26 NOVEMBER 14, 2019 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
MASPETH & MIDDLE VILLAGE: OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
Mario’s Meats and Deli is Middle
Village’s sole surviving butcher
BY MAX PARROTT
There used to be four butchers on the stretch of
Metropolitan Avenue around 75th and 78th
streets, but only the “king” could survive.
Mario’s Meats and Deli, self-dubbed the “King of
Italian Style Veal Cutlets and Homemade Sausage,”
has been selling homemade sausages and meat
butchered in-house since 1982. It embodies the idea
of Middle Village as a small neighborhood, where
residents come in to their local businesses not just
for products, but for conversation.
Owner Joe DiGangi inherited the business from
his father Mario aft er he died in 2011. Mario moved
to America from Polizzi Generosa, Italy, in 1971 and
worked at meat markets in Queens for 12 years before
opening up his own.
DiGangi studied the art of butchery from watching
his father. He said that since taking over the business,
he’s tried to not to change it too much while catering
to more of the high-end realm of artisanal meats. The
front counter carries pieces from veal osso bucco to
prime angus tomahawk and dry-aged steaks.
DiGangi said that while butchering meat in-house
is more time-consuming, it allows him to a level of
quality control that wouldn’t be otherwise possible.
“I know how fresh the meat is … If I look at a piece
of meat hanging, I know exactly how fresh it is,” said
DiGangi gets all his beef from a market in Hunts
Point, where he meets local suppliers to handpick his
cuts for the week. He said the sausage recipe came
straight from Sicily. It’s remained unaltered from
when his father fi rst opened the store.
In addition to their famous sausages, the store
makes other Italian delicacies and entrees. DiGangi
said that their roasts are especially popular when the
holidays come around, oft en attracting people from
Long Island and the other boroughs.
As he showed QNS around the store, DiGangi
couldn’t help but bump into customers who have
been coming to the store for decades and ask them
Photos: Max Parrott/QNS
about their kids or their opinions on the cut of meat
he had sent them home with the past week. He said
it is the intimate connection with his customers that
has maintained the success of the shop in the age of
“Everything is fresh. Everything is authentic — a
lot of imported things,” said Ion Oltean, a doctor who
drives down from Forest Hills Gardens regularly. “It’s
also a great place to have a cup of coff ee and be like,
‘How are you? How is everything?’ It’s like a family