Paul Arciero of Wading River put himself through architecture school by butchering meat. That was over 30 years ago.

The 53-year-old has rarely put down his clever since, working at places like Meat Farms and the popular Cow Palace up in Rocky Point.

Now he’s going into business for himself.

Arciero, a Longwood High School graduate, just opened Pauly’s Market & Butchery in the former Cow Palace/River Avenue BBQ location at 23 River Avenue.

“So here I am,” said Arciero, who was approached by the former Cow Palace owners about taking the lease over two months ago. “I wasn’t making a plan for this. I was just working and two months later, with the help of family and friends, we built this.”

The interior renovations started two months ago.

“This is always something I wanted to do. You have to reinvent yourself, try different things,” Arciero said.

Pauly’s Market and Butchery will be carrying a full line of meats, including higher-end cuts, like aged steaks and boomerang steaks. Also they’ll be making “mega sandwiches,” both cold and hot, and in-house burgers.

“The goal is to have some kick-ass, huge deli sandwiches,” he said.

There’s also plans to renovate the exterior at Pauly’s, as well as host community foodie events, such as chili cook-offs, on the property.

Pauly’s will also be building up its inventory of jarred tomato sauces, house-made sauces and meals, produce, dried pasta, cheeses, milk, eggs and other staples.

“I just really wanted to get open for Christmas week, but it’s sort of a soft opening,”Arciero said. “I’d like to do a grand opening in the spring. But we’ve already got a lot of customers in; they’re really loving the place.”

But he seems most excited about doing what he loves best, and that’s being a go-to community butcher that everyone gets to know and love.

“I’ve been an architect, but the whole time I was a butcher in between,” he said. “I like talking with people and interacting with them. I did not enjoy sitting behind a desk as much as being out.”

Top: Paul Arciero holds up a cut of rib eye at his Pauly’s Market & Butchery Friday on River Avenue in Patchogue. (Credit: Michael White)

the hours

Pauly’s is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 Tuesdays through Saturdays, and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market and butchery is closed Mondays. They also do catering. The business’s phone number is 631-730-6981

more photos by Michael White