Drinking with Pat LaFrieda, Vodka, Dunkin Donuts & The Box

If you are a carnivore in NYC, then you very likely have indulged in meat from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors.  Pat LaFrieda’s first foray into the meat world began in the summer of 1981, when he was just 10 years old, when he started learning the tricks of the meat trade from sunrise to sundown under the watchful eye of his forefathers. Twenty-eight years later, he owns and operates New York City’s most prestigious and most valued meatpacking facility. All across the country, the finest restaurants and top chefs consider LaFrieda the most widely name-dropped butcher and he has a cult following to prove back it up. Some of the very best burgers in the city are built on LaFrieda Meats, and since we are serious burger lovers, we wanted to go drinking with the one & only, Pat LaFrieda …

Favorite NYC place to hang out over a burger & beer?

Where I go for a burger really depends on the mood that I am in. It’s too difficult to pick just one favorite because there are so many great concepts out there but I think that Black Market is a great place for a beer and burger.

Favorite go-to drink?

Vodka on the rocks with lime.

First job in the industry?

I worked as a busboy at La Maganette which used to be located at 825 Third Avenue. It was an old, red sauce Italian restaurant that was there for many years.

First “boozy” drink you ever had & when?

I had Jack Daniel’s the second semester of my freshman year in college.

Ever have a bad drinking experience?

My sophomore year of college, I was awoken by knocks at my dorm room door and the entire place looked like a scene out of The Hangover. I looked to either side of me and there were two girls lying in bed with me. I finally got up to open the door and it was campus security. One of the girls lying in bed with me happened to be the head of security’s daughter.

Coffee or tea? Fave cup (from where)? How do you take it? How many a day?

I actually like coffee and tea equally from Dunkin Donuts. I like hot coffee with milk only and I liked iced tea, plain. I have one a day of each.

What’s your hangover remedy?

I always say that solution to pollution is dilution. Eat a big meal, drink water and maybe throw in a Tylenol but do all this before you go to bed. If you go to bed with a stomach full of alcohol and nothing else, you’re asking for trouble.

Favorite bartender/mixologist/sommelier/ drinks service industry person?

I don’t really have a favorite and I think most of them are overrated.

Best paring mea you ever had with your meat & where?

Honestly, I always eat my meat with a non-alcoholic drink because I want to enjoy my food and then drink afterward. I know a lot of people like different red wines with meat but that gives me acid reflux and I really enjoy the experience of eating dinner then having drinks afterward. Again, there are too many places to name one of my best pairing meals but I’d say that in the top 20, Porter House New York would sit there.

Where is your fave spot for date night?

Beauty & Essex followed by a night at The Box.

Out of the way NYC gem?

L&B Spumoni Gardens (In Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.)

What are you most proud of in your career thus far?

I think that I am most proud of being able to expand on the business that my grandfather and father have left for me. I am proud that I am able to carry on this tradition of LaFrieda Meats and hopefully make this business better each and every day that I step into the facilities.

Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to in the industry? Who can we thank (besides you) for your insanely incredible meats?

Besides my family, I’d have to say Gino Masci who was the original owner of il Mulino.

Best recommendations on pairing drinks with your meats?

Again, when I am eating my meat I am really just concentrating on the food and then take on the drinking afterward.

Straight update & shameless plugs: what are you working on these days?

Well I have my book, MEAT: Everything You Need to Know, that came out this past September. We served our steak sandwiches and meatballs at the US Open. We are the official burger of the New York Mets and we also have steak sandwich stands, a meatball slider stand and a Chophouse at Citi Field. If you can’t make it to any restaurants that serve our meat you can get some quality meat at www.LaFrieda.com. Lastly, we are just trying to keep our customers and restaurants happy.

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