Lenny, er, Stew Goldstein of Monmouth Meats.
There are only so many old-style, independent butchers left in Red Bank.
There’s Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz‘ Gatta on Shrewsbury Avenue, of course, working the chopping block for some 60 years. The guys at Citarella’s Meats & Deli on Prospect Avenue. And smack in between them, Stew Goldstein of Monmouth Meats, on Monmouth Street opposite the Count Basie Theatre.
A Brooklyn native who now lives in East Brunswick, Goldstein, 53, has been in the trade since he was a teenager. And to revive its long-dormant Human Bites feature, redbankgreen took a few minutes recently to ask Goldstein about a lifetime of swing a meat cleaver.
Did you always know this is what you wanted to do for a living?
Yes. I never had any other jobs. This is what I enjoy. My father had a small family-style neighborhood store in downtown Brooklyn. He was in business for about 45 years.
Do you remember your first interaction with a side of beef?
My first interaction was when I was maybe eight, nine years old. I went to the wholesale market with my father.
What was that experience like for a kid?
You walk into a huge, refrigerated warehouse. The floor was wet and dirty things weren’t as clean as they are now. You had the carcasses, you got the smells. It was something I said I would never do. But I did. I knew nothing else.