The youngest son of smoked fish proprietor Louis Zabar, Eli owns the eight specialty food shops throughout Manhattan and the Hamptons known as Zabar's. Eli's two older brothers, Saul and Stanley, continue to operate their father's store across Central Park from Eli's East Side territory.
Eli was born the last son to Louis and Lillian Zabar, Ukranian immigrants who started in the food business in 1934 when they opened the original Zabar's on the corner of 80th and Broadway, where it still stands today. Louis died in 1950 and his two eldest sons, Saul and Stanley, took over the family business. When Eli asked to join his siblings a few years later, they told him he'd have to start at the bottom and work the night shift. He immediately defected, and opened a gourmet emporium of his own, E.A.T., in 1973 on the Upper East Side. Surprisingly, Eli's decision to strike out on his own didn't cause the family much angst: the Zabar family now runs the gamut on specialty foods in New York City.
While the Upper West Side Zabar's is still largely associated with coffee, caviar, and cheese, Eli's East Side empire includes a wholesale bread store, a gift shop, a gourmet deli, a wine shop, and a restaurant. His flagship store is 20,000 square feet of overpriced prepared foods, groceries, flowers, and wine.
Eli's first wife was Abbie Zabar (when it first opened, it was reported that E.A.T stood for "Eli and Abbie Together"). Zabar married Devon Fredericks in 1990 and the couple now lives on East 92nd Street with their twin sons, Sasha and Oliver. They also have a house in the Hamptons so Eli can keep an eye on the Amagansett Farmers' Market, which he bought and reopened in 2008. [Image via AP]