July 20, 2016 By Christian Murray
The traditional Irish supermarket Butcher Block is expanding onto Queens Boulevard, taking over the space that had been previously been occupied by Pure Spa & Salon.
The Butcher Block, located at 43-46 41st St., is connected to Pure’s former 40-15 Queens Blvd location through the rear of the store. Pure relocated to the CityView Racquet Club in Long Island City in November.
“There is going to be an entrance on Queens Boulevard and one on 41st Street,” said Noel Gaynor, who founded and owns the Butcher Block with Mike Roche. The pair opened the well-known Sunnyside store in 1995.
The architectural plans have yet to be drawn up and Gaynor said that he was unable to provide a date when the expansion would be complete.
Gaynor, who is from County Mayo, said they plan to create a bigger kitchen and hot food display area as well as offer more vegetables and groceries.
“Business is good and we have been selling a lot of groceries,” Gaynor said. “We need more space.”
The store is best known for its long counter that sells a vast range of meats, including house-cured bacon, corned beef, spare ribs and blood sausages.
It also offers prepared items, such as shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pies, roast beef, rotisserie chicken and sausage rolls, with sides such as mashed potatoes, peas and carrots. Then there are the sandwiches. (see menu)
The Butcher Block also imports Irish/British chocolates, butter, bread, baked beans, tea, newspapers, potato chips and biscuits/cookies.
Gaynor estimates that about 30 percent of their customers are Irish. The other 70 percent are from a range of different backgrounds, he said.
“You’ll get the taxi driver coming in and buying sausage rolls,” he said. “Then there are some people who visited Ireland once, and now come here.”
The Butcher Block was not always in its present location. It had been located on the south side of Queens Boulevard (between 41st and 42nd Streets) until a massive fire in 2003 destroyed the store along with a number of restaurants.
Gaynor and Roche were fortunate in that they were able to find the space they are in now just months after the fire.