After just losing Joe's Dairy, we began to worry about Pino's Prime Meats across Sullivan street. Now we have good reason for that worry. Reports came in from readers saying that Pino's is in jeopardy.
[Click here to SIGN THE PETITION to save Pino's]
photo: Tim Schreier
I talked to Sal Cinquemani, son of Pino, who told me they received "a letter from out of the blue," telling them that their lease, which goes to 2017, will end abruptly this month, and they need to be out. The letter claims that Pino's has "created and sustained an active nuisance in front of the building," causing tenants to make complaints.
Sal is unaware of any complaints. The letter goes on to say that the shop is blocking the sidewalk with crates and boxes, and is "not respecting the rights of the residents and...co-tenants in the commercial space." The co-tenants here are the neighboring restaurant Pepe Rosso To Go and the West Lake Laundromat.
"The landlord is trying to get us out," Sal told me. "And we need people's support."
photo of Pino: Tim Schreier
He is baffled as to why this is happening. "I think we're being attacked here," he said. "My dad's sick over it. He's been here 30 years. His uncle was here another 40 before that. We're a butcher shop. We cut meat, we have sawdust that's been grandfathered in and we don't even put it down anymore. I take my trash out to Queens. I sweep like five times a day. And we respect our neighbors--we hold keys for people, we hold packages. You've got to be kidding me."
Pino's has hired a lawyer to help them fight this, and the case is going to court this week, but it's expensive and distressing. You can help. The easiest way is to please sign the petition to Save Pino's.
Pino's 200-year-old pistone
There's been a butcher shop in this space for over a century. Jackie Onassis got all her steaks from Pino's. Says New York Magazine, "Pino's Prime Meats is one of a scant handful of survivors, hard evidence of the old-world-Italian culture that once made Sullivan Street destination shopping for those who wanted to mangia bene. No logos or slick storefronts here... It’s an entirely different experience than the shrink-wrapped anonymity of your local Food Emporium."
Watch the butchers in action (Warning NSFV--Not Safe for Vegans):
Butcher from Cyrus Dowlatshahi on Vimeo.