Williamsburg butcher shop helps hungry neighbors, supports fellow businesses during pandemic

Meat Hook butcher Sunny Sanchez (left) and co-founder Brent Young preparing broths and stocks.
Ben Turley

A Williamsburg butcher shop has stepped up to support its community with dual initiatives during the coronavirus pandemic, aiding the neighborhood’s businesses and residents alike.

“We are just trying to be the best store we possibly can be,” co-founder Ben Turley said. “The safest and most community-based that we can be.”

The Meat Hook, which specializes in locally-sourced, farm-raised meats, has started offering residents in need of an immune boost a complimentary container of savory bone broths or meat stocks. Anyone in need can stop by the business’ Graham Avenue storefront between Withers and Jackson streets to pick one up free of charge.

“If someone just needs access to some form of protein and hot liquid to help them get through this, we got it. It’s no pressure to us,” Turley said. “Just come in. You can grab two-a-day and just walk right out with them.” 

The butchers have also invited local food purveyors to stock Meat Hook’s shelves with their products. The food and drink industry has taken quite a hit, Turley said, since most businesses and storefronts have had to close since shutdown orders began in mid-March.

“We are just trying to find any restaurants who are now making a bottled product we can sell on our shelves,” Turley said. “We are just trying to really help out as much as possible to any city business. If we have room on our shelves, we will help them out.” 

In addition to its own selection of meats, Meat Hook now carries greens from Brooklyn Grange, homemade bread from She Wolf Bakery in Greenpoint, beer from Three’s Brewing in Gowanus and mushrooms from Smallhold in Fort Greene. Smallhold has also been hosting a weekly pop-up outside of the butcher shop on Wednesdays.

“Their weekly pop-ups have been really successful for them. I think they have been selling out of everything they have,” Turley said, “which has just been really phenomenal to see.”

The Meat Hook manager said the initiatives were a natural response from him and his partner, Brent Young, who, time and time again, have witnessed members of the small business community find strength in sticking together.

“To be a part of the community means you have to take on some level of responsibility within it,” Turley said. “That has always been a part of our core identity, working with farmers and produce farms directly, so it was sort of a natural response to ask ‘how can we help here.’”

The Meat Hook itself is also operating on a limited schedule due to the outbreak. The Williamsburg storefront is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm, with only four customers allowed in the store at a time.

Orders for curbside pickup can also be placed on the meat market’s brand new ordering platform. Delivery orders can also be made through the service, Mercato, but Turley warned that there is about a month wait.