For more than 60 years, the Lobel family butcher shop at the corner of Madison Ave. and 82nd St. has been a fixture of New York City’s Upper East Side, the destination for Manhattan’s elite who demand nothing less than the absolute best.
In more recent years, the family business has transformed and adapted in significant ways as times and opportunities present themselves. And with each new enterprise, the Lobels earn widespread acclaim for offering the absolute best-quality meat money can buy.
Today, daily operations of Madison Ave.’s corner butcher shop are overseen by 4th-generation master butcher Stanley Lobel and his sons, David and Mark. Evan Lobel, son of Stanley’s brother, the late Leon Lobel, rounds out the family members currently involved in perpetuating the family business. The sons and daughters of Evan, David, and Mark are already in training as the 6th generation of Lobels emerges.
But that’s only part of the story. The Lobel legacy stretches over the decades to the mountains of Austria. As we celebrate our 175th anniversary, we take a look back at how the Lobel family came to be America’s #1 family of butchers.
Back to the Beginning
Stanley’s great-grandfather, Nathan Lobel, and grandfather, also named Nathan, began raising beef cattle in 1840s Austria near Czernowitz, part of the Austrian Empire from 1775 to 1918. With the help of his son, the elder Nathan later added a slaughterhouse to the business. And, because the younger Nathan knew so much about cattle in general, he was able to apply this knowledge to the art of butchering.
Nathan’s grandson, Morris, joined the family business as a boy. Morris learned the business from his father, and by the time he was 14 years old in 1911, Morris was buying and selling his own cattle. Like so many other young men of his era, 17-year-old Morris emigrated to the United States to start a new life in the New World.
Morris’ career in the U.S. began in Boston. He eventually found his way to New York City where he established a butcher shop first in the Bronx and later on the West Side on Broadway. Then, in 1954, he opened the shop on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where business is conducted to this day at 1096 Madison Ave., near the corner of 82nd St.
From the beginning, Morris was obsessed with service and quality, and he instilled this obsession in his sons Leon, Nathan, and Stanley, who followed their father into the family business.
To this day when the shop is open for business, never a day goes by without at least one Lobel working on-premises.
The Lobels have cultivated a reputation as the “butchers to the stars” for the celebrity clientele that has flocked to their Madison Avenue storefront in the heart of elite Manhattan.
While the Madison Ave. shop was the focus of the Lobel’s business for nearly 50 years, the next significant advancement in spreading the Lobel name and reputation for quality via the newest means of selling: Internet retailing.
In late 2000, the Lobels transformed from a single-location brick-and-mortar business to a nationwide business overnight with the launch of Lobel’s of New York, www.lobels.com, an Internet-based e-commerce website—the family’s virtual butcher shop.
Unlike most other online meat retailers, Lobel’s of New York specializes in fresh—never frozen—gourmet meats: the finest USDA Prime, Natural Prime, and American Wagyu beef, all-natural veal and lamb, poultry, Berkshire pork, and a wide range of specialty food and private-labeled products.
And, like the famed Madison Ave. butcher shop, the Lobel’s of New York online butcher shop propagated the family’s legendary customer service and promised fresh, overnight delivery of their fine meats.
In the years since its inauguration, Lobel’s of New York has garnered high praise and has been rated as the top online steak purveyor by a number of prominent media critics and reviewers.
In 2009, Lobel’s made headlines again when they opened a fully functioning demonstration butcher shop in the left-field concourse of the new Yankee Stadium the Bronx. And just a few feet away is a free standing cart, Lobel’s Carving Station, which serves a classic dry-aged Prime steak sandwich that has been heralded far and wide as a sport-venue culinary phenomenon.
Two years later, the foodservice operators at The Meadowlands, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, invited Lobel’s to be a part of the new stadium being built that would eventually be named MetLife Stadium, where Lobel’s USDA Prime Steak Sandwiches are a signature item.
From toiling by hand in the fields of Austria to the quick-paced world of e-commerce, the Lobels have maintained the demanding standards at the foundation of a business that is known for nothing less than absolute quality.