2. Porto Rico Importing Company
For three generations, the Porto Rico Importing Company has been owned and operated by the Longo family. Italian immigrant Patsy Albanese started the store in 1907 at 195 Bleecker, providing recent Italian immigrants like himself with the comforts of home in the form of spices, dried mushrooms, oils, pasta, and coffee and tea. Across the street from Porto Rico at 201 Bleecker Street was the Longo Sanitary Bakery, owned by the Italian Longo family. In 1958, Albanese sold Porto to the Longos and the store moved into the bakery’s former space. To this day, third-generation owner Peter Longo still lives upstairs from Porto Rico. Even as the business has continued to grow, the Longo family has been committed to ensuring it remains true to the sensibilities of the neighborhood, bringing together customers and employees into one collective family.
Porto Rico offers 130 varieties of coffee from countries like Burundi, Indonesia, and Guatemala. Its tea selection is just as expansive, with options including their Tanzanian Usambara and Assam Koilmari blends. The company is most well known for having helped to pioneer flavored coffee, which began as a trend during the 1980s. With flavors ranging from caramel to chocolate cherry and blueberry creme, the Porto Rico Important Company has countless options for customers to choose from. In addition, the store offers a selection of candy, including chocolate-covered espresso beans and pumpkin pie coated almonds with a graham cracker crust. Besides candies, other unique products include Torani Italian syrups used primarily for Italian sodas.