however, Peggy and Neamet take great pride in their homemade beef meatloaf and will pose the argument that it will be the best you’ve ever had. They serve it on a panini-style sandwich or as an entree. The ingredients for the meatloaf, however, are a very well-guarded secret.

Some of the other signature dishes are the salmon in puff pastry, the classic mac +cheese, coconut bread pudding, Mediterranean chicken roulade, and the homemade baklava. But please note, the prepared food menu changes daily based on Neamet’s changing inspiration — so you truly never know what you’re going to get, à la Forrest Gump.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the drinks. The delicious coffee served here is from Kobrick Coffee Company, who roasts its beans right in the old factory building off of Observer Highway. The Little Grocery has been sourcing the coffee company’s drip coffee beans like “Kiss of Africa ” and espresso “Tiger Stripe ” from Kobrick since day one.

And extra bonus — since we can’t stop into The Little Grocery due to #socialdistancing, you can order their delicious food for pick-up or delivery through Postmates, UberEats, Seamless, DoorDash, or Grubhub to enjoy the delicious food at home, too. For a contact-free checkout, they accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

A Q+A With the Owners

We had an opportunity to sit down with Peggy and ask her some questions about The Little Grocery + find out just where exactly the clever name came from.

How did the name “The Little Grocery” come about?

Peggy: Originally, we opened as a gourmet grocery selling artisanal cheeses and gourmet grocery items as well as coffee, pastries, and prepared foods. We wanted to give it a French name because the food was French-inspired. At first we wanted to call it “Epicerie,” which is the French word for grocery, but we were worried no one would be able to pronounce that. So we decided on The Little Grocery. Then, once we opened we found that the gourmet groceries + cheeses weren’t the real draw. Instead, it was the local feel, my husband making the regulars feel at home by joking with them, our freshly prepared foods and our coffee. We expanded by offering breakfast {our famous egg sandwiches + omelettes}, then lunch sandwiches, salads, dinners, private parties, kids birthday parties, and kids’ cooking classes! But we didn’t want to change the name because it had become a local brand. So we stuck with it.

What is it about The Little Grocery that stands out from other bistros in town?

What makes us unique in and around Hoboken is that all of our food is prepared fresh to order and is made with lots of love. We make simple, delicious food and are happy to make anything exactly to your liking. Don’t want mushrooms in your veggie omelette? Not a problem. Want to create an omelette of your own? Sure thing! Want to substitute avocado for the cheese on your sandwich? You got it. We’ll make it however you like it because we want you back!

We are a classic “Mom + Pop” business. We are here every day of the week. My husband wakes up every morning at 5:30AM to pick up our fresh bagels from Hoboken “Hot” Bagels on Washington and 6th. We are the ones cooking your food, checking you out, remembering your “usual,” asking about your kids, your mom, your job change, your dog. We welcome strollers because we love babies. We’ve watched countless kids grow from newborns to teenagers and we’ve seen many friends move away and always stop in to say hello when they’re back in town.

Our staff is very much part of the family, too. Julia Koppisch started working as our barista and cashier back when she was 17. She is now a college junior but still comes back to work with us on her breaks and over the summer. Courtney Frank, our manager, has been with us for almost three years and is our only full-time employee. We also teamed up with HOLA school and offered an after-school cooking class program at our original location. It was a blast!

Read More: Staying In? Here Are Restaurants Offering Delivery in Hoboken + Jersey City

The Final Verdict

the little grocery hoboekn delivery

Any business can open up at 8:00AM, serve up a few breakfast dishes, and close at the end of the day, but The Little Grocery is so much more. Peggy and Neamet are Hobokenites that care about the city and those who live in it. They don’t just want to offer you a hot cup of coffee and tasty treat, they want to offer you a second home where you can confide in them about how your day is going and what’s new in your life. The Little Grocery is a family that welcomes you with open arms and has killer food to satisfy any craving.

Have you ordered from The Little Grocery yet? What is your favorite dish to get? Let us know in the comments!

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Written by:

Victoria is a fourth-generation Hoboken native, BNR in the Mile Square and part-time in Jersey City. Through playing softball for fourteen years, playing the trumpet for the Hoboken High School Redwings Band, and graduating from New Jersey City University, these two cities have a special place in her heart. When she isn’t Style Assisting or volunteering at Symposia Bookstore, Hoboken Fire Museum/Hoboken Historical Museum, she’s exploring everything the Concrete Jungle has to offer. You can catch her at art exhibitions, local festivities, traveling, diving into a new book, thrifting or indulging in some form of arts and crafts.


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