Western Brooklyn

A Guide To Bensonhurst, Gravesend, And Bath Beach’s Russian Supermarkets

The candy display at Smart Cost. (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)
The candy display at Smart Cost. (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)

While Manhattanites and other foreigners often assume that Brighton Beach is the one and only home to Brooklyn’s Russian population and culture, locals are well aware that there are plenty of options for getting your fill of Ruskie delicacies in Bensonhurst, Gravesend, and Bath Beach. From candy and cakes to meats and dairy products with exclusively Cyrillic labeling, no English to be found on any part of the packaging, Russian foodstuffs are easy to find in Brooklyn’s own Borscht Belt, from the smaller outlets to the chain groceries.

The hot food section at NetCost, Bensonhurst. (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)

We spent the last week getting fat off imported candies at Russian food outlets throughout southern Brooklyn (“It’s for work,” I muttered in an attempt to convince myself of as much as I stuck my 15th cow caramel of the day into my mouth), and here’s what we found. Behold, the Bean’s guide to the best (full-service) Russian supermarkets in Bensonhurst, Gravesend, and Bath Beach:

The impressive array of produce at NetCost, Bensonhurst. (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)

Cherry Hill
Cherry Hill is a local chain with two locations, one in Sheepshead and the other in Gravesend. The Gravesend spot is open 24/7 for the ultimate shopping convenience. And people take advantage of that — we stopped by to horde some more cow caramels around 9 p.m. on a weeknight and there was a (small) checkout line with plenty of shoppers still mulling about. Cherry Hill has a great meat and dairy section, a full bakery, candy galore, an olive bar, and hot food that, even at 9 p.m. on a weeknight, still looked appealing (you’ll pay a premium, though). There are baskets hanging from the ceiling, which is a fun touch, and the shelves are ornamental and gorgeous.

Hours: 24/7
Address: 2284 86th Street
Number: (718) 373-4900

Photo by
Cherry Hill’s bakery. (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)

NetCost, Bensonhurst
The Bensonhurst location of NetCost is nearly two thirds specialty Russian products — but that doesn’t stop a diverse array of customers from frequenting it. Indeed, on our visit you were just as likely to hear Spanish as Russian being spoken by customers shopping in the delicious hot food section, the canned foods aisle, or the candy section. The radio blasting throughout the store, however, was in exclusively Russian. Not quite as pricey as Cherry Hill, but also with much smaller aisles, NetCost is certainly a wonderfully convenient grocer if you’re in the area.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Sunday
Address: 2339 65th Street
Number: (718) 627-7449

NetCost, Bensonhurst. (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)

Smart Cost
Smart Cost easily has the most mom-and-pop vibe of the full-service Russian supermarkets this corner of southern Brooklyn has to offer. It’s also the most affordable of the groceries, although that’s to be expected considering it’s also the most poorly stocked. It has a hot food section that has variety, although when we visited at the end of the day it looked less than fresh. The drinks selection was impressive, and the candy was lovingly sorted into cardboard boxes with hand painted pricing. While Cherry Hill and the NetCosts will give you a more formal shopping experience, Smart Cost is undeniably quaint, with great prices and a lot of character. There was also a very fluffy cat.

Address: 257 Kings Highway

At Cherry Hill. (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)

NetCost, Bath Beach
The Bath Beach NetCost is a wonderland of Russian products that has the selection of Whole Foods but without the sky high prices. Quail eggs, whole pigs, gefilte fish, buckets of caviar, and sausages for miles await at the 18th Avenue superstore. Indeed, back in May, foodie site Epicurious declared the spot better than Trader Joe’s. We went a little farther and decided it’s probably one of the best supermarkets in the world.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Sunday
Address: 8671 18th Avenue
Number: (718) 259-8850

Cow caramels?!
Candy at Cherry hill (Photo by Hannah Frishberg / Bensonhurst Bean)
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  1. I shop at the 18th. Ave. Net Cost every week. They have one of the best fruits, vegetables, breads, hot take home foods and so much more. As a senior citizen I get a nice discount on every visit which other supermarkets do not have. I love this place and I highly recommend this store.

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