November 13, 2007
RIP, Satriale's Pork Store

And another landmark bites the dust.

An empty lot, littered with rocks and roped off by chains, is all that remains of the butcher shop where Tony Soprano once held backroom meetings and sipped espresso at outdoor tables.

Satriale's, the Kearny landmark and fictional pork store that became one of the most infamous icons of the New Jersey mob world created by "The Sopranos," was demolished last month to make way for a condo development. Construction of the nine-unit project, dubbed -- what else? -- "The Soprano," is expected to start next year.

Condos. You knew it had to be condos.

For years, property owner Manny Costeira leased the empty building to HBO, which turned it into a storefront that was home to countless meetings for the acclaimed drama series' mobsters (not to mention a bloody hit or two). Satriale's was also where Tony Soprano often met with the FBI's Agent Harris, who continued to come there for pork sandwiches even after he was transferred out of the agency's organized crime unit.

Patrons of the Kearny Irish American Club, a bar and event hall that sits next door to the Satriale's site on Kearny Avenue, grew accustomed to a regular influx of business from the days when the series was filming there.

"They really kept us alive for a few years," said Michael Mara, who is on the board of the club. "They used to come here to eat, rent out the banquet hall, use the bathrooms, film out in front. A few times they paid us to take down the Irish sign and put up an 'Italian American' sign."

After the series ended in June, Costeira announced plans to raze the building. Reached in Syracuse, N.Y., where he was visiting his daughter at the university, he said he has approval for a nine-unit condo development and hopes to break ground in the spring.

He said the store had been long shuttered when the Sopranos signed on to use it as a location, bringing new life to it. As a nod to its fame he decided name the development after the show.

"There's a great deal of sentimentality but the store was something they created," he said. "When they were gone it went back to being an empty store. It was pretty hideous looking building."

Probably for the best, all things considered. Now if they included an autographed cast photo with each condo purchase...

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 13, 2007 to TV and movies