A German Butcher Shop Survives in Ridgewood

Herbie Morscher behind the counter of his family-owned pork store, which has called Ridgewood home since 1955. (Photo by Ryan Kelley via QNS)

As many as five butcher shops once existed on Catalpa Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens. Today only one remains – Morscher’s Pork Store, started by German immigrant Joseph Morscher in 1955 in the same location.

In 1988, Herbie Morscher, the son of Joseph’s cousin, took over the family business following some initial reservations, he tells QNS’ Ryan Kelley.

“A lot of people told me not to go into it,” Morscher said. “It was teetering, we didn’t know which way the neighborhood was going, there was a lot of bad things happening around here, just seeing drugs and the usual how a neighborhood changes. But people have to eat, they’re always going to be hungry.”

Peter Kotarowski, who has worked at the shop for 17 years, has helped the business adapt to changing demographics.

The presence of Kotarowski, who was made a partner five years ago, signifies the greatest source of the pork store’s longevity. The Polish native came to Ridgewood as the neighborhood’s population shifted from being heavily German to now Polish, Romanian, Yugoslavian, Serbian, Croatian and more.

“Little by little, we make big success because we try to make everybody happy, with different customers and different nationalities,” Kotarowski said.

Read the full story at QNS to get an idea of how Morscher’s, with its small staff, prepares its meats, and why unlike most small businesses, it does not have to worry about rising rent.

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