Pat LaFrieda Jr. may be the only butcher in America who is a household name. He comes from a long line of meat men (his great-grandfather emigrated from Italy and opened up shop in Brooklyn) who, for three generations, carved a name for themselves, first as LaFrieda Meats and then, when LaFrieda’s father took over the business, as Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. When the company found itself in trouble in the early ’90s, LaFrieda, working as a stockbroker at the time, stepped in. He cut a deal to supply meat to Mario Batali’s restaurants, positioning the chop shop as the toast of the culinary world. After nearly 70 years in New York’s Meatpacking District, LaFrieda relocated to northern New Jersey in 2010. And though its cuts of meat can be found on posh menus everywhere (along with a custom beef blend used for Shake Shack’s famous burgers), LaFrieda’s workspace is strictly utilitarian. “Moving here allowed us to have ample space for production,” he explained, “yet it’s less than two miles from NYC.”
The trademarked phrase on the side of the building lets visitors know they’re in the right place.
Forty-thousand pounds of meat are ground and packaged at the facility each day.
LaFrieda released Meat, a cookbook-cum-meat-education manual, in 2014.
A tusked wall mount in LaFrieda’s offices.
A display case holds old photos and “meat cuts” from the 100th anniversary cake, explained LaFrieda.
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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