When Justin Aronoff was considering establishing a North Fork satellite of his Roslyn Heights butcher shop, Center Cuts, he had the nagging worry that there was something he was missing. Along the 30 mile stretch from Riverhead to Orient Point, he could find only one establishment that self-identified as a butcher: Wayside Market in Southold. Supermarkets and specialty markets aside, was there really so little competition?
Not that he’s afraid of a challenge: His Roslyn Heights shop, which he opened in 2014 at age 20, is less than two miles from two fine, established butchers, Ceriello’s in Albertson and Bryant & Cooper in Roslyn.
One of the shop’s stocks in trade is catering and delivery, and especially during the pandemic, Aronoff found himself driving back and forth to the North Fork to service Nassau County clients with second homes there. A local pal, Eddie Macari (of Macari Vineyards) steered him to the vacant building that used to be Mattituck’s North Fork Market & Deli and, after a gut renovation, Center Cuts opened its doors last month .
The Roslyn Heights store has 18 feet of raw meat. "In Mattituck," Aronoff said, "I wanted to go all out — we put in 24 feet of meat display." He learned in short order that the North Fork crowd cooked more than the Nassau set, and he brought in products to inspire. "We’ve got five types of rib-eye here — a long-bone tomahawk steak, an A5 Wagyu rib-eye from Japan, a Snake River Farms boneless rib-eye from Washington State, a 45-day, dry-aged boneless rib-eye and a wet-aged bone-in rib-eye." Mattituck also eats more pork and Center Cuts satisfies that yen with Kurabota (Berkshire) chops, housemade porchetta and pork butts for smoking.
For grilling: two blends of beef burgers (brisket-short rib and sirloin); a dozen chicken, turkey and vegetarian patties; and three hot dogs: Hebrew National, Snake River Farms and Pearl’s, the cult all-beef dog from Boston with a snappy natural casing.
All things link are the domain of the store’s manager, Brian Von Der Linn, who recently closed his sausage shop, Liberty Links in Freeport, to manage Center Cuts. Von Der Linn has worked for German sausage makers, Polish sausage markers and Italian sausage makers, and his wares are an integral part of the product mix. His porky-but-refined Gallucci sweet Italian sausage is already starring in one of the shop’s dozen sandwiches, nestling in hero roll with his own roast-garlic ricotta whip, basil pesto, melted mozzarella and "Ozone Park lettuce" (fried shaved pepperoni). The most extravagant sandwich was created for the store’s grand opening: a butter-poached lobster roll that also features seared filet mignon topped with chives and lemon zest.
All of Roslyn Heights’ favorite prepared foods are here for the ordering: grilled and fried cutlets, Caprese salad with mini mozzarella balls, bean salad, mushroom salad, orzo salad, mac-and-cheese and pesto mac. Von Der Linn has a new hit with his Mexican street corn dusted with Cool Ranch Doritos dust. The shop also has a vast catering menu that can handle parties from 10 to 1,000.
Center Cuts is at 11155 Main Rd., Mattituck, 631-298-2200, centercutsroslyn.com.