11 Bookstores for Food Lovers Across the Country

If you're in the market for a cookbook, start your search here.

September 29, 2023

These days, it feels like you can get anything online. And for the most part, you can. But in the Age of Information, there remains a special place for the analog. Even, I hate to say, when it comes to food writing. Because as wonderful as our website is (and make no mistake, it is wonderful), and though you can order cookbooks online (and you should, the convenience is unparalleled), there’s something irreplaceable about standing in a cozy brick-and-mortar bookstore and flipping through the volumes.

This is even more true for cookbooks, which are such a visual medium. Staring at the mouthwatering photos and wishing you could take a bite out of them, exploring the shelves and stumbling across a cuisine you've never even heard of that inspires you to try new things—well, that's priceless.

Fortunately, while culinary bookstores are somewhat rare, many of them are excellent. Some are dedicated to new cookbooks, others old. Some have books on food writing, others are literary bookstores that serve great food. The 11 shops on this list have a little something that every food lover will appreciate, and each one is worth a visit. Just promise to come back and click through our recipes too, okay?

Photo by: Courtesy of Kitchen Arts & Letters

Courtesy of Kitchen Arts & Letters

Kitchen Arts & Letters (New York, NY)

Kitchen Arts & Letters is the mother of all culinary bookstores. Since 1983, the Upper East Side shop has served renowned chefs such as Julia Child and James Beard alongside curious home cooks. It stocks a staggering 12,000 titles in several languages and ships worldwide. The staff double as cookbook matchmakers, tracking down rare and out-of-print books and taking care to direct customers to books that will meet their needs and abilities. Though the stock is massive, it’s also intentional. You may not find buzzy, fad-following cookbooks here, but you’ll come across older bestsellers that have stood the test of time. If you’re ready to explore but not sure where to start, check out KAL’s cookbook club! With a three-month membership, you’ll receive a featured cookbook each month and Q&A sessions with their authors, and you’ll get to join discussions with the rest of the club members.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks (New York, NY)

If you’re looking for a vintage cookbook in New York, Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks is the place to go. Slotnick’s beloved antiquarian cookbook shop opened in 1997, relocated from the West Village to the East, survived the pandemic and is still going strong. Peruse the thousands of volumes on offer to learn about the roots of today’s culinary trends. You never know what you’ll find: Guides to Asian cuisines written in Dutch, modern classics from celebrity chefs and 1950s books on soup are all fair game here.

Photo by: Courtesy of Sweet Pickle Books

Courtesy of Sweet Pickle Books

Sweet Pickle Books (New York, NY)

What began as a one-woman enterprise during the pandemic now has a cult status among local pickle enthusiasts. “New York’s best pickle bookstore” (self-declared) accepts donated books and records in exchange for house-made pickles. Owner Leigh Altshuler developed the original recipes herself. While combining books with pickles might sound strange, to Altshuler it was a no-brainer. The shop pays homage to the thousands of Jewish pickle vendors and dozens of used bookstores of lower Manhattan in the early 20th century. Stop by for a bite of New York history—or, you know, a pickle.

Archestratus Books + Foods (Brooklyn, NY)

Named after the ancient Sicilian food writer, Archestratus Books + Foods effortlessly balances the two. The front of the shop sells produce, ground and cured meats, cheeses, tinned fish, baked goods and beverages, while the back houses cookbooks and other books about food. You’ll find a mix of new and vintage cookbooks as well as interdisciplinary shelves like Economics and Gender Studies. Archestratus also hosts a wide variety of events and classes, including an ongoing food writing course, a community cookbook-writing project and talks with cookbook authors.

Photo by: Courtesy of Kramers

Courtesy of Kramers

Kramers (Washington, DC)

The heading on Kramers’ website, “It All Happens Here,” is an apt one. Kramers (originally Kramerbooks & Afterwords) opened in 1976 as DC’s first bookstore-café, not to mention one of the first in the country. Today, Kramers boasts an event space (hosting biweekly literary trivia), an acclaimed restaurant with multiple seating areas, a full bar (with happy hour deals) and of course, lots of books. Kramers isn’t strictly a culinary bookstore; you’ll find a full array of fiction and nonfiction here alongside new cookbooks. The restaurant, All Day by Kramers, is helmed by Chef Vincent Griffith, who was previously part of a James Beard award-winning team. All Day won the 2022 OpenTable Diners’ Choice award and, fittingly, serves breakfast all day. It's no wonder why the DC institution has drawn all manner of customers—Barack Obama, Maya Angelou, Andy Warhol and Toni Morrison have all paid a visit. Stop by for a book, drink, meal or maybe even a celebrity sighting!

Photo by: Courtesy of Bold Fork Books

Courtesy of Bold Fork Books

Bold Fork Books (Washington, DC)

If you’re seeking out a cookbook in DC, be sure to stop at Bold Fork Books, the only bookstore in town dedicated to food. Owners Clementine Thomas and Sam Vasfi both worked in DC restaurants for years and were so inspired by the culinary books they read that they opened their own store to share with other cooks. Bold Fork now stocks new, vintage and out-of-print cookbooks, books of food writing, and culinary magazines. They even have a kids’ cookbook section! The shop also hosts events, the most notable being the cookbook club. Participants each make a different dish from the month’s highlighted book, then bring it to the shop for a potluck-slash-discussion. What better way to get to know a new cookbook?

Photo by: James Jackman

James Jackman

Paradis Books & Bread (Miami, FL)

Paradis Books & Bread is a haven for food lovers, certainly, but even more so for wine lovers. The shop features a beautiful natural wine bar with a menu of bites: pickles and pickle-y things, cheese, dips, and tinned fish paired with the shop’s other specialty, sourdough. Beyond the bar, Paradis hosts a wine club curated for amateurs and enthusiasts alike, plus monthly wine tastings. Meanwhile, foodies will find new and vintage cookbooks shelved alongside fiction and poetry. Be sure to swing by PBB for its wide range of events, from bake sale fundraisers for social causes to arts and crafts nights and video game tournaments.

Photo by: Adam Amengual

Adam Amengual

Now Serving (Los Angeles, CA)

Now Serving is the premier culinary bookstore in L.A. In addition to cookbooks and food zines, the shop sells pantry items like olive oil, candy, tinned fish and hot sauce, plus high-quality kitchen accessories and tools such as aprons and scales, hand-picked for chefs. The shop also contributes cookbooks to culinary events at venues around the city in addition to author talks hosted in the shop.

Photo by: Courtesy of Omnivore Books on Food

Courtesy of Omnivore Books on Food

Omnivore Books on Food (San Francisco, CA)

Omnivore Books on Food, the Bay Area’s sole culinary bookstore, covers all the bases: new and vintage cookbooks, food magazines and even old menus from restaurants around the world. The shop’s big annual fall sale helps move some of this stock to make way for the new releases coming out before the holidays. If you want exclusive merch, you can join the store’s Signed Cookbook Club to receive four signed cookbooks throughout the year. Meanwhile, events such as author talks in the shop are free with cookbooks available for purchase, and the shop also helps promote culinary events around the city that are hosted by other organizations.

Photo by: Carter Hiyama

Carter Hiyama

Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry (Portland, OR)

Portland’s only culinary bookstore believes that cookbooks can change the world. Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry is on a mission to promote food sovereignty, viewing cookbooks as a tool for better using the food at your disposal and gaining independece through food. The woman-owned shop also sells consignment kitchenware and new linens, and it boasts a natural wine bar open daily with a seasonal menu of slow food. Not sure about a book? Not to worry. Vivienne hosts cookbook workshops where you can make a few recipes from a highlighted book and taste for yourself.

Photo by: Courtesy of Book Larder

Courtesy of Book Larder

Book Larder (Seattle, WA)

Since 2011, Seattle’s sole cookbook store has been the perfect fit for a city that loves both local food and independent bookstores. Book Larder's shelves hold primarily new titles from the U.S. and abroad, and the knowledgeable staff helps customers find books to match their skill level and interests. The large kitchen area hosts demonstrations from chefs plus cooking classes, and events tend to feature bites that the staff makes from a featured book. Other events include in-person and virtual author panels (which often include a copy of their book), a weekly fall “soup club” and knife sharpening services.

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