You can say this pork is well-done.
The last butcher in Park Slope, A&S Pork Store, will close in the next three months in what appears to be a classic New York landlord-tenant dispute — except in this case, neither side will actually divulge just what is happening.
“[Founder] Anthony Scicchitano had an empire and his daughters killed it,” current owner Salvatore Bonello said recently of the man he calls his grandfather, who died in 2006. “They buried him and now they buried [the empire].”
Scicchitano’s daughter owns the building now, and leased the space to Bonello. But this year, Bonello said, the rent became too high and landlord Rita Sacchi gave him until Oct. 1 to vacate.
Sacchi refused to comment.
Although Bonello wants to keep the store open elsewhere — preferably in Park Slope — at $10,000 to $12,000, neighborhood rents are too high.
“There’s no way we could pay 10 or 12 grand — we have our business, but we don’t have lines out the door,” he said.
Scicchitano opened the original legendary butcher and gourmet shop on Fifth Avenue, near First Street, in 1948, and later expanded with 26 franchises in Staten Island, Long Island, and New Jersey.
But a source familiar with the situation said Scicchitano’s A&S store closed before he died in 2006. Bonello, who worked for a pork store outpost in Bay Ridge for two decades, opened his own shop on Fifth Avenue five years ago and was allowed to keep the original sign posted.
The store is a “real” pork store, meaning its prime meat arrives ready for the butcher to make cuts according to customer demands, rather than the meat arriving pre-cut in boxes.
Word that the store will soon close created a lot of grumbling from — and not only in the stomachs of — area foodies.
A chef, Michael Adasko, grew up in the neighborhood and said he comes to A&S specifically for the fresh mozzarella.
“When I went to summer camp, I made my parents bring me some fresh mozzarella,” Adasko said. “Not only is there not another Italian butcher in the neighborhood, there’s not really another butcher, period.”
Hillary Miller, a longtime Park Sloper, said the news just confirms the inevitable: “I always feared this place was going to close. It’s hard to find a good meat store, and they’re such nice guys.”
Even the fire department has been complaining — the city’s bravest come in daily for lunch, Bonello said.
The end of A&S marks the second butcher shop to close in Park Slope in as many months — in June, Great Western Fine Foods, which was on Fifth Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets, closed.
— with Jessica Firger
©2008 Community News Group
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