Former Essex Street Market Butcher Jeffrey Ruhalter Died Last Week at 60

Posted on: August 22nd, 2016 at 5:11 am by
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Sad news. Jeffrey Ruhalter, the beloved butcher who held court in the Essex Street Market for decades, passed away last Wednesday from cancer. He was 60.

The grieving family released the following statement.

Sylvia and Allen Ruhalter, their daughter Francine Levine, cousins, nieces, and nephews and friends mourn the loss of our beloved Jeffrey Richard Ruhalter on August 17, 2016. Jeffrey had the most generous and giving heart. He was the creative innovator of Jeffrey’s Meats, a unique store which brought food and art together. Jeffrey was not only an expert butcher and chef but a true friend to his customers. He fed anyone that needed help. He taught classes on butchery and cooking that inspired people and brought them joy. During the recession that began in 2008, he even fed steak dinners to over 200 people who were laid off from their jobs. Jeffrey was recently diagnosed with cancer, but he kept all of his pain to himself. Despite being ill, he worked until a few weeks ago and continued to be a legendary friend to so many.

We will never forget you, Jeffrey.

Lovingly, your family and friends.

His funeral was held on Friday in New Jersey.

Jeffrey’s Meats was a staple of the Essex Market, one of the original vendors from the 1940s. In fact, his family reportedly moved in the day it opened.

However, Ruhalter struggled in recent years to connect with the hyper-gentrification of the Lower East Side and eventually closed shop in March 2011.

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Jeffrey’s Meats, February 2011,

“I’m leaving the Essex market,” Ruhalter told the Wall Street Journal at the time. “Right now, honestly I’m still numb from it. I started working there when I was six years old. We moved into Essex Street Market the day it opened and we’ve been there ever since. It’s hard to accept.”

Earlier that year, the Times reported that business at Jeffrey’s Meats was down but that the fourth-generation meat purveyor had been adapting. He tried to pivot by offering new classes, special “Dinner by Jeffrey” packaged meals, and soliciting orders from neighborhood eateries.

His former footprint is now occupied by three different vendorsNordic Preserves, Arancini Bros., and Puebla Mexican Food.

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