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"Meat" Mel

This girl, born and raised in Brooklyn, always knew she would be involved in some way in the marketing and managing of important businesses; she just didn’t know what those responsibilities or businesses would be.  

 Melanie graduated from the College of Staten Island with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications. Unlike many of her friends who graduated with a variety of majors but had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives, she knew exactly what she wanted.  She was fortunate enough to get a job with the Walt Disney World Company in Orlando, Florida as a Signature Event Coordinator and received remarkable experience in public relations. She became an international liaison between the Disney Corporate management and international associates from sixteen nations. It was a fantastic experience where she was able to branch out into event planning and be responsible for cultural school visits, VIP tours and many other events at the park, specifically EPCOT. She had the ultimate validation of her burgeoning abilities when she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in leadership training.

As much as she loved her career at Disney, she wanted to be closer to family. She was hired by Bally Total Fitness in Fort Lee, New Jersey and worked her way up from an entry level job to a spokesperson for the corporation. She was featured in their national television spots and even became a certified trainer and started teaching exercise classes at the gym. She was combining not only her love of all things business, but her personal desire to live a healthy lifestyle in which she combined nutritious eating and exercise. 

When the Bally Corporation went bankrupt, Melanie couldn’t believe that all of her hard work had landed her back to square one. But, she was not one to let moss grow under her feet so she reached out to her childhood friend, Pat LaFrieda, the CEO of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. He hired her on the spot. Over the years she’s worn many different hats for the company. All of her previous experiences have made her uniquely qualified to handle any and all requests from Pat. As Senior Project Director, she has led numerous Food and Beverage projects and all of the company’s special events and public relations for their clients which include NY Mets, NY Jets, Boston Red Sox, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, the US Open and many more high profile companies and events.

On March 12, 2020, she opened another Pat LaFrieda Restaurant. One day later, New York City went into lockdown due to COVID-19. She was sailing along in her career at sixty miles per hour when everything came to a grinding halt. Not one for self-pity and with the personality of a restless hustler she assessed the situation and began consulting for area restaurants at no fee just to keep her hand in the mix.  Fortunately, destiny was on her side. She was approached to open a food truck that she named Mel’s Butcher Box. Serendipity!  

With her connection to Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, the quality of the product is above reproach. With her marketing skills and reputation, word spread quickly in the area and on opening day there were lines around the block to sample Mel’s Cheese Steak and Mel’s Double Burger. There is nothing like it in the vicinity. The business has been so successful that she was, happily, able to hire back several of the employees of their restaurants in New York City.

Mel’s Butcher Box has been showcased on the nightly news and reported in several local newspapers such as the Bergen Record and the Suburbanite. At that time Her plan was to open her own brick and mortar restaurant. Her dream came to a reality late summer of 2021, as her first location Mel’s Butcher Box, Tenafly was born.