Fleisher’s, a real butcher shop, opens in Park Slope

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Finally, Park Slope has a butcher shop where they do some actual butchering!

Brooklyn’s first outpost of Fleisher’s, a conscientious — and consciousness raising — Hudson Valley meat retailer and butchery, has opened on Fifth Avenue between Union and Sackett streets.

“We use healthy, local, sustainable animals only, and we never buy parts — only whole animals,” said Joshua Applestone, who runs the seven-year-old business with his wife, Jessica. “And we use every last part. It’s not just the art of butchery that’s been lost, it’s caring about what happens to every single part of that animal.

“Our line is, we don’t sell meat, we sell trust,” he added.

It’s not just a catchphrase. It’s news you can use. Applestone says that he encourages a dialogue with his customers so that they can ask about cuts they’ve never seen.

“The more they ask, the more they learn,” said Applestone, whose retail store comes after years of selling sustainable, hormone and antibiotic-free meats to local restaurants such as The Farm on Adderly in Ditmas Park and The Meat Hook in Williamsburg. “The more they learn, the better off they are. We love that!”

Tenth Street resident Ondie Israel currently turns to Fresh Direct for her hormone and antibiotic free-meat, but she welcomes the chance to get better acquainted with her groceries again.

“There was a culture that was part of getting our food when I was growing up,” she said. “I remember going to the butcher store with my mother, and getting handed a piece of bologna. Now everything is butchered behind the scenes, sold in big stores and wrapped up in cellophane. There’s a total disconnect.”

Pasture-raised, grass-fed meat — with a side of great customer service — costs approximately 15 percent more at Fleisher’s than at most supermarket chain stores, but Applestone argues that good-for-you, good-for-the-environment beef needn’t be an indulgence only for the well off.

“Meat is expensive, but we also think people eat too much of it,” he said. “You don’t need a whole rib-eye or a huge burger. You don’t have to sacrifice eating well. Everyone would be better off just to eat a little less.”

An improbable statement coming from a butcher, but Applestone is proud to have made a meaty living doing — and saying — exactly what he believes in.

“We’re not corporate people. We’re just trying to feel good about ourselves,” said Applestone.

Fleisher’s [192 Fifth Ave. between Union and Sackett streets in Park Slope, (718) 398-6666].

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Reader Feedback

Gina Catone from Weston says:
I grew up in Gravesend that had two butcher shops in a three block radius. They closed because their businesses weren't profitable. People would go to the local supermarket and buy cheaper meat there. Now we should all rejoice because Park Slope has a butcher shop. Park Slope represents a small segment of people in Brooklyn. Park Slope consists mainly of white, educated professionals who did not grow up in NYC. And yet it has become the face of Brooklyn.
Oct. 10, 2011, 8:17 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
M&S Prime Meats is a butcher in Park Slope, also on 5th Avenue. One with deep roots in the community.
Oct. 10, 2011, 8:24 am
ty from pps says:
It's also becoming clear that the "local supermarkets" are disgusting and buying meat there is just gross. Park Slope happens to be a major exception where the supermarkets are not shady and dirty. It's sad that I have to make special trips waaaay across town to get meat and other produce I'm confident in. This is New York City, but when I'm out of town I have the urge to stop at a suburban Stop & Shop to stock up on my way home. Sad.

Perhaps your experience is different, but I really don't like buying anything that is processed or prepared *within* my local stores. Packaged elsewhere? OK. Here? Nope. If they can't keep the cereal isle clean...
Oct. 10, 2011, 9:52 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Gina, maybe if you and your family had kept shopping at the local mom-n-pop butchers in Gravesend, you wouldn't have to kvetch about Park Slope being the face of Brooklyn. Enough with the tired trope about who qualifies as being "from Brooklyn" and who doesn't.
Oct. 10, 2011, 10:37 am
ch from bh says:
Just the opposite reaction: I wouldn't touch the "meat" from a suburban Stop & Shop. Factory farmed, factory slaughtered, processed and packaged by people who haven't a clue about being a butcher. No thanks!
Oct. 11, 2011, 2:46 pm
ty from pps says:
CH -- You seem to be missing the point.... You'd buy meat at your local Key Foods? That's my point.
Oct. 11, 2011, 5:04 pm

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