We Profile Essex Street Market’s Newest Butcher: Heritage Meat Shop

Until now Heritage, which is based in Brooklyn, only sold its meats directly to chefs and restaurants or online, serving as broker between small family farms who can’t afford to process their proteins or don’t have a place nearby to do it and the city customers who want sustainably sourced meat but can’t work with a whole animal.

Board check: After whole animals are broken down for customers on Tuesday nights the staff at the new Heritage Meat Shop will reveal what pedigreed protein is on special for just $3.99 a pound.

If you missed our most recent NY1 segment–the shows airs Fridays and Sundays–be sure to watch it online here.

Last week’s show was on the brand new butcher shop  Heritage Foods USA just opened in the Essex Street Market. (We covered their forward thinking director, the Slow Foods USA co-founder Patrick Martins, a few years back.)

Until now Heritage, which is based in Brooklyn, only sold its meats directly to chefs and restaurants or online, serving as broker between small family farms who can’t afford to process their proteins or don’t have a place nearby to do it and the city customers who want sustainably sourced meat but can’t work with a whole animal. Last week they took over part of the space that used to house Jeffrey’s Meat Market, the butcher who shuttered his decades-old family business earlier this year. (They now share their space with another borough of Kings business: Brooklyn Taco, which sells taqueria treats just next door.)

While the focus on procuring pork, beef, sausages, bacon, goat and rabbits has shifted to heritage breeds raised by small American family farms, fans of the fourth-generation shop should be pleased to see the smile of Dionisio Silva (he’s usually called “Silva”), the butcher who’d been working at Jeffrey’s since 2004 and stayed on to work the counters at Heritage Meat, which were built, along with the shelving, in the workspace behind the Brooklyn pizzeria called Roberta’s.

Their bakers now supply the bread Heritage Meat Shop now slathers with butter and ham, layers with American-made charcuterie or tops with salad made from sustainably sourced tuna or pairs with their American “prosciutto” plate. Those are mighty tasty, though we have our fingers crossed the taco shop starts making their carnitas with some of Heritage’s Red Wattle pork.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.