Faicco's Pork Store, one of New York City's oldest continually-operated businesses, has been serving up high-quality meats, imported Italian specialties, and prepared foods in the West Village since 1900. Edward Faicco, who immigrated from Sorrento, Italy in 1896, opened the store on Thompson Street, which in those days formed the heart of a heavily Italian neighborhood home to pushcart vendors and cobblestone streets. Edward's son, Joseph, moved the successful store to 260 Bleecker Street when he bought the building in the 1940s.
Today, Joseph's grandson Eddie runs Faicco's. He's the fourth-generation owner, and he started working at an early age, stopping into the store after school let out beginning when he was eight or nine years old.
"I would do what I could do—just little things," he said.
Today, you can find Eddie behind the counter slicing steaks and deboning roasts in addition to the office work that comes with running a one-hundred-year-old business. His eleven year old daughter has followed in his footsteps, often coming in to help her dad.
Faicco's specializes in quality cuts of all kinds of meat—not just pork, as the store's name might indicate to the uninitiated.
"Pork store, that really just means butcher shop," Faicco said. "It's an Italian thing."
"Actually, we changed our sign a few years back," he added. "The sign used to say pork store, and people might walk on by if they weren't interested in pork. Now it says 'Italian specialties,' and we've noticed that business is better."
The narrow storefront is packed with all the ingredients a home cook needs to prepare an authentic Italian meal, from aged imported cheeses to canned San Marzano tomatoes to extra virgin olive oil. All the dry goods in Faicco's help highlight the store's specialty, a variety of housemade pork sausages available both fresh and dry. (Okay, there's one chicken sausage, but it has a pork casing.)
Faicco said that the store's mission is simple: to provide quality.
"The things we sell are the best. And that extends to our prepared foods. Our recipes are simple, but they're good," he said.
Faicco's has relied on this standard for over a hundred years, remaining essentially the same business it was when it started—a butcher shop—but adapting to changing tastes, too.
"You gotta change with the times," Faicco said. "Years ago, our customers cooked more, so they bought meat and ingredients. Today, they still want that home-cooked taste, but they don't have the time to make it themselves," he said. He said that the store has expanded its prepared food offerings in recent years.
Faicco said that one thing that won't change is the store's commitment to its customers.
"It's hard work to run a store like this," he said. "What keeps us going is our customers' respect and appreciation for the store."
"They tell us all the time, but especially now, around the holidays," he said. "They come in and say how glad they are to have us in the neighborhood."
Faicco's Pork Store
260 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 (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.