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Culinary Arts

A Brooklyn tattoo parlor puts a new spin on the term “a memorable meal”

Author Jennifer Nalewicki Photography Courtesy of Marina Heintze

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NEW YORK CITY – A woman sits beside a deli case, flipping through a booklet containing images of hot dogs, sandwiches, and slabs of meat. The woman is not contemplating what she might have for lunch, however, but what she might get tattooed onto her leg.

Meattt, Inc., owned and operated by 29-year-old Brooklyn artist Marina Heintze, distinguishes itself from other tattoo parlors by including a menu of food-themed body art among its offerings. The place is set up to look like a butcher shop, and it recently hosted a “Sushi Saturday,” in which nigiri and maki were inked onto people’s skin, starting at $100 a pop.

“The body is like a piece of meat,” Heintze says. “It’s the perfect canvas for my art.”

While sushi tattoos are among her personal favorites, Heintze will try her hand at any kind of dish. “I had a chef come in and ask for a bagel with lox,” she says. “So I asked him if he wanted the works, which includes onions, capers, and dill.” And, in keeping with current food trends, she has tried her hand at more experimental creations. “Right now, I’m working on idioms that also work as tattoos, such as ‘egg on the face’ and ‘flash in the pan.’”

Heintze’s client today is Natalie Horstman, who wants to get a moth (the red pattern on its wings ends up resembling the marbling on a steak). As Heintze brings the buzzing gun closer to her client’s calf, Horstman flinches and says, “I can really feel myself starting to sweat.” 

“You just have to pound through it like the rest of us,” Heintze replies.

In the two hours it takes to finish the tattoo, Horstman refrains from any more utterances of fear or pain, although her face suggests she wishes she’d ordered something simpler. Say, the soup. 

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