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Souvenir sardines swim among Hershey and M&M’s on Times Square

Al Urbanski
The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine, New York City.
The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine, New York City.

A colorful import from Portugal has dropped anchor in Times Square. 

A Tripadvisor review of a popular shop in Lisbon asked, “Where else in the world are you likely to come across shops where virtually the only product on sale is tins of Portuguese sardines?”

The answer to this question is now “Two Times Square in Manhattan.”

The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine, which operates 21 stores in Portugal,  had made  its first American home at that address, salting the Great White Way with festively designed cans of the preserved little herrings—some of which are souvenirs adorned with birth dates.

Green and gold hues dominate the Times Square store, which is designed as a canning library. The two-level space is stacked floor to ceiling with colorful cans of sardines, which sell for about $13 and up. The sardines, which are skinless and boneless, come in a variety of flavors and are packed in extra virgin olive oil.  The cans are illustrated with attractive designs, intended as a souvenir that carries the history of Portugal wrapped in originality, the company said.

“Understanding the nature of the tenant’s business concept, we immediately identified Two Times Square as a prime location for its first U.S. retail presence,” said Gabriel Staab of Newmark Retail, which secured the lease. “International businesses have demonstrated a strong track record in Times Square, which has resulted in momentum for lease size and demand within the submarket–a great indication for the area’s overall stability."

The opening of the store comes as canned fish consumption in the U.S. is on the upswing, fueled by changes in consumer tastes, convenience and the adoption of a healthier lifestyle.

The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine (known as Mundo Fantastico da Sardinha in Portugal) was created in 2016 by Comur Corporation, a cannery in the north of Portugal. Comur envisioned the brand, which was born from the desire to celebrate canned fish as a heritage of Portuguese culture, as a one-of-a-kind souvenir shop intertwined with the country's passion for the sea. 

Two Times Square, owned by Sherwood Equities, anchors the north end of New York City’s most popular tourist destination. The building bears the famous Coca-Cola sign seen in many depictions of Times Square and houses the newly signed Van Leeuwen ice cream shop, the Renaissance Hotel, Olive Garden, Lids, and Happy Socks.

The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine is a brand of The Value of Time Group.Group, which was founded in 1994 with the dream of promoting the traditions and historical treasures of Portugal.

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