Kurowycky - is it really gone?
I walked by Kurowycky tonight and while the market was dark it looked completely empty inside.
There was 3 signs in the window, one that that said "All Groceries 50% off" and there were two construction permits.
A woman walking buy said either yesterday or today they had only 1 ham to sell and then the place shut down. She also noted that Teresas will likely close after failing to reach an agreement over a steep rent hike.
I just did a search of recent press and found no mention of Kurowycky in the past month.
Anyone have any insight on what's going on?
Alas, today was their last day.
I went in to get some ham and kielbasy and saw the signs. I talked to Orest Kurowycky Jr. (Jerry), who said he couldn't make a profit any more. The rent will double with the next lease, and the food inspectors have been hounding him. The latest idiocy was a demand to spend $15,000 to install grease traps, and he got fined every week for displaying sausage outside of refrigerated cases.
Also, the older generation of customers is dying off. A Kurowycky ham is now a holiday special rather than something you have every day or two, and the low-fat craziness, which produces flavorless meats and sausages, is something he won't do.
He plans to sublet the space for the remainder of the lease, but it certainly won't be a butcher shop.
A ray of hope is that he plans to open a mail-order business, making only hams and a few varieties of kielbasy, in about 6 months. He promised to post an announcement on Chowhound when he does.
The NYT article indicated that he owned the building, so I'm not sure that the rent was the issue. Just that he got much more business from his poorer eastern European customers than from the much more affluent, but less sausage & ham eating neighborhood residents that replaced them. Since the property value has increased, he can get more from renting the space than running the business.
There's something on their web site, sausagenyc.com:
It is with great sadness that I am announcing the closing of Kurowycky Meat products after 52 years. Today’s economic climate just does not support a small business on the scale that ours endeavors to survive in. Thank you all for all your years of support. We are closing as of this Saturday, June 2nd . It was a great ride and again, we thank you all.
That's really sad. Many of my Christmas/Easter hams came from them, and their kielbasa had the most density of any. At least we still have that porky place on Second Avenue just north of St. Mark's Place. And Faicco's, of course. But Kurowycky will really be missed. Martha Stewart's father used to buy his hams there!