Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Wooster Square Tour

Mike’s Meat Market

127 Wooster Street

(former)

Founder, Angelo Cavaliere and sons Emiddio and Silvio, c. 1962. Courtesy Mike Caprio.

Michele Caprio, arrived in the U.S. at Ellis Island on July 22, 1913 in search of his true love, Maria Carmela Sgueglia who had emigrated two years before. They were married in St. Michael’s Church in 1915. Michele worked as a butcher and meat packer at local slaughter houses before opening his first meat market around 1918 at 157 Wooster St., the current site of Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria. The business prospered and the family grew. By 1922 Michele & Carmela had four children (Carmela called Millie, Luciano, Antonio and Vincenzo). Michele bought four homes in the Wooster Square area, which he lost after the crash of 1929 and he moved his market to 129 Wooster St. When Paceoni’s Drugstore moved in 1930 from 127 Wooster St. to the corner of Chapel & Franklin, Michele moved his market to the new address. His fifth child, Michael, was born in 1932 and the family was living above the store in an apartment in the Santa Maria Maddalena Society building.

As his sons got older they were brought into the business. In the late 40s, 50s, and 60s business was good. All the businesses on Wooster St. would barter with each other. If Libby’s Pastry Shop, the Dell’Amura family, ordered meat for their family, on a Saturday night one of the boys would deliver the order and then get cookies or pastry or a birthday cake in exchange; whoever owed more would pay the balance to the other. The market closed in 1978 and people still want to know where Mike’s Meat Market went.

  • Text courtesy Michael Caprio.

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