Forty years ago, with a new family on the way, I traded in my keyboards and aspirations of rock and roll glory for a more practical – albeit less glamorous – set of butcher knives. My dad had been in the meat business, selling smoked hams in South Philadelphia. Seemed as good a business as any to make an honest living.
It was a time when people still went to the neighborhood butcher to buy their meat. Interacting with customers quickly became my favorite part of the job - whether it was chatting with my “regulars” or helping a new customer plan the perfect Sunday dinner. Playing an integral role in helping people feed their families brought me true joy. And purpose.
I also loved the craft of butchery. Prior to becoming a butcher, music was my life. I know it sounds silly, but I found a similar satisfaction in working with meat. There was a real art to it - a level of care and precision that has an impact in how good the end product is. In a way, it felt a lot like playing music.
As Rastelli’s has grown, I’ve come to wear several hats, but I still wear my apron, I still sharpen my knives, and I still spend time on the cutting floor. Knowing that I’m feeding you and your family is still my favorite part of the job and it’s why I’m still at it, 44 years later. Above all, I’m in it for the love of great food.