Kosher meat store narrowly avoids the butcher block

Tel Aviv Strictly Kosher Meats will not be sliced out of business after all.

For almost two decades, fourth-generation butcher Michael Treistman has been leasing his Noriega Street location from neighboring tenants, including the United Savings Bank, which has occupied the location in San Francisco's Sunset District since 1983.

In May, however, the bank decided to expand, asking Treistman and his sons, David, 29, and Sam, 26, to vacate the shop within two months. The butchers were willing to relocate, but couldn't afford the $45,000 price tag for moving their heavy refrigeration system. The Treistmans and their estimated 400 to 500 customers thought this would mean the end of Tel Aviv Strictly Kosher Meats, leaving San Francisco customers with only one outlet for kosher meat, Israel Kosher Meat, Poultry and Deli, on Geary Boulevard.

Despite the eviction notice, Tel Aviv Strictly Kosher Meats has remained at the location, negotiating with the bank for a loan to help them cover their moving costs. Finally, with the help of a mediator, the two parties have agreed to a deal. On Sunday, Nov. 26, the meat store will relocate to 2495 Irving St. at the corner of 26th Avenue, just blocks from the old location.

Tel Aviv Strictly Kosher Meats signed a 15-year lease at the new location, owned by Saeva Eisenberger, a long-time customer.

"I assume we'll be there even longer," says Sam Treistman, adding that Eisenberger's support and long-term lease are making the move possible.

While Treistman is optimistic about the arrangement with Eisenberger, he describes the terms of the agreement with United Savings as "good news and bad news."

The bad news is that the bank is only providing $7,000 to cover moving costs. The Treistmans had originally asked for $40,000. What's more, the bank originally offered to loan the butchers $18,000 at a favorable interest rate, but instead gave the family a "standard 8 percent adjustable rate," according to Treistman.

More bad news: Rent on Noriega Street was $600 a month, while the new rent will be $1,100 monthly.

However, the new store will be twice as big. That, says Treistman, is the good news. "We will put in sit-down tables, and our customers will come in for sandwiches, fresh piroshkis, knishes."

The Treistmans hope the new deli-style facility will help the store recoup losses from the move. They are also hoping profits will help them make swift repayment to five family friends who lent them money to help finance the move.

Sunday, Dec. 3 will mark the store's grand opening on Irving Street. Michael Treistman, who emigrated from Odessa in 1974, is hoping the store's new incarnation will be as sweet as the cookies and candies he will be doling out to kids. For adults, specials on Nova lox and kosher hot dogs will inaugurate the new location.