All in the Family, Since the 1800s


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Lobel’s, on Madison Avenue, is still run by the family that started it 175 years ago


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  • Illustration by John Winkleman




Every week for the rest of the year, Our Town will celebrate its 45th anniversary by profiling a neighborhood business that has been around longer than we have. Know of a local business that should be on our list? Email us at news@strausnews.com

Meat slabs, band saws, and a passion for quality are what ties the Lobel men to their Upper East side butcher shop.

Lobel’s, at 84th Street and Madison Avenue, has been in the area for 65 years -- but has been in existence for much longer. The roots of the business go back to Austria, where Nathan Lobel made his living raising cattle. Today, the fifth generation of Lobel’s has taken over the business, which is celebrating its 175th year. Father Stanley, brothers David and Mark, and cousin Evan all take shifts working in the small shop from Monday through Saturday.

David was one of the very few family members to start in the business right away, and quickly realized it was where he belonged. “It’s a part of you,” he said. He remembers waking up early as a child to accompany his father on errands for the shop. The two would go to wholesale meat markets to inspect and stamp the best pieces of meat to sell at the store. That approach has continued, with Lobel’s committed to selling only the top 2 percent of prime U.S. beef. “We work very hard at that and it’s something we have to do every single day,” David said. “You’re only as good as the last meal you send somebody.”

The reputation of the shop extends well beyond the Upper East Side. Tourists flock into Lobel’s to take pictures of the cabin-like decor, which includes elk heads on wooden walls. In addition, the Lobel’s ship their products across the country, thanks to a thriving next-day delivery business.

But the family never strays from the old-fashioned way of doing business.

“You’re proud of your heritage,” David said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity.”





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