Fifth generation butcher Richie Schatz, also known as Schatzie, Schatzie Jr., or Richie, took on the challenge of finding a specialist to repair the larger than life statue fiberglass of a bull that stands in front of Schatzie Meat Market at 2665 A Broadway.
The bull was impacted by weather over the past few years and was particularly damaged during Covid when according to Schatzie, some unruly passersby took out their fears, frustrations, and anger on the fiberglass animal whose name is Porterhouse “His hooves were so damaged, he was going to topple over.” The emotional impact of Covid was vented not only on the bull, but Schatzie has found that tempers run high among people who in recent months take out anger on whomever is around.
It’s been just one more thing to take in stride for a very positive-thinking butcher who continually has had to adapt to rising rents and sky-high prices for meat. Schatzie sells only prime meats. He is proud to be selling outstanding porterhouse, rib eye New York Strip Steak, and filet mignon steaks. But he also understands the popularity of less expensive items like free-range poultry from Pennsylvania and Italian sausage.
Hard to beat Schatzie’s experience in the realm of meat butchering and marketing. He comes from a family of German Jewish butchers. His great- grandparents came to New York around 1905. In 1911, his great-grandfather opened a butcher shop in Queens. His grandfather, also a butcher, had a store in the Bronx, and his parents, before they divorced, had a 30-year butcher shop on the Upper East Side. In time Richie opened his own shop twelve years ago, where he continues to work in the Upper West Side. He said his father maintained that the way to learn was on your own and accordingly, Schatzie who is 40, picked up his skills by closely watching other butchers who worked in the family business. Today, Pepe who initially worked for Schatzie’s father and was a significant mentor for Schatzie, now works at the butcher shop and his wife also helps mind the store. Pepe grew up on a farm in Mexico where he learned the skills of butchering.
Schatzie’s Mom is knowledgeable about business and is frequently on hand to help out and a very good old friend helps Schatzie with deliveries twice a day. It’s complicated to maintain a business and he has had to adjust. When he first opened on the Upper West Side, the shop was more than twice its size and encompassed a burger and beer eatery. Covid took its toll and Schatzie retained 350 square feet of space which is used exclusively for the meat market. Also, he’s taking off personal time to enjoy life – meaning he’s in the shop five days a week rather than in earlier days when he worked all day every day. That concept, based on his father’s idea that work was all, has been modified by Schatzie who enjoys his customers and he also relishes his free time. This year, look out for a new website and social media. Also, soon you’ll be able to check out Porterhouse with his shiny newness and come into the store to carry away for dinner: a plump chicken, succulent steak, juicy ground meat for hamburgers or Schatzie’s custom burger blends.
Pictured Above, Butcher Richard Schatz and Porterhouse, from Schatzie’s Prime Meats Website/Photographer Jeff Goldberg