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Edible: Ottomanelli Brothers Still Have An Edge On Butchering

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The current issue of Edible Manhattan magazine is all about meat, and Edible's Rachel Wharton visited a Village butcher shop run by brothers that has been slicing for 70 years.

In 1940 Onofrio Ottomanelli opened a meat market on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. Today, four of his sons still run Ottomanelli & Sons Prime Meat Market, and they have been working at one of the city's best butcher shops since they were kids.

"We used to do our homework in the back room of the store. My father would take care of the customers and help us with our homework and we do our work and then maybe eventually he would pick up a knife," says Frank Ottomanelli. "I was like nine years old when I first started, and I'm doing it 60 years."

The four brothers -- Joe, Frank, Peter and Jerry Ottomanelli -- each have different roles, but all are masters of cutting meat, making it look as easy as buttering bread.

Frank Ottomanelli even has a 75-year-old knife that used to be his grandfather’s.

"Lot of stories this knife could tell," he says.

Beyond their knife skills, the Ottomanellis source some of the best proteins in the country, just as their father did.

"All our meat is personally selected. It's all grass-fed," says Frank Ottomanelli. "Most of our meat comes from Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa. I have an appointment, or a date, to go to Montana to search out a new farmer that wants to sell to us, but I still have to see if it's humane, antibiotic-free."

The store is also known for its vast selection of wild game like venison and alligator, fantastic Angus steaks aged for 14 to 21 days, heritage lamb, New York State veal, whole suckling pigs, Berkshire pork and some amazing homemade sausages that smell of herbs and spices.

These brothers are also some of the friendliest countermen in town. If you ask nicely, they might even let you pretend to be a butcher.

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