By SueAnn Rybak
Philadelphia chef Cary Neff’s newest venture is a kitchen supply store called C.M. Neff Cook Supply Co. The pint-size shop at 1940 S. 13th St. has something for everyone—whether you are looking for a housewarming gift or a restored vintage cast iron pot.
Located just off the northwest corner of 13th and McKean Streets in East Passyunk Crossing, the 500 square-foot store is packed with an array of new and used merchandise that includes a vintage fish poacher, a Berkel Home Line Slicer, 1970s Sears Crockery, and a cocktail muddler.
Gold lettering on the store’s window communicate the variety of what you’ll find within: “New & Used Cook Books, Chef Tools, Knife Sharpening, Cook’s Collaborative.” And, should you find the shop closed, note the small print at the bottom: “Hours by Chance.”
Neff is a restaurateur, a private chef, and owner of Cary Neff Catering & Events. He opened his first restaurant called Cary, a French bistro, in Rittenhouse Square in 1995. For a while he was the owner of the venerable Sansom Street Oyster House, before deciding to open Coquette at 5th and Bainbridge Streets. After that closed in 2011, he became a private chef.
Neff, 60, opened the cooking supply store in April because he is passionate about cooking and the restaurant business. “There are so many great aspects about doing this,” he said. “I am so glad I did it, but it’s a lot.”
Asked who’s frequenting the shop, Neff replied, “A lot of chefs and young cooks are coming in. We get a lot of requests for things that a store called Previon in Rittenhouse used to sell but is no longer there. So, we are trying to fill in that gap with things they might have carried including high-end pots and pans such as Staub and Le Creuset.”
“I think it’s really important to listen to people and find out what their needs are,” Neff said.
Andrew Campion, who recently moved to the neighborhood from Boston, said he was excited to see the new shop. “I saw the offer for knife sharpening services,” he said. “I am thrilled to be able to come in and get my tools serviced. They needed it.”
For just $8, patrons can get their knives sharpened. In fact, Philadelphia Magazine recently named him Best of Philly 2023 Knife Sharpener.
Neff noted that he loves sharing his knowledge about the culinary arts with others. For him, it’s not just about the merchandise. It’s about the experience. He understands that good food brings people together. It’s about the joy of cooking.
The stores current hours:
Monday to Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Neff hopes to increase the store’s hours soon. He can be reached by cell phone or text at 215-990-5531.