This is Peter Mastropaolo’s first retail butcher shop, but he’s packing over a century of experience that includes three generations of butchers that preceded him.
He is especially proud to be keeping a family tradition alive, as well as a Main Street tradition alive for Islip, where the butcher shop has been open since 1972.
That was all celebrated by the Islip Chamber of Commerce and locally elected leaders on Thursday with some special recognition (photo below).
“Ultimately, we’re going for the old-school butcher feel,” Mastropaolo said. “It’s a lost art. Over the course of time it’s become a lost trade.”
Mastropaolo said he got word from within the island’s butcher community that Hardokpf might be looking to sell.
“I broke his [chops] for a long time to get in here,” he laughed.
As for the shop itself, Mastropaolo said “we want to be doing everything the supermarkets are not.”
“This is a fully personalized meat market where you get exactly what you want,” he said.”We are dry-aging. We’re doing organic, grass-fed, natural.”
The also only offer prime meat, the USDA’s highest grade.
“Everything is custom cut. If you don’t like a piece of meat, you don’t take it,” Mastropaolo said.
Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, who was also on hand Thursday, said Islip “lost a bit of history” when Hardekopf retired.
“Once a regular stop in our weekly shopping schedules, many butcher shops have unfortunately given way to supermarkets,” he said. “While they certainly serve a purpose, there’s something special about walking into a small neighborhood market, selecting a specific cut of meat, and having it prepared for you by the local shop owner.
“We are so delighted that Peter has given new life to the Islip Meat Market and wish him tremendous success.”
“This is what we know and it’s dying out,” Mastropaolo said. “So we’re trying to keep it going.”