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Ottomanelli Mystery - Franchise or Different Buisnesses?

I live near Ottomanelli Brothers and have read about the one in the West Village.

A quick trip over to citysearch reveals that there are in fact multiple throughout the city with different names, does anyone know if it is all the same family or what? (They have separate websites, too!) What's the best meat at each? Any of you use Ottomanelli as your neighborhood butcher?

1. Ottomanelli Brothers
395 Amsterdam Ave at 79th St

2. O. Ottomanelli's & Sons Prime Meat Market
285 Bleecker St at 7th Av So

3. Ottomanelli Meat Market
1549 York Ave at 82nd St

Okay maybe I'm just a bit too curious about obscure NYC history...

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  1. Ottomanelli is the only place I buy red meat. Occasionally, I'll buy chicken at Jefferson Market, but Ottomanelli is on a different level. They grind sirloin or round fresh for your order, which seems to make a huge difference.

    1. I use O. Ottomanelli's & Sons (on Bleeker) as my local butcher (I live down the street) and have been using them for years. The busines is run by 4 brothers Jerry, Frank, Peter and Joe. The store has been there and family run since the 1930s (not sure of exact date). Anyway - the place is great - the steaks (I usually get rib eye or shell, but they have a great porterhouse too) are delicious. They also have sweetbreads, fois gras and many other specialty items. The guys are super friendly and helpful and will special order anything you want - we get our Christmas roast there every year. I am 99% sure they are unrelated to the other places on your list. Here is their website http://www.ottomanellimeats.com

      9 Replies
      1. re: sethfoodie

        I've often wondered about all of the Ottomanelli's - there is one in Woodside Queens too, which is good but not as nice as the one on Bleeker. They always have a TV on in the Queens location with Emeril and other food network chefs talking up Ottomanelli's mail-order - are these places all related?

        1. re: sethfoodie

          In reply to sethfoodie, I am the Frank Ottomanelli who has been on Emeril Live six times, been on several other Food Network shows,news broadcasts, in Saveur and Esquire magazine,etc. My brothers and I own O.Ottomanelli & Sons on Bleecker St. We are related to the other Ottomanelli businesses but affiliated to NONE. Anyone possibly claiming to be me, to sell a product or drum up business, is trying to bank on our hard earned name and reputatiuon. Be informed that we are only at the Bleecker Street location!

          1. re: ottotwins

            Any further details? Did you guys sell the name to use for restaurants? Did they used to work in the butcher's biz with you?


            1. re: ottotwins

              Hi, in response to the Ottotwins, I have known the Ottomanelli families for many, many years. I do know that the Ottomanelli Brothers Market at East 82nd Street is expanding, they are the ones who where located in Macys Herald Square and also in Macys Paramus, and have meat markets located at West 79th Street on Amsterdam Avenue & Union Turnpike in Flushing Queens. They also have Restaurants located at East 86th Street on York Avenue & at East 93rd Street on Lexington Avenue.

              When I called the East 82nd Street store and spoke to one of the Ottomanelli Brothers, he gave me the impression that he was very proud to acknowledge that the Frank Ottomanelli on Bleeker Street is a very close cousin and that yes that’s the Frank Ottomanelli that has been on several food network shows.

              So Ottotwins where is the imposter????

              1. re: CR1914

                You could both be right.

                ottotwins said: "We are related to the other Ottomanelli businesses but affiliated to NONE. "

                you reported: "he was very proud to acknowledge that the Frank Ottomanelli on Bleeker Street is a very close cousin and that yes that’s the Frank Ottomanelli that has been on several food network shows"

                Sounds like:
                1) they are all related by blood,
                2) Bleeker Street guy is on TV
                3) every NON-BLEEKER place is part of a growing conglomerate, and
                4) the growing conglomerate is (to no surprise) enthusiastic to point out that they are related to TV guy

                1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                  NativeNewYorker, you still havent answered my question, where is the imposter???

                  1. re: CR1914

                    There's no impostor. ottotwins said IF someone WERE to claim to be him, THEN that WOULD BE an impostor.

                    "Anyone possibly claiming to be me"

                    He's preempting any future claims. He's not claiming a current impostor.

                    1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                      Ok, I am a good customer of Ottomanelli Brothers on 82nd and York and I talk to the owners a lot. They are great guys. Here's my understanding:

                      Brothers Nick and Joe Ottomanelli own the butcher shop on 82nd and York, the butcher shop on 79th and Amsterdam as well a store somewhere out on Union Tpke. (Let me take this opportunity to say that the 8nd St. shop just purchased a smoker and is making amazing smoked meat.) The cafe on 86th and York is a franchise, whereas Nick and Joe own Ottomanelli New York Grill on 93rd and Lex where you can get a great quality steak for only $15.

                      Nick and Joe's father had a store on 62nd and 1st Ave. way back when, where they worked before opening the 82nd st. store over 30 years ago. They are cousins with the Frank from Bleecker St., with whom they get along very well. The "imposter" is another relative named Frank Ottomanelli who opened a shop in Woodside (and I believe took the web address ottomanelli.com)

                  2. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                    I believe you are correct. Not dissimilar to the Patsy's/Grimaldi's pizza family history. I only go to the Bleecker (spelled with a "C" before the "K") Street Ottomanelli's and especially love his 18 month old proscuitto di parma. Also carries a greta variety of game birds and amazing bacon.

            2. There's an Ottomanelli's cafe on York between 85th and 86th too. Can't be a coincidence???

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jill

                Funny. I was just out in Queens and walked by an Ottomanelli's in Woodside as well. Live near the York Ave meat market and cafe at 85th. The cafe has GREAT, cheap pastas. Reminiscent of Ralphs on 56th.9th Ave.

              2. I've been going to the one on Bleecker for years... used to work in the area, but no longer do, and I still go there - even if it's out of my way - when I need to get any kind of "special occasion" meat. Their steaks are spectacular, great poultry - and for game selection (and quality) they really can't be beat.

                1. Ottomanelli on the UWS is my butcher. The meat is spectacular- try the strip steaks. Also, they pretty much have anything you might want, and if they don't, ask Tommy to get it for you.

                  1. I was just in the Ottomanelli's in Woodside Queens and they were exstatic because they were just informed today that they were named best butcher in NYC in the yet to be released 2008 Zagat Gourmet Market guide.

                    1. In the late 60s, early 70s, I remember buying meat at Ottomanelli's on First Avenue between 63rd & 64th Street. They were run by brothers Nick, Frank & Joe. The butcher shop on Bleecker Street also existed and I was told by one of the brothers that it was owned by a cousin of theirs. A great shop on 63rd Street triggered many memories for me.

                      I never shopped at Bleecker Street because around Easter time they hang up a dead lamb's head in the window. My wife got turned off and queasy but we were told that this is a common practice in Europe - butchers display the animal. No thanks - I prefer my meat to be sliced: if I saw a cow in a butcher's window, I'd probably veg-out!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Beau711

                        its doubtfull that the one in Woodside won Zagat's
                        They do have good meat and probably the best thin sausage ive ever had.
                        they make their own sausage.
                        but the steaks arent that high quality choice/prime you will see in manhattan.
                        the neighbourhood doesnt have the wealth to support those prices.

                        1. re: Beau711

                          The days of hanging bunnies or lamb's heads are long gone. Ottomanelli's on leecker is the best in the whole downtown area, (though some friends swear bby Florence around the corner). I'm not sure the stuff hanging in the window was so bad. Living in France and Italy, I saw wild boar and other game hanging in front of butcher shops. I think it's good we realize where you get a hamburger
                          from, even though we disassociate so easily from the killing or the animals. Rabbit is one of my favourite dishes and seeing them in the window in Ottomanelli's in the olden days was kind of a reality check about where coniglio al rosmarino came from!

                        2. To add to the confusion, I believe some of the other places using the Ottomanelli name were and maybe still are getting their meat from the shop on Bleeker, despite being unaffiliated. I remember this was all major talk about 10 or 15 years ago for some reason, and made the news. It's confusing in the most New York way possible, which makes it great. The original on Bleeker and a very different business, and once you go in, you'll never be confused again.

                          1. I'd just like to say that this is some impressive foodie Investigative Journalism. As someone who frequents the uptown Otto's quite frequently (pretty great and amazing value), and have feasted on some of the Bleecker St. Ottomanelli's Steaks, I have always wondered if the two entities were related, while it seems they are not, they all do justice to food in NYC. Much respect to the Originals though, on Bleecker St, as a native, you must always respect the originals, and anyone who can Keep a family run business running in this city since the 30's.

                            oh yeah and the ottos cafe has pretty epic baby back ribs (in a city with very few good ones, don't test me R.I.P Lexington Avenue Ribs)

                            Clearly, a little franchising going-on, none of which the Downtown Otto's is privy to, for better or worse...

                            get hungry - www.StarvedArtStar.com

                            Ottomanelli's Cafe
                            1626 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

                            1. I stopped going to the one on Park and 88th cause was not impressed with their food BUT the main reason I stopped was when cashier charged me 50 cents for jam for my corn muffin!!! I know its only 50cents BUT it is the principle of it and her snotty attitude when I questioned the charge!!

                              1. I just want to second Sed231 above. I've been going to Ottomanelli UWS for years. Tommy is a prince.

                                Ottomanelli's Cafe
                                1626 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

                                1. In case anyone's still curious about this, I just came across this NY Daily News article from 2005 that delves into an interesting aspect of the Ottomanelli story, "Ottomanelli Kin End Beef Over Name Use": http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/n...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jenniferLH

                                    I've only been to Otto. in woodside once and was unhappy with my steaks and sausage. They didn't have hanger steak, only over marinated skirt and the parsley and cheese sausage was only ok. I prefer teh sausage from Lorimer meat market in greenpoint. I usually dont buy pre marinated steaks and will probably never do so again.

                                    I prefer Jeffrey's in essex market for steaks but now they're "temp" closed. Will be going to the bleecker otto tonight to pick up some hangers.