Inside the Meat Hook’s Brand New Williamsburg Space

All photos by Jane Bruce
All photos by Jane Bruce

Now that Brooklyn butchers are pervasive enough to have become a trope, one of their strongest pioneers is finally settling into its own space. Since 2009, the Meat Hook has been offering up whole-animal butchery, solid produce, and generally rad vibes in East Williamsburg. This weekend, they moved on up—just around the corner, actually, to a larger and shinier space on Graham Avenue.

The original space was a warehouse under the BQE shared with the Brooklyn Kitchen, a kitchen store-slash-cooking school that offered all manner of classes and events. The new shop feels like a sleek edit, but will be carrying on the same core offerings we’re used to: some of the best meat in town sourced from family farms across the state, along with seasonal fresh produce and fancy grocery items to stock up for your next dinner party.

To design the new space, partners Brent Young and Ben Turley hired the architecture firm behind Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co., which is reflected in the new Meat Hook’s minimalist style and subway-tiled white walls. The case holding house-made sausages and cuts of freshly-broken-down meats look proud and cheery like a pastry case, their wares now with a little more space to show off. Facing it are cases and cartons of fresh produce spilling forth so enthusiastically you might think for a very brief second that you’re at a florist.

Things are already business as usual but come summer, you’ll want to keep an eye out for what’s going on in the backyard “We have a pretty awesome outdoor space that we want to develop into a private party space,” Young told Brooklyn Magazine, where they’ll be selling beer as well. They’re also planning on offering butchering classes “that are a little more fleshed out into a Meat Hook experience.”

It makes sense that the trailblazer of the borough’s butchery renaissance is strengthening its reign. When Young moved to Brooklyn from Richmond, VA, he noticed a dearth of the sort of butcher shop he was looking for. So he helped to open Marlow and Daughters with the Tarlow restaurant group, who had been spearheading the borough’s whole-animal butchery renaissance; that’s where he met Meat Hook cofounders Ben Turley and Tom Mylan, and where the original idea for their shop arose. Last year, they opened a sandwich shop that would go on to earn an impressive two stars from Times critic Pete Wells, and which increased their production space significantly. Now, new butcher shops are opening with increasing frequency—most notably Bushwick’s Foster Sundry, which opened this past fall.

Perhaps most significantly for Young and Turley, the new Meat Hook location means more production space. While they won’t be selling their Hot Chicken Sandwich anytime soon, you will be able to pick up grab-and-go options for an impromptu picnic or last-minute dinner.  “We want to be a neighborhood grocer,” Young explained, but they also want to hold on to the Meat Hook’s original idea: “a great butcher shop with friendly, hopefully funny butchers, that is incredibly unpretentious.” Catch us in the backyard the first day temps rise above 60.

The Meat Hook: 397 Graham Avenue, Williamsburg

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