If you had told me six weeks ago that I’d be singing the praises of the pre-packaged sushi from freakin’ Duane Reade, I would have swan-dived into a super low-key psychotic episode.
In the guts of a gaudy Trump Building on 40 Wall street is an innocuous Duane Reade that’s known through rumors and lore to sell the finest sushi in lower Manhattan.
The first time I caught wind of this convenience store conundrum, I was working for a small marketing company writing copy for a certain notorious menthol cigarette brand when my manager casually dropped the fact that the Duane Reade on Wall Street had amazing sushi.
“No way,” I said, unable to believe that a store that sells almonds, condoms, and shampoo could also dish out sushi that somehow doesn’t cause nausea, vomiting, and heebie-jeebie intestinal worms.
The second time I heard about Duane Reade’s mythical sushi spot, I knew I had to investigate. My manager’s manager happened to be in town and wanted to know if I had ever had the sushi from the Duane Reade on 40 Wall Street.
As it turns out, this inconspicuous store happens to be the corporate headquarters of all the Duane Reade stores, which explains why they invest so much into their sushi counter.
“Oh yeah, they got high-profile clients coming in all the time,” said my manager’s manager, “so they wine them and dine them with their sushi,” he said.
There are plenty of convenience stores and bodegas in the city where you can find sushi and sushi-adjacent products, but you don’t have to be a New Yorker to know that you really shouldn’t make it a habit of eating raw fish from a store that also sells Christmas lights, discount candles, and warming lube. You just don’t know how long it’s been there, how it was made, or what’s happened to it along the way. But the truly surprising thing about all of this is that we’re looking at an all-out trend here.