Every weekend, Joe Garreffa and Scott Young— both fresh out of college—used to find themselves hanging around South Philadelphia’s Italian Market. It’s a food-lover’s paradise: you can wander, smell, and taste your way through new and classic foods, and pick up fresh and affordable ingredients to cook up at home. Their love for ethnic markets continued to grow, and led them on expeditions to Napa, Lyon, Rome, Havana, and even St. Petersburg and Melbourne, to explore what those food-focused areas had to offer.
Almost 20 years and a young son later, the two seized the opportunity to own the food store of their dreams. Nyack’s Simard & Co, a beloved gourmet shop on Broadway filled with international cheeses, provisions, and charcuterie, was up for sale. Garreffa and Young loved the store when they first relocated to Nyack in 2017, and purchased it last October. “We saw nothing but potential for this place. We saw that a brand existed of exquisite specialty food items and now, with some tweaks, it’s better than ever,” says Young.
The duo has spruced up the place with tasting menus, cheese classes, and even “Wheel Wednesdays,” when Garreffa dives into the flavors of a specific cheese each week on Instagram (follow him @joeygsnyackfoodtours). We chatted with Garreffa and Young to find out what’s new and what’s next.
Our food comes from all over the world. Our cheeses are carefully sourced— we import mainly from Europe, and we carry some incredible cheese from the U.S. as well. We specialize in cheese and charcuterie, but there’s a cornucopia of other products on our shelves—from crackers and cornichons to pastas and pickles, to hot sauce and honey—plus charcuterie accessories. We like to think that Simard & Co is a one-stop shop for amping up your meal.
We have some fabulous Finger Lakes wines and Hudson Valley cheeses. You can often find us at the Nyack or Piermont farmers markets stocking up on produce. The best thing to know is that all the food we serve in the bistro is prepared right in the shop behind the cheese case— now that’s local!
So many people tell us they didn’t know we have a quaint little restaurant in the back of our store! Our 12-seat bistro and is open Thurs–Sun, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (reservations recommended but not required). You will have an incredible time eating our cheese and meat and drinking our wine! We do private parties in the space, plus our late-summer and fall cheese and wine classes and tastings.
Joe, tell us about your side hustle “Joey G’s Nyack Food Tours.”
There are so many fascinating stories to be told and doing so while eating is a true passion for me. My childhood nickname is Joey
G. and I really do feel as happy as a kid when I lead tours. The goal of the tours is to celebrate the makers and families behind Nyack’s restaurants and culinary landmarks.
Since April 2021, I’ve led 250-plus guests on over 30 tours. I love our classic summer Saturday tour, the farmers market walk-and-wine luncheon, and the Nyack pizza crawl. Check it all out at joeygsnyackfoodtours.com.
So, how has Nyack been treating you?
We said it once and we’ll say it again: we are obsessed with Nyack. It’s our home, it’s where we’ve chosen to raise our son, and it’s where we feel a sense of belonging that we’ve never felt before. And honestly, we experienced most of that before we even stepped inside the cheese shop, but the extremely warm welcome that this community has given us since we opened has been nothing short of extraordinary. A day doesn’t go by when someone doesn’t say something to the effect of “we are so lucky to have this shop in Nyack.” Can you imagine that? We feel like we are the lucky ones!