NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For Herbert Morscher, the secret to being a good butcher is hard work.
"The old butchers' saying was that, here at Morscher's Pork Store, we have bankers' hours; we only work half a day, from 6:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night," he said.
Known to regulars as Herbie, he joined his family's butcher shop in 1981.
"Actually, my great-uncle started the business in former Yugoslavia, which is Slovenia, in an area called Gottschee. And then, after the war, they migrated to the United States," he said.
The shop established itself in Ridgewood, Queens, and Herbie became a partner in 1999.
He cures, smokes, and chops meat alongside his 85-year-old uncle John, who has worked in the butcher business since he was in his 20s.
"We're manufacturing all of our bolognas, hot dogs, smoked meats from scratch and selling it over the counter, plus all the fresh cuts as well," Herbie said.
In addition to expertise in smoking hams and stuffing sausages, language skills come in handy at Morscher's.
Herbie speaks German, as does his business partner Siegfried Strahl, a native of Germany. A third partner, Peter Kotarowski, speaks Polish, and several languages are represented among the staff behind the counter.
"When the customer comes into the store, and they speak a certain language, you want the customer to feel comfortable," Herbie said. "It's important."
Butcher shops, once prevalent in the area, have shuttered over the decades. Morscher's has persevered, serving multiple generations of local families.
"The secret to our success, I always say, is that we always give the people good value for their money. People work hard for their money," Herbie said.
He takes pride in the neighborhood institution he helped to build.
"It's humbling for me that, you know, you keep the tradition going and that the people keep do come back and shop," he said.
Morscher's Pork Store
58-44 Catalpa Ave.
Queens, NY 11385
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