NEW YORK – Greek-American
grocers have a long and illustrious
history in New York City,
most famous of all John Catsimatidis,
of the sprawling Gristedes
supermarket chain. But
Ioannis Zoitas and his wife,
Maria, have created a chain of
their own, and as they expand,
their principal competition is supermarket
giants Whole Foods
and Trader Joe’s, which, like the
Zoitases’ Westside Market, particularly
focus on healthy eating.
hey have owned their original
store, at 2840 Broadway
near 110th street in Manhattan’s
Morningside Heights Neighborhood,
since 1977. Two of their
other three Manhattan locations
are also on the Upper West Side,
and also on Broadway, one between
76th and 77th streets, the
other between 97th and 98th.
A fourth location is Downtown,
on Seventh Avenue, between
14th and 15th Streets.
In addition to their three
Manhattan stores and one in
Maywood, NJ – that one is
called Maywood Market – the
Zoitases are set to open another
one, their first on the East Side,
at Third Avenue and 12th Street
in the next few weeks, the New
York Times reported.
Ioannis – nicknamed Big
John, to distinguish him from
the numerous “little John” employees
he mentored over the
years, the Times reported – is a
firm believer in fresh, quality
food, and is also a meticulous
merchandiser. He will use pencil
and paper to draw and revise
blueprints because, as he told
the Times, even an inch of space
makes a difference to the eye.
Most of the prepared food is
made by Maria directly, or using
her recipes, the Times reported.
She has over time incorporated
ingredients into the food like
kale, quinoa, and wheat berries.
It is a sign of the times: consumers
are eating healthier, and
that’s what Westside Market
Unlike their principal competitors,
Whole Foods and
Trader Joe’s, both of which close
before midnight, most of the
Westside Markets never close:
they are open 24 hours per day,
7 days per week. Particularly in
“the city that never sleeps,” this
is an important advantage.
The Zoitas’ daughter, Ioanna,
sells her own brand of olive oil
in the stores.
Westside’s website, wmarketnyc.
com, includes numerous
recipes by Maria, information
about their catering services,
and a feature about their sushi,
made fresh on the premises by
skilled sushi chefs.
The Lefkada natives, on their
website, relay their message
about their stores to the public:
“Our philosophy is as unique as
the neighborhoods we serve. A
rare find in this business, we are
family owned and operated in
the truest sense.
“Born and raised on a farm
in Ourpakia, a village on the island
of Lefkada, Greece, John
Zoitas arrived in the U.S. from
Greece more than 45 years ago.
He brought with him a love of
fresh-grown produce, authentic
cooking, and a steadfast commitment
to service and quality.
“Food is an integral part of
the Zoitas family heritage.
Everything we do is centered
around our commitment to
bring the best products to you,
our valued customer. This
means attentive managers, great
selection, guaranteed freshness
and premium quality extending
from our shelves, to our catering
services, to the unique departments
you won’t find elsewhere.
We know without a doubt what
our customers want, and how
to fulfill those needs with an eye
to health and cost consciousness.
“The bottom line is that we
love what we do and we care
about our customers. Evidence
of our family’s roots and genuine
passion is apparent everywhere—
from the dedication of
John’s children overseeing daily
operations, to the specialty food
item imported from Greece, to
the staff member helping a
neighbor locate that hard-tofind
gourmet item. “
Maria also offers helpful tips
to website visitors, such as fueling
with superfoods: “From acai
to grains like barley and buckwheat,
beans, lentils, nuts, seeds
and even yogurt and kefir, superfoods
are incredibly beneficial
and easy to incorporate into
“Avocados contain “good”
fat, are rich in lutein for eye
health, and potassium and folate
to promote heart health.
They are high-calorie, so you
don’t want to eat them ‘round
the clock, but do enjoy them! .
Or make a simple salad with avocado
and mango slices, and
finish with a squeeze of fresh
“Did you know that cinnamon
is considered one of the
healthiest foods in the world?
Add a dash to your morning coffee,
oatmeal or fruit, and also
use it to flavor baked yams and
all types of squash. Studies
show that it can help lower cholesterol
and blood sugar, so