Some things are better when they’re new but most things just have that irreplaceable charm when they’re old, like these classic New York City butcher shops. NYC was once filled with meat markets on almost every corner, however, today only a handful remain and we’re lucky that they do. With authentic butchery techniques that are more than half a century old, quality meats and shop locations around the boroughs, there is no doubt that New Yorkers are continuing to support family owned businesses.
12. Karl Ehmer
Located at 185-24 Horace Harding Expressway, this Queens butcher shop has been in business since 1932. Specializing in European and German style products, Karl Ehmer’s stays loyal to an old fashion style of butchery. Connie, a butcher at Ehmer’s since 1964 said that the quality and taste of the products are in part contributed to a blend of specialty spices. Products range from chicken to lamb to spiced meats and even wursts. Karl Ehmer’s is open seven days a week from 7:30am to 6:00pm.
11. Los Paisanos
Open since 1960 and in the heart of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, Los Paisanos is fully stocked with beef, poultry, sausage, exotic meats and a complete deli section. Many of the beef, chicken and pork items are 100% certified organic and for anyone that is feeling somewhat daring, alligator, antelope and even rattlesnake are available for purchase. Los Paisanos is located at 162 Smith Street and is open seven days a week and as an added bonus…they deliver and cater!
10. Staubitz Market
In business for almost one hundred years, Staubitz Market is in its third generation of family ownership since 1917. Each piece of prime meat and poultry is hand selected every single morning by Staubitz employees to assure a standard of quality. Meat products include poultry, beef, lamb, pork and even wild game like boar and quail. Staubitz is located at the intersection of Court and Warren Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn and is open seven days a week.
9. G. Esposito & Sons Jersey Pork Store
With an array of items, authentic products and a prime location, it is easy to see why G. Esposito & Sons Jersey Pork Store is frequently bustling with customers. Known for their fresh sausage and in business for over 90 years, this butcher shop keeps it classic with a ‘cash only’ policy. Meat hanging from the ceiling eliminates any need for a menu. Products vary from aged steaks to lamb chops and poultry. G. Esposito & Sons Jersey Pork Store is located on 357 Court Street between Union and President Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
8. Ottomanelli & Sons
Located at 285 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, Ottomanelli & Sons is the place to go for artisanal meat. With an international meat and wild game selection ranging from almost A-Z, you can find elk, buffalo, venison and even kangaroo inside its doors. Ottomanelli & Sons has been in business for over 60 years and has been in the Ottomanelli family for the entire time. Displayed proudly on the counter is a picture of original owner, Onofrio Ottomanelli, who died in 2000, passing the business on to his sons. When asked about a specialty item to order, current owner, Frank, suggested the dry aged prime beef. Ottomanelli & Sons is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Located almost directly across the street from Ottomanelli & Sons, Faicco’s contributes to the old school vibe of Bleecker Street with Italian specialties and the fact that they have been in business since 1900 doesn’t hurt either. Although they are known for sausage and pork, products range from sandwiches to cold cuts as well. For those that aren’t in the mood for something as heavy, a fan favorite is the homemade arancini. Faicco’s is open Tuesday through Sunday.
6. Schaller & Weber
Schaller & Weber helps to keep some old school charm on the Upper East Side with a large variety of meat products ranging from sausages to smoked meats and salami. Located on 86th Street and 2nd Avenue, Schaller & Weber stays true to German ties and history and even features spatzle, a German egg noodle dish on the menu. Schaller & Weber is still a family-run business even after almost a century of being open. Schaller & Weber is open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
5. L. Simchick & Co.
Located at 988 1st Avenue, L. Simchick & Co. brings a quality prime meat and poultry selection to Midtown Manhattan with beef, veal, lamb and poultry products available for purchase for orders large or small. Although one of the youngest on this list, L. Simchick & Co. has been in business since 1992. L. Simchick & Co. puts a special emphasis on locally sourced products, custom orders and organic ingredients when available. This butcher shop is open Monday through Saturday.
4. Esposito Meat Market
Undoubtedly an old school butcher shop, Esposito Meat Market on 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen has customers coming through the door daily for artisanal Italian sausages, steak, poultry and wild game like venison, squab and wild boar. Esposito’s opened in 1932 and a loyal customer for over ten years said they have ‘the freshest cold cuts in town.’ An added bonus…. they still use the ‘take a number’ style of ordering with a classic ticket dispenser on the counter.
3. Albanese Meats & Poultry in Nolita
Albanese Meats & Poultry in Nolita was founded by an Italian immigrant, Vincenzo Albanese in 1923 just across the street from their current location which is located at 238 Elizabeth Street. His son, Moe, was born on Elizabeth Street in 1925 and grew up in the business that he runs today. Moe the Butcher talks of the history of his family shop in the documentary The Last Butcher in Little Italy.
2. Florence Prime Meat Market
Florence Prime was originally opened in 1936 by an Italian immigrant, Jack Ubaldi. When World War II started, Jack put a sign in the window reading “Closed Until The Ware Is Over” and so it was until he returned in 1946. In 1975, Jack sold to a long-time employee, Tony Pellegrino who went on to run the shop for twenty years before selling to Benny Pizzuco, the current owner. Located at 5 Jones Street in Greenwich Village, Florence Prime still has saw-dust on the floor.
1. Pino Prime Meats
Located in the shadow of St. Anthony of Padua Church sits the tiny Pino Prime Meats now run by Pino’s sons Leo and Sal. You might recognize the shop from it’s film appearances in The Godfather Part II and The Pope of Greenwich Village. Located at 149 Sullivan Street, just south of Houston, they have recently been in the news over a threat of losing their lease. That threat recently resolved, at least for the next few years, they were a recent recipient of an award by the Greenwich VIllage Society of Historic Preservation for providing over a century of good products and service. They are also known as the shop across the street from Joe’s Dairy, who closed shuttered in 2013.
Next, take A Look at Greenpoint’s Polish Meat Markets. Get to know the writer @PaigeKasick. This article also co-written by AFineLyne.