Where Cooks Shop: Great Cookware Shops from Coast to Coast

Score new finds for your kitchen at these cook-approved spots around the country.

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Gadgets Galore

When it comes to experimenting with new recipe ideas in the kitchen, it seems a cook can never have enough tools at the ready. One great source for expanding your arsenal is those little indie cookware shops stocked with hard-to-find gadgets, one-of-a-kind kitchen items and other treasures for the culinarily minded. Read on for our recommendations from coast to coast.

Photo courtesy of The Chopping Block

Artichoke, Cincinnati

Adjacent to the beloved Findlay Market you’ll find Artichoke, a newly opened shop in a lovingly rehabbed building in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. It’s owned by husband-and-wife team Brad and Karen Hughes, who bill Artichoke as a store “to meet the needs of experienced and novice cooks.” In addition to the basics, they stock unique pieces, including one-of-a-kind kitchen items handmade by local artisans.

Photo courtesy of Artichoke

The Garlic Press, Normal, Ill.

The Garlic Press was founded by Dotty Bushnell in the mid-’70s and began offering cooking classes in a nearby church kitchen in 1978. These courses provided a community of sorts, where the culinarily minded could gather to sharpen their cooking skills … and inevitably bond over a shared love of food. Today that mission is still alive and well. In addition to its classes, The Garlic Press is known for its knowledgeable staff, whose expertise is particularly helpful when it comes to differentiating among the many lines of cookware sold here. The store also offers whole-bean coffee, artisan jewelry and a line of flax clothing.

Photo courtesy of The Garlic Press

The Chopping Block, Chicago

The Chopping Block, which has been serving Chicagoans for 18 years, has a simple mission: get people to cook. To do so, it operates the city’s largest recreational cooking school and gourmet retail store, offering demonstration and hands-on classes, as well as wine courses, private cooking parties and corporate team-building events. It’s not unusual to find Chef-Owner Shelley Young chatting with shoppers about their latest adventures in the kitchen (yes, she’s genuinely interested in how that newest set of pots and pans is working out for you). It’s kind of like a talk with Mom, but with professional-level cooking advice to boot.

Photo courtesy of The Chopping Block

Fante's Kitchen Shop, Philadelphia

Fante's is a Philadelphia institution: This family-owned and -operated shop in the heart of the city’s historic Italian market has been in business since 1906. It’s nearly impossible to find a culinary product that Fante’s doesn’t carry. Kitchenware, housewares, utensils and cookbooks — it’s all here. Browse through the aisles and you’ll likely walk away inspired to try something new, whether it’s bake some doughnuts, steep some fresh tea, baste a bird or simmer a cassoulet. The staff is friendly and helpful and will probably remember you by name by your second visit.

Photo courtesy of Fante's Kitchen Shop

Peppercorn, Boulder

Cookbooks and chocolate and cookware, oh my! Peppercorn, located on Boulder’s historic downtown pedestrian mall, gets the culinary shopping experience right. What better way to fuel a cook’s imagination than to offer creative bites alongside kitchen utensils? Though it carries a great selection of cookware, barware, bed and bath basics, cutlery and appliances, this shop is also known for its esoteric collection of specialty foods. Rocky Mountain Poo (chocolate-covered sunflower seeds), anyone? Bring a sense of humor, your appetite and your biggest tote bag.

Photo courtesy of Alexi Grojean

Orange Tree Imports, Madison, Wis.

Carol “Orange” Schroeder (so nicknamed because of her hair color) and her husband Dean opened Orange Tree Imports in Madison 40 years ago, just two blocks from the University of Wisconsin football stadium. This shop continues to be a favorite in the community, thanks to its impressive collection of cookware, books, cutlery, gadgets, candy and specialty foods, as well as non-culinary items like jewelry and toys. You can even hone your culinary chops by stopping in for a class — lessons in knife skills, tamale making and more are offered.

Photo courtesy of Orange Tree Imports

Hardisty’s, Santa Rosa, Calif.

When you’ve been around for almost 100 years, you must be doing something right. Hardisty’s is a wonderful spot to while away the hours. Stop in for essentials like bakeware, cookware and countertop appliances, and you may soon find yourself browsing cool gadgets like expanding trivets and vacuum sealers. This shop is the kind of place where you can spend an hour talking with a salesperson about finding the coffeemaker that’s right for you, and actually enjoy yourself, too.

Photo courtesy of Hardisty's

La Belle Cuisine, Emmaus, Pa.

Since 1977, La Belle Cuisine has been serving the Lehigh Valley’s cooks with top-of-the-line cookware (think Mauviel copper, Swiss Diamond nonstick and Romertopf German clay) and unexpected finds. This shop is the place to head for those gadgets you didn’t even know you needed … but suddenly must have. The stock includes ice cube trays that make ice shaped for water bottles, along with julep strainers, tortilla presses, a CanLock (which attaches to open beverage cans to prevent spills and keep insects out) and training chopsticks for children (and maybe adults!). The coffee bar hosts “hug and mug” tastings on Saturdays, so stop in for a strong cup while shopping for your soon-to-be-favorite things.

Photo courtesy of La Belle Cuisine

Utensils Kitchenware, Beacon, N.Y.

If you’re in need of culinary inspiration, swing by this tiny shop that’s brimming with items to stoke a cook’s creative fires. Utensils Kitchenware may be modest in size, but the selection of culinary products is far from small. Owner Emily Burke stocks cookery, cutlery, bakeware, gizmos (spiral cutters), gadgets (StemGems) and cookbooks. You can even score breakfast-making essentials (think organic pancake mix and organic regional maple syrup). Stock up here, then hightail it home to the kitchen.

Photo courtesy of Utensils Kitchenware

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