Back in March, the good people at Kitchen Language and Fulford PR invited me to join them on a press trip to visit Dean & Deluca in New York. During that few days, I had an amazing time learning about the brand, and it was a privilege to get a behind-the-scene sneak peek.
Dean & Deluca is a multi-channel retailer of gourmet and speciality foods, premium wines and high-end kitchenware with operations throughout the United States and abroad.
Like what I’ve mentioned in my earlier interview with Justin Seamonds (the president of Dean & Deluca), its international presence is expanding rapidly. Today, you can find the gourmet grocer in many cities including Tokyo, Bangkok, Korea, Turkey, and of course, Singapore (opening on 22nd June).
If you have always heard about but never had the chance to visit Dean & Deluca in New York, let me take you on a store visit!
After learning more about Dean & Deluca, I have to say that it is a great concept. Think of it as a food curator whereby it brings in different things from around the world. It is a place where people can get top-quality products. For food lovers, it is definitely one of the must-visit places in New York City.
We started our Dean & Deluca visit at its flagship store in SoHo (560 Broadway, at Prince Street Tel: 212 226 6800 Mon to Fri 7am – 8pm, Sat & Sun 8am – 8pm).
There was an interesting mix of people in the store: New Yorkers queuing up for breakfast and coffee; tourists filling up their basket with their favourite Dean & Deluca’s private labels; and others who are looking for specific brands carried by the gourmet grocer.
We were very lucky to have Diane Stopford (assistant general manager), Maria Roemer (merchandising manager), and Vicent Kirsch (director of visual merchandising) to show us around.
Even though they had many interesting stories to share, I had a hard time focusing as I could not stop gawking at all the yummy-looking food. I felt like a kid in Disneyland.
One of the things that I noticed is the subtle store displays; it is pretty, but not too fanciful. Vincent told me the rationale behind it is because they want people to focus on food.
Dean & Deluca is like a food heaven; there is so much to see, hear, and eat. It took us more than an hour just to walk from the entrance where you see the beautiful fruit and vegetable section; past the bakery and cheese area where they tempt us with samples; to the food counter that displays platters of delicious cooked food; and finally to the back where you can find the seafood and sushi counter.
An interesting thing that I learned during this trip – Dean & Deluca actually has concierges (not pictured) who are on hand to answer any queries, and the best part is – they also provide store tours. The next time you visit Dean & Deluca, feel free to approach them.
160 different types of cheese from six countries. Enough said.
Next, we went to Dean & Deluca cafe at New York Times Building (620 8th Ave Retail Space B Tel: 212 221 0308 Mon to Fri 7am – 7pm, Sat & Sun 10am – 6pm).
The cafe is simple, yet stylish. Offering a good range of sandwiches, soups, salads, and pastries, it is the place for busy New Yorkers to grab a quick lunch. We did a sampling of their signature items, and I almost couldn’t move after the meal.
For those who watch US shows, I am sure Dean & Deluca is a familiar name. In Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf is often seen carrying a cup of coffee from Dean and DeLuca while sitting at The Met steps. Coffee for you?
After lunch, we headed to Dean & Deluca at Madison (1150 Madison Ave, at 85th Street Tel: 212 717 0800 Monday to Sunday: 8am-8pm).
Whereas the flagship outlet at SoHo has more tourists and local crowd, the store at Madison caters to a more sophisticated group.
It has a very different vibe, and while the store is much smaller, it still has everything you need. We were told that celebrity sightings happen occasionally, so now you know where to go if you want to see the famous Fifth Avenue residents.
Some of the bread are baked in-house, while others are procured from the best bakeries in the city like Royal Crown, Ceci Cela, Sullivan street bakery, and Pain D’ Avignon. Again, it highlights Dean & Deluca’s role as a food curator, where you can find the best under one roof.
We ended the insightful tour, and went on a shopping spree. If you are visiting The Big Apple, one of the things that you must buy is ‘TWG Tea Dean & Deluca.’ They have created a special brew exclusively for the New York store.
There are critics who would argue that the gourmet grocer is overrated, pretentious, and expensive. But I beg to differ. I think Dean & Deluca is doing a great job as it offers you the best products from around the world.
It is, not exaggerating, to say that Dean & Deluca is a leader in discovering new food trends. It has introduced plenty of new food products to its customers, and it’s nice to see that the folks behind the brand are staying true to its course.
Dean & Deluca will be opening in Singapore at Orchard Central on 22nd June. See you there!
Full Disclosure & Fine Print: I travelled to New York City as a guest of Dean & Deluca and Kitchen Language. No monetary benefits were received, only air tickets and hotel accommodations were sponsored.