Earl's Grocery in Elizabeth
A new bodega from the owners of Carpe Diem
Carpe Diem’s Tricia Maddrey makes the desserts for the rotating selection at the new Earl’s Grocery in Elizabeth, including the restaurant’s beloved coconut cake.
Sisters Tricia Maddrey and Bonnie Warford have been in business together since 1989, when they opened Carpe Diem in the historic Ratcliffe Florist building uptown. Since then, they’ve moved the restaurant twice—finally landing at their current spot on Elizabeth Avenue in 2003. Now the pair has opened Earl’s Grocery less than a block away from the restaurant. Named for their father, the bodega has taken over the long-empty storefronts that once housed NoFo on Liz, Smalls Food & Spirits, and Elizabeth Creamery.
“The idea is to help shoppers make a meal at home,” says Maddrey. Inside, metal café tables overlook Elizabeth Avenue and a line of stools sit at a counter along the far wall. Stations include a coffee bar, a juice bar, soft-serve yogurt, cheese and charcuterie, a selection of infused oils and vinegars, and a sandwich area that offers what Maddrey calls a food truck-inspired menu, including banh mi and grilled cheese sandwiches. (Take-out only; there is no table service.)
Cold cases hold baked goods made by Maddrey, who also creates the desserts for Carpe Diem; prepared and partially prepared foods by Chef Marc Jacksina (formerly of Lulu, Halcyon, and Nan & Byron’s), and a selection of staples like beer, milk, and eggs. Warford hopes the bodega sparks conversation. “We really want to be able to talk to people and get them to understand their food.”