United Meat Market, located right off of Prospect Park in peaceful Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, has been a neighborhood fixture for decades. The space it occupies was a butcher shop for about 35 years before United owners, brothers Rocco and Joe Gallo, took over in 1987. When they did, they vastly expanded the store's offerings, keeping the prime cuts of fresh meat but adding a host of specialty products from their native Italy.
The store's staggering variety of well-sourced ingredients from the U.S. and Italy is what sets it apart. If you're a cook, you'll immediately feel at home at United, surrounded as you will be by a huge selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars; a host of dried pastas; specialty cheeses and cold cuts; as well as bread, crackers, anchovies, tomatoes, olives, and capers.
And all that is even before you consider the store's vast offerings of ready-to-eat dishes made in-house every day. They have pasta dishes like lasagna and stuffed shells; beef, pork, and veal meatballs cooked in gravy; arancini, or fried rice balls; and for the more adventurous, stewed tripe.
"The best thing about owning this store," co-owner Rocco (or Rocky, as he's known to his customers) tells me, "is having complete control over the quality of everything we offer. We order the best products we can and price them as fairly as we can afford. Our customers really appreciate that, and that's what keeps them coming back."
With its prime location on Prospect Park West in the heart of Windsor Terrace, United Meat Market is more than just a store: it's almost a community center. Customers here are neighbors, and they chat familiarly as they browse and shop. "Almost everyone who shops here lives right nearby," Rocco says. "Some people, they even moved away but they still come back here to shop."
United Meat Market
219 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn NY 11215 (map)
About the author: Lauren Rothman is a former Serious Eats intern, a freelance catering chef, and an obsessive chronicler of all things culinary. Try the original recipes on her blog, For the Love of Food, and follow her on Twitter @Lochina186.