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  • Writer's pictureKaren Seiger

Lower East Side Butcher Needs Our Help and Support

I received the press release below, and it is breaking my heart!  When I was doing the research for Markets of New York City, I spent a few hours behind the counter with Jeffrey Ruhalter of Jeffrey’s Meat Market for the chapter on the Essex Street Market.  I learned about his business and watched him interact with his long-time customers.  Then he took me on a walk through his beloved Lower East Side.  We shared a wonderful cupcake from Sugar Sweet Sunshine.  And he sent me home with a fantastically delicious rollatini  (pictured).  It was one of the most memorable times I spent in a market, and that is saying a lot!

So I am posting this press release, as Jeffrey needs our help and support right now.  Read on and please send him a note of encouragement.  Or, better yet, how about investing in a butcher shop that is also a piece of New York City history?!  Jeffrey has been there for his community.  I’m hoping we can be there for him!

MANHATTAN, NY/LOWER EAST SIDE/February 23rd 2011—Jeffrey’s Meat Market has struggled through the recession to keep the doors open. Jeffrey’s even hosted a free “Recession Dinner” and fed over a 100 people. But with the landlord requesting an $8000.00 renewal fee on the first of March along with a rent increase of 29 percent and with Workmans Comp increased Insurance premiums, Jeffrey’s is running out of options.

Jeffrey has had to raise his prices a little bit but he’s reached the neighborhood limit. “Raising my prices anymore is like telling the community I can’t feed you anymore.”

Jeffrey’s could not have made it this far without the multi-generations of customers that have supported the store for over 75 years as well as the new influx of customers coming into the store to have a real butcher feed them.

Ramon Morales, master butcher, and employee for the family for over a quarter of a century says, “I am part of this family and it’s heritage, I feel this pain as much as they do.  I may be looking for a job pretty quick if no resolution can be found.  I’m scared.”

Although what Jeffrey’s need is an investor or someone to buy the store what he may really need in the future is a job.

Simon & Schuster has all but agreed to publish Jeffrey’s meat centric cook book, but with the condition of getting a reality TV show. Jeffrey’s is shooting a demo reel for the networks next week. But a reality show would still take months to come to fruition.

Words of encouragement are greatly appreciated and can be sent via,, or via our contact form on our website

The common one liner that Jeffrey often quotes, “I’m a piece of antiquity kept alive,” may itself become a quote of antiquity.

About Jeffrey’s Meat Market: Jeffrey’s Meat Market is the oldest original family butcher on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York. Owner, Jeffrey Ruhalter, is a fifth generation butcher. The original butcher shop was located at 188 Orchard Street in 1929.  The shop moved to the Essex Street Market when it first opened in 1939.


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