Although it seemed that Jeffrey Ruhalter had found a way to keep business going at his eponymous meat counter in the Essex Street Market, it looks like the butcher’s struggles are beginning anew.
Jeffrey’s PR folks sent a statement to Bowery Boogie claiming that the butcher’s landlord has asked for an $8,000 lease renewal fee, due March 1, as well as a 29 percent rent increase. Between that and increased worker’s-comp-insurance premiums, Ruhalter, the statement reads, “is running out of options,” and is now looking for an investor or someone to buy the store, which his grandfather opened in the market in 1939.
Although he’s working on a cookbook deal with Simon & Schuster and has attracted the interest of reality-show producers, neither of these things will solve Ruhalter’s more immediate problems. A substantial cash infusion and a reasonable landlord might, but failing that, well-wishers are being encouraged to leave messages on the shop’s Facebook page — and to go and buy some meat.