Vincent Sorrentino was born to be a butcher.
By the age of 12, he had a job as cleanup boy in a butcher shop where his brother worked. Before his 18th birthday, he had opened a shop of his own, N & V Meat Market, in Glendale.
Today, at 48, he also owns a second store, Sorrentino’s Meat Market, in Howard Beach, which opened just seven weeks before Hurricane Sandy struck.
The store was forced to close for almost three weeks, but has reopened, and Sorrentino says business is good. Aside from the storm, the store seemed destined for success.
“I live in the area,” Sorrentino said. “I thought they could use another meat market. Before the storm, I was doing phenomenal business. We had three butchers and were looking for someone else.”
Customers came from all around: from Howard Beach, of course, but also from Breezy Point, Belle Harbor, the rest of the Rockaways and Broad Channel, he said.
Besides its full line of beef, pork and veal, Sorrentino said it’s the market’s specially prepared gourmet foods that set it apart.
“We make boneless stuffed chicken, ready for the oven, potato croquettes, pot pies,” he said. And, perhaps more importantly, “We don’t hide. We custom cut in front of you. We show that what you pay for is what you get. The butcher block is right in front of the people.”
For the holidays, Sorrentino’s is also selling special rib roasts — “We bone it, tie it, season it,” the expert butcher said — along with legs of lamb and fresh hams.
The 1,100-square-foot store also sells wholesale to catering halls and pizzerias.
With the motto, “Price, quality and service,” it’s not surprising that the newly reopened store already has what Sorrentino described as “a steady flow of customers” who’ve been “very happy.”
Many of them, after just one visit, were already placing orders over the phone. “For being brand-new,” he said, “customers were trusting me. I guess they feel comfortable. It’s nice when people trust you.”
Though only open a short time, the market already has one customer review posted online — and it’s a positive one.
“My dad has been going in every week,” the poster, named Ann, said. “Meat has been excellent so far. He picked up a couple of things for me also. Roast beef was excellent, very tender, had a great taste. Chuck roast for pot roast was like butter. They have a customer in me and my dad! Great to have a good butcher in the neighborhood!”
Sorrentino’s pride in his work is obvious. Perhaps this comes from being part of a long line of butchers. Two brothers, cousins and an uncle are all in the business. “It’s a family thing,” he said.
The store, according to Sorrentino, runs weekly sales and offers free local delivery service with a $25 minimum order.
Sorrentino’s Meat Market is located at 164-44 Cross Bay Blvd. Store hours, through April, are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Come spring, the store will remain open one hour later every day except Sunday. It can be reached at (718) 843-9800 and is online at sorrentinosmarket.com.
N & V Meat Market is located at 66-03 Myrtle Ave., and its number is (718) 418-0629.