Woodstock Meats Rhinebeck: The Storied Butchery Crosses the Bridge | Market | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Woodstock Meats Rhinebeck: The Storied Butchery Crosses the Bridge 

A Seasonal Pop-Up with Staying Power

Last Updated: 11/11/2022 4:47 pm
click to enlarge DANIEL VAN PRAAG
  • Daniel Van Praag

Woodstock Meats has been around for a long time—“even before the concert took place,” as new co-owner and Woodstock local Sam Iapoce puts it. Fifty-eight years in, the well-loved butcher shop and provisions market is positioning itself to expand and solidify its relevance with a new partner and a second, pop-up location in Rhinebeck.


After three and a half years as general manager at the Woodstock location, in July Iapoce became a partner to existing owners Bread Alone CEO Nels Leader, Ian Martin, and Dave Majuri, who purchased the business from Kevin Christofora in 2015. “Part of their goal was to be stewards to the legacy of Woodstock Meats, but not necessarily to be owner-operators,” says Iapoce. “I was brought on at the end of 2018. We had a good rapport and saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things.” Iapoce ran boots-on-the-ground operations and helped the business navigate the ups and downs of the pandemic and inflation. “Involving me in the ownership means I have skin in the game,” he says. “I’m trying to help optimize it so we can continue for another 60 years.”

click to enlarge DANIEL VAN PRAAG
  • Daniel Van Praag

With a fresh millennial perspective, Iapoce has already brought changes to Woodstock Meats. “This place has such a storied history, but when I got here, it wasn’t necessarily so much of a brand or a destination-type butcher, which was one of the owners’ main goals,” says Iapoce, who helped to concretize the offerings and galvanize marketing efforts.

“We didn't have any merchandise. Staff wore whatever, there were no uniforms. We’ve made vast improvements on the equipment and launched programs like housemade bone broth, sausages, raw dog food, dry-aged beef, roast beef, beef jerky. All these things are interesting facets of what we offer that never existed before. So it was having products, selling merchandise, creating a brand around that, and tapping into that destination idea.” Woodstock Meat’s cow logo can now be seen on beanies, hoodies, caps, and totes around town.

click to enlarge DANIEL VAN PRAAG
  • Daniel Van Praag

Grass-fed, locally sourced meat products are the core of what Woodstock Meats does, but the little shop does so much more. They have a fresh seafood program, a deli and sandwich counter. You can buy beer and cigarettes, as well as specialty groceries. It’s high-brow, yet homegrown, anchored in the town’s DNA by its longevity and central location on Mill Hill Road.


But now Woodstock Meats is branching out, with its first ever pop-up in Rhinebeck in the previous location of the short-lived butcher shop Prime Rhinebeck on East Market Street. “The owners called to offer us the opportunity to either form some sort of partnership or purchase or a rental agreement, so the partners and I went to the drawing board to try to put together a business plan that would work.”

click to enlarge Lead butcher at the Rhinebeck location, Logal Kelso - DANIEL VAN PRAAG
  • Daniel Van Praag
  • Lead butcher at the Rhinebeck location, Logal Kelso

Initial conversations were at the end of September and by November 2, Woodstock Meats’ Rhinebeck location was up and running. While the Woodstock operation has a full marketplace plus prepared food, sandwich counter, and deli operations, Rhinbeck has homed in on just the butchery side with a curated selection of complementary products like olive oil, salt, rubs, and marinades.


“There’s been a variety of people in Rhinebeck who have said, ‘Thank god, you're here, now we don't have to drive an hour,’ or ‘We only buy meat from you,’” Iapoce says. “Hearing that has really driven home that people go out of their way to come and see us. It is very satisfying. We want people to trust their butchers and return to more small-market, local, super high-quality products. We think customers and butchers should be on a first-name basis.”

click to enlarge DANIEL VAN PRAAG
  • Daniel Van Praag

Given that their local sourcing systems were already in place, the expansion was easier than building a business from scratch. Poultry comes from Campanelli’s; lamb and pork from Edelweiss, and Kilcoyne for beef. “The lead butcher over there, Logan Kelso, is excellent. He has decades of experience,” Iapoce says.


In addition to the online, next-day online ordering for meat products, pre-ordering for turkeys just went live on the Woodstock Meats website for both locations. And the Rhinebeck location just added seafood to its roster of offerings. “We have an excellent seafood program in Woodstock, but we didn’t know if people in Rhinebeck would want that,” Iapoce says. “Then we realized people can only get seafood at the Sunday Farmers’ Market during a six-hour window and that market is going to come to an end. So we reacted swiftly.”

click to enlarge DANIEL VAN PRAAG
  • Daniel Van Praag

As for the permanence of the Rhinebeck location, Iapoce says the partners are taking a crawl-before-you-walk approach, waiting to gauge the Rhinebeck location’s performance and demand before making any decisive moves. “We were not necessarily shopping to expand, but the opportunity presented itself,” he says. “There’s no precedent, so we need to see if we’re capable. We’ll definitely be there through the holidays, probably until the end of March. If things go well, we might take some time in the doldrums of winter to retool, retinker, and assess the data we’ve collected, then try a less accelerated reopening in the spring.”


In the meantime, it’s full steam ahead for the most festive and busiest time of the year for Woodstock Meats. “The turnaround time to open was really tight, but if we missed the opportunity to provide excellent turkey and rib roast to people at the holidays because we weren’t sure it was the right time, it would’ve been really tough to open in January,” Iapoce says. “We want to use the holidays to provide an awesome experience to people so they understand that we are here to help.”

click to enlarge DANIEL VAN PRAAG
  • Daniel Van Praag

The Woodstock Meats Rhinebeck location at 41 E Market Street  is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11am-7pm, and Sunday, 11am-6pm.

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