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M&S Prime Meats to Close in August, Russo's Taking Over the Space

Some sad news to report: The neighborhood's last old-school pork store, M&S, will be closing its doors for good in August. Owner Mel Diaz sent me the below photo of the note that he's posted on the front door.

M&S Traces its origins to 1948, when Anthony Schiccitano opened A&S Fine Food and Pork Store (his initials) up the avenue at 274 5th, now home to nail salon Reedchy. Brothers Mel Diaz and Sal Bonello took over the store in 2005 and gave it their own initials, and due to a rent dispute with Schiccitano's daughter they were forced to move into the current space, between 2nd and 3rd Streets, in 2008 (here's a full history). The brothers, who honed their skills at Little Italy's Italian Food Center, continued turning out freshmade mozzarella and ricotta, antipasti, homemade sausages, fresh pasta, freshly-butchered meats, and some outstanding sandwiches in the old-school tradition, and Mel took full ownership after Sal's untimely passing in 2010 at age 40.

Mel's own health problems are now forcing him to close the shop's doors for good, after a 66-year run. Thankfully, though, it doesn't end here. Russo's, which traces its lineage all the way back to a still-extant shop on Manhattan's 11th Street that's been open since 1908 (and a second location up on 7th Avenue and 10th and 11th Streets since 1996), will be taking over the location. Now run by Jack Russo, they're known for their fresh pasta and homemade mozzarella, ricotta, prepared foods, and antipasti; no word on whether they will continue M&S' tradition of selling fresh meats here, but they'll most likely sell sausages, like they do at their other locations.

A handful of businesses based on Seventh Avenue, like Eric Shoes and Pure Essentials, have opened second locations on Fifth within the past year. While it's sad to see M&S shutter after all these years (and I hope that Mel's health issues aren't too serious), it's nice a century-old Italian deli join them.

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Reader Comments (21)

It's the greedy landlords fault!!! (Sarcasm)

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterParkslopelandlord

*sniff* easily the best sandwiches in the neighborhood. very sad to see them go.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrstank

A real 5th Avenue institution. I am sad to see them go, but glad that Russo's is taking over. Hopefully things won't change too much.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterReal Park Sloper

First they close my laundromat (9th St Laundrette; leaving on the 28th), then they close the ultimate source of a lot of the stains I have to clean off my shirts.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Love Russos. This is a great thing.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTed

Russo's is better so I take this change as a positive thing. Finally some good news around here.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkate

I will miss their sandwiches, their terrific fresh ground beef, and other great cuts.

Mel, I hope you get better soon and leave those health problems behind! Thank you for all of the years of great service!

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNever Satisfied

I like Russos sandwiches but they really have to change their attitude there. Super-unfriendly and very brusque to the point of rudeness.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSFinBK

I don't know who you've dealt with at Russos but they've been a class act for years. They're taking over a big space-apparently one mom and pop not affiliated with Talde and Bogota can make it work

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

I love Russo's as well but I agree with your staff comment. They are some of the most unfriendly people I have encountered in any business. How could they always be that rude? How could their employer not have realized this after at least 7 years that I know of? At least the food is good.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLennie

Too bad. I always tried to support them. Russo's is about as perfect a replacement as one could hope for, though.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFelton

Nooooooo!!!! I've gone here for years. A Park Slope institution gone.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdgar Bergen Street

It looks like this Russo's place has very nasty staff, which is a shame, as the pork store was really a nice, old-school place. What a shame. This space will probably wind up going downhill and become a nail salon within a few months. Ladies, why so many nail shops? It's not your nails they're looking at.

What a wonderful spot for the folks at the Larder to expand to.

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBadabingddard

They're not nasty at all. I can't imagine how friggin sensitive you have to be to think that...

July 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFelton

Move the 7th Ave. staff to the 5th Ave. store and that should satisfy all.

July 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLennie

The Staff at Russo's is most definitely a bunch of creeps. Totally nasty..for as long as I can remember 8+ years or so.

July 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSquiddy

I have been living in this area for nearly 20 years and live across from M&S. I still am sad about Sal's passing a few years back. He was a nice person. I am happy this space will not become another nail salon or bar or Thai place or some other ubiquitous Park Slope trend retread.

July 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAMV

Should be a net plus - I was a big M&S/A&S fan but since Sal died it was clear that their heart wasnt in it. Meat selection and quality isnt that great, and the prepared foods are just ok. Mozzarella is still good. The sandwiches were really never special - simply boars head meats on some decent bread.

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbklynmind
July 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercair

The best sandwiches in the neighborhood?? Wow, you must not get sandwiches from anywhere else because their sandwiches are horrible!!

Their prepared foods aren't much better and a lot of the time, they are out of date or bad. I used to go to their store when they had the little shop and their meats were so good. But, I am not sure what happened when they moved to this spot, service became terrible, meats weren't as good and as I mentioned, prepared foods were horrible. I tried shopping there a few times and then gave up. Some of my neighbors actually had to bring things back to them because they were so bad!

Not sad to see them go, and very glad Russo's is coming!

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterConcernedObserver

Oh good another 7th Avenue store opening a 2nd location on 5th.

I wonder how long before 5th and 7th are identical. My how we live in a neighborhood of lazy people.

So now it's Eric on both, Konditori on both, Key Food on both, Essentials Pharm on both, Russo's on both, and thank god we got rid of that horrible fish market on 7th and it's since moved to 5th. Have all the rotten fish you want 5th Ave!

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkate

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