New York City’s First & Finest Mustard Boutique, Maille Boutique
When I first heard there was going to be a mustard store opening in the city this winter, I assumed it would be one of those artisanal Brooklyn-y shops, where flanneled, bearded gents stone-ground their own with hand-forged mortars and free-range seeds and the finest imported vinegar and whatever else goes into that delicious condiment. Heck, maybe they'd even sell shots of the stuff! Not that there's anything wrong with that picture–it basically describes the Mast Brothers chocolate outfit, which is amazing and super-successful–but I wasn't really convinced that they could survive the intial rounds of snarky ridicule. Ah, how wrong I was! The rustic mustard shop I was envisioning is actually an outpost of the French Dijon giant, La Maison Maille, and it's a super-sleek, high-end boutique on Columbus Avenue, staffed with an actual mustard sommelier. Who, by the way, totally knows her stuff! THIS mustard store fits in just fine on this particular stretch of the Upper West Side, and, in fact, was enjoying a steady stream of paying customers on both evenings that I've stopped in.
Maille Boutique: New York Welcomes The First and Finest Mustard Sommelier
So how does a store that basically just sells mustard, even if it's great mustard, attract a crowd? Well, in addition to the mustard sommelier, the Maille boutique also pours Dijon into handsome, heavy, stoneware jars, complete with corked lid, via four highly visible taps. "Mustard on tap, what the what, let's go in and see what that's about!", says every couple who stops and looks in the window. And even if they don't purchase the smallest (about four ounces), and lowest priced (a semi-staggering $25!) stoneware jar, sommelier Pierette Huttner is a terrific salesperson, who will guide you through all of the many, many varieties of Maille mustard you can sample on the bar by smearing on breadsticks. So maybe you'll get a regular ol' glass jar of, say, blue cheese mustard, or honey and balsamic vinegar mustard, or morel mushroom mustard. It'll still set up back $9. Which is probably a lot more than you planned on spending on condiments when you left your home that day.
Defining Excellence in Dijon Mustard Since 1747
This whole mustard-on-tap thing is actually apparently pretty well established in Paris and, since your stoneware jar is refillable, the second time around is only $10. So once you get that first one, you almost HAVE to keep coming back, just so you can continue to use your nice container. In fact, Huttner told me that she's had several customers already who have been delighted that they could refill their jars purchased in Paris as a souvenir right here on Columbus. The Maille boutique also stocks complementary items such as cornichons, and olive oils, a dressings, but it's the mustard in more varieties than you've ever imagined that's the draw here. And with such a deep-pocketed owner, it's likely to stick around.
'Taste of France' In NYC: Maille Boutique Opens In UWS
The Maille Mustard Boutique is located on Columbus Avenue between 68th and 69th Streets and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more information, including a look at all of the Maille varieties, both on tap and pre-packaged, see here.