Our Story

Company History

Butterfield began as a small grocery store, in 1915, offering its neighbors a wide variety of items including produce, meats and grains. The core of the business was deliveries, sending out packages to many of New York’s most illustrious patrons, including Mrs. Brooke Astor and Mr. John Rockefeller. The store’s name is derived from the telephone exchange given to its neighborhood -- Butterfield 8.


Over the years, the market changed ownership, and, in 1974, was bought by Mr. Theodore Appelbaum, a long time manager of the shop. Theodore (Teddy) soon became known throughout the neighborhood as “Mr. Butterfield.” Mr. Appelbaum worked 6 days a week, indefatigably, until he was 91 years old.  Under his leadership, the business grew and the market gained a reputation for carrying the finest produce in the city. In the early ‘70s, Teddy asked his son-in-law, Alan Obsatz, to be his partner.  The two of them worked diligently to establish the level of quality merchandise and personalized service that is Butterfield’s calling card today.  In fact, during the 80’s, Butterfield Market became a leading purveyor of fruits and vegetables to many hotels and restaurants throughout the city.


Through Mr. Obsatz’s vision, Butterfield underwent a major renovation in the 1990’s, transforming it from a grocery store to specialty food market. Ten years later, in 2000, Joelle Obsatz, who had been working with one of New York City’s premier catering companies, joined her father and grandfather, to create the Butterfield Catering Division. The following year, her brother Evan entered the family business as well. Both the expanding popularity of  the market’s daily prepared foods and the increasing growth of its catering business led to  the September, 2008 opening of Butterfield Kitchen, on East 92nd Street.  The new facility, with its state of the art kitchen, café, and offices, has enabled Butterfield to maintain its high standards of food and service while catering to a broad range of corporate and residential clientele.

Owners Evan, Joelle and Alan Obsatz


Evan and Joelle enjoying the Market as children


Theodore Appelbaum, "Mr Butterfield"

Project Green

We are committed to building a clean energy future. We want to make sure we minimize our impact on the Earth's climate as much as possible, so we’re taking every step we can to implement innovative and responsible environmental practices across our company to reduce our carbon footprint and help our employees be green.



  • All salad containers and sandwich wraps are made from corn based plastics and are compostable
  • All of our bags are made from recycled plastics
  • Our napkins are made from 100% recycled paper
  • Our butcher paper and wax paper are now natural and bleach-free
  • We have purchased bicycles for “carbon free” deliveries
  • Many of our plates and utensils are made from corn-based plastics




We use corn based plastic and other recyclable packaging materials as part of our "Project Green" initiative.

Community Based Initiative

We always remember that without our customers and our community, our business would not exist. It is for that reason, Butterfield is committed to giving to the less fortunate and local organizations that are doing good for our community. We donate over 3000 pounds of food a year to City Harvest and donate to over 50 local non-profit organizations each year. If you would like to find out more about this program, please email service@butterfieldmarket.com.




Proud to support CityHarvest.org