Forty years ago, with a new family on the way, Ray Rastelli, Jr. traded in his keyboards and aspirations of rock and roll glory for a more practical – albeit less glamorous – set of butcher knives. It was a time when people still shopped at the neighborhood butcher. Interacting with customers quickly became his favorite part of the job. Whether it was chatting with his “regulars” or helping a new customer plan the perfect Sunday dinner, playing an integral role in helping people feed their families brought him true joy and purpose.
He also loved the craft of butchery. Prior to becoming a butcher, music had been his life, and he quickly found a similar satisfaction in working with meat. There was a real art to it – a level of care and precision that has an impact on how good the end product is. In a way, it felt to him a lot like playing music.
Ray has built Rastelli Foods Group from the one-room butcher shop he opened in 1976 to the global leader in the food service industry that it is today. Throughout it all, he’s maintained a focus on ensuring that Rastelli’s feels like a small family business.
In fact, two generations of Rastelli’s lead Rastelli Foods Group today, including his brother, Tony and his son, Ray III. As Rastelli’s has grown, Ray has come to wear several hats, but he still wears his apron, he still sharpens his knives, and he still spends time on the cutting floor. Knowing that he’s feeding you and your family is still his favorite part of the job and it’s why he’s still at it 44 years later.