It must be nice to operate a business in New York City, the self-proclaimed “media capital of the world.”
How else to explain the over-the-top PR campaign surrounding a solid, well-run meat purveying business that is billing itself as the greatest thing since boxed beef?
The media blitz began this week with the announcement that “the most famous meat purveyor in the country” is publishing a (ghostwritten) cookbook, which—not surprisingly, given his status—is modestly titled, “Meat: Everything There Is to Know.”
But wait: This is no ordinary cookbook containing everything there is to know about meat. Oh, no.
“This is more than a cookbook; it’s a journey focused around what my family has built its name and reputation on for the past century,” stated the purveyor in question, Mr. Pat LaFrieda, who apparently offered that bon mot while talking to his publicity agent. “This book will give you the confidence to select, purchase, butcher and cook any kind of meat.”
Really? Lion meat? Kangaroo? Alligator?
Suffice to say that the country’s most famous purveyor isn’t gonna give it all up in a press release. You want the confidence to butcher and cook any kind of meat? You want the glory? You gotta buy the story.
Not only that, but the author isn’t just some high-profile purveyor. According to his publisher’s promo, “He has been hailed by New York magazine as the ‘King of Meat,’ the mastermind behind countless iconic burgers made famous at restaurants across the country.”
And when New York media anoints you not just “most famous” but the reigning King of Meat, well, let’s just say that “mastermind” is only the starting point.
Here’s how the breathless business bio of LaFrieda’s modestly named company—Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors—begins:
“In 1922, Anthony LaFrieda and his five sons opened a butcher shop in Brooklyn. By the 1950s, the brothers begin servicing restaurants from a shop in New York City’s meatpacking district.”
You’ve heard the next part of the backstory before: “The shop was on the second floor of a building with no elevator, so they had to carry 200-pound saddles of beef on their backs up a flight of stairs.”
In the dark, through bitter winter blizzards and summer heat waves, 18 hours a day, seven days a week.
Okay, fast forward to the 1980s, with the company now settled into a much larger facility on a street that would eventually be renamed—wait for it—Pat LaFrieda Lane, where the current Pat (grandson of one of the original brothers) showed “the same passion and talent for butchery that his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father had before him.”