Ruhalter Quitting Essex Street Market

Jeffrey's Meat, officially closing shop at the Essex Street Market - photo by

A short time ago Jeffrey Ruhalter of Jeffrey’s Meats told us he’s not reopening his shop in the Essex Street Market. Three months ago Ruhalter temporarily closed the store to get his finances in order. His rent was due for an increase but Ruhalter’s landlord, the Econmic Development Corp., had been working with him on moving to a smaller space. (Ruhalter released a statement citing the EDC’s support back in March.)

Unfortunately, he was unable to come up with a way to save the butcher shop, which had been a fixture in the market since 1940.

Here’s a statement released today by the EDC:

“We wish Jeffrey the best, and thank him and the Ruhalter family for their decades of dedication to the market and its customers. We will now move forward with finding a new vendor to reactivate Jeffrey’s former space and look forward to continuing the success of this vibrant public market which serves the Lower East Side community.”

A Comeback for Jeffrey’s Meats?

Jeffrey Ruhalter, Saturday morning, February 26, at the Essex Street Market.

We have an update today on Jeffrey Ruhalter, the Essex Street Market butcher who temporarily closed up shop earlier this month. Yesterday, Jeffrey was in his old space shooting a television pilot, along with LES chef Marja Samsom (formerly of the Kitchen Club).

He’s hopeful a network will have interest in the series proposal (the details of which are under wraps).  It’s at least the third pilot concept Jeffrey’s pitched.

Jeffrey and Danny McNeill, the Ruhalter family’s business manager,  both said they hoped to reopen in the next few weeks. They’d take a smaller space (perhaps a half or a third of the old shop). But it’s apparent the financial troubles that prompted the closing are not yet resolved. McNeill said they continue to talk with investors who might be willing to back the business.

A Message from Jeffrey Ruhalter on the Closing of Essex Street Butcher Shop

Jeffrey Ruhalter, Saturday morning, February 26, at the Essex Street Market.

We just received the following statement from Jeffrey Ruhalter of Jeffrey’s Meats in the Essex Street Market:

I speak to my/our community.

I sent out a press release last week in a last ditch effort for help because I have run out of time and options.  Only one of my issues was rent.  The press release resulted in a barrage of responses directed toward EDC and I understand that the “landlord’ is an easy target.  In response to the press release EDC requested a meeting with me.  I expected to meet with their representative and expected to hear, “pay rent or get out”.  Instead, when I arrived to the meeting, I was met with the top four executives of EDC.  C’mon, really, I’m just a butcher, I don’t deserve this attention… Only after an hours long meeting did they bring up the issue of rent.  I found myself meeting with the community, not my landlord.  All they wanted to do was to find ways to help me. They represented you, the community, and they played their roll in helping me as your representative of the community.  I was astounded at their position.  I’m a black and white guy, if I can’t pay rent, I have to get out.  Instead, they gave me options to survive. I don’t really know how to define what happened to me in that meeting but I started to breath again.  While we worked out a plan to keep my rent the same, at this time I still must temporarily close, as we have other financial considerations that we must try to resolve.

Jeffrey’s Meat Market Closed — At Least For Now

This morning, there are no signs of any activity at Jeffrey’s Meats in the Essex Street Market and the display cases are completely bare. Yesterday, an employee told us it was the store’s last day in business.  In the past week, fourth generation butcher Jeffrey Ruhalter has been deciding whether to renew his lease.

There have been ongoing conversations with the Economic Development Corp, which manages the market. Although Jeffrey’s rent had been raised 29%, the EDC was willing to keep it the same if the meat shop gave up some space. But it’s become clear Jeffrey faces much larger financial problems. There have been suggestions the shop could eventually return, possibly under new management.

The Ruhalter family was an original tenant of the Essex Street Market when it opened on the Lower East Side in 1940.

Rent Hike Only Part of the Problem at Jeffrey’s Meats

Jeffrey Ruhalter, Saturday morning, February 26, at the Essex Street Market.

Here’s the latest on the plight of Jeffrey’s Meats, a Lower East Side institution that’s fallen on hard times. Last week, news of a 29% rent increase raised new concerns that Jeffrey Ruhalter, a fourth generation butcher, wouldn’t be able to keep his store in the Essex Street Market open much longer. Today we spoke with Jeffrey as well as Danny McNeill, who’s been helping run the business for the last couple of years.

While the rent hike is a setback, it’s very clear the business is confronting far bigger problems. As McNeill suggested in a press statement released last week, Jeffrey is in search of someone to buy the meat market, which has been battered by the economic downturn and impacted by the large demographic transition the neighborhood has been undergoing in the past decade.

LES Butcher Faces 29% Rent Increase; Chin Intervenes

Yesterday author Karen Seiger reported on her blog, the Markets of New York, that Essex Street Market butcher Jeffrey Ruhalter was in trouble. According to a press release she received from his publicist, Jeffrey was “running out of options” because his  “landlord (was) requesting an $8000 renewal fee on the first of March along with a rent increase of 29 percent.”

“Although what Jeffrey needs is an investor or someone to buy the store,” the release added,  “what he may really need in the future is a job.” For a couple of years now, he’s been holding out hope that a reality tv show and/or a book offer would come through. In December, the New York Times reported Jeffrey thought about shutting down last year but eventually “got his groove back.”

Tenement Talks: Neighborhood Butcher Jeffrey Ruhalter


Local butcher Jeffry Ruhalter will be at the Tenement Museum tomorrow evening at 6:30p for a Tenement Talk. Ruhalter, who gave The Lo-Down some excellent Money Saving Tips back in April, will be discussing his fourth-generation family business which opened at 188 Orchard St. in 1920 and is still going strong in the Essex Street Market after all these years.