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Jan 5, 2008 05:07 PM

Demise of Butcher Shops

What's up with the demise of local butcher shops? there seem to be fewer and fewer quality butcher shops in manhattan, as everyone shops at supermarkets. what gives - lack of overall profitability or are local supplies evaporating? any insights?

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  1. Actually, as compared to other parts of the country, I feel pretty blessed with the butcher choices in Manhattan - Ottomanelli (Bleecker St.), Florence Meat Market, Schatzies, Lobels, Chelsea Court Meat Market, Schaller & Weber, as well as decent meat at Citarella. I'm sure there are others that I don't know about. There's also the butcher that used to be on 1st Avenue near Ideal Cheese that moved up to 54th Street. Are there any particular butcher's that you are missing? I lived in DC for a couple of years - 2001 - 2003 - and there were NO butchers in DC itself after the French butcher on Wisconsin Avenue closed (before that time).

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      "Are there any particular butcher's that you are missing?"

      I really, really miss Nevada Meat Market, which used to be across the street .from me on Broadway betwween 69th and 70th. Terrific old time butcher shop where the clients knew the butchers and the butchers knew the clients and you could learn so much from them. They had prime meat at very fair prices and would special order for you anything you could possibly want. They've been gone for more than a decade now (rents--what else?), and Citarella serves. But I still miss Nevada something awful.

      1. re: JoanN

        I miss them too. I couldn't recall the name as they have been so long, but my great aunt and mother shopped there for years.

        MMRuth is right, Manhattan has tons more buthers than most other places in the US really.

    2. I have lived in Manhattan for over 30 years, and though a few butcher shops are gone, I thought it was always a bit short on them considering the population. It is sad about Nevada, but at least the West Side still has Oppenheimer on Broadway and 98th. Even though Harry Oppenheimer retired years ago it has been taken over by a younger but no less devoted butcher who maintains the tradition. I no longer live in the neighborhood but since I have moved to the Village I have been quite happy with Jefferson Market, and there are several others only a few blocks farther from me. I don't agree that "everyone shops in supermarkets", I, for one, rarely do. Compared with just about any other place in this country, we really have an amazing choice of great food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        Thanks for mentioning Oppenheimer - I've seen other posts about it too, and since it's just a cross the park from me pretty much, I'll have to go in to check them out. Maybe they'll be cheaper than Schatzies! Oh - and I just thought of another butcher - on Lexington - Holland Court Meat and Fish Market - and I forgot Faicco's.

        Has anyone tried Yorkville Meat Emporium (81st & 2nd Ave.?) - I was just checking my Zagat Marketplace guide for meat purveyors and saw them.

        Oh - and the butcher I was thinking of on 1st Ave. is Simchick.

        1. re: rrems

          rrems, I'm with you - local and close to the source.

          1. re: rrems

            I ended up at Jefferson Market today to buy duck legs (WFs, Citarella and Dean & Deluca were a no go) and their prime meat looked beautiful.

          2. Essex Street Market on LES has a butcher (Jeffreys) and fishmonger. NYC is a shopping paradise compared to Upstate NY where I'm originally from. Butchers, fishmongers, artisanal cheese shops - so many choices. The butcher shop where I grew up is still in business. I hope butcher shops in Fairway and Whole Foods don't replace local butchers. It's like shopping malls replacing boutiques. I prefer the European way of shopping (close to the source, going to many shops including the local butcher shop) and it keeps you moving and off the couch. My SO participates in a food co-op. This approach may be the wave of the future (really a return to the past) - raising organic chickens, pigs, etc. A local butcher prepares the poultry and meat after it has been butchered humanely (an oxymoron?) and the people that participate in the food co-op pick it up.

            1. Esposito's at 38th & 9th.

              old school butcher, everything is great.

              Bobby, the owner, is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

              1. fish dominating over meat