Who Wants a Butcher Shop in Oak Park?

Last week, I received a tweet from Caroline Shields asking me to participate in an online survey to assess the interest level in having a butcher shop in Oak Park.

The Wednesday Journal has a story about her plans in this week's paper:

Shields and her partners have not yet picked a location or opening date for their meat market, but if all goes well, they'll announce that information in the next month.

The business venture is in no way related to Villager Foods, which closed earlier this year. The Oak Park grocer had also considered opening a butcher shop, which has yet to materialize.

I think a meat market would be a nice addition to Oak Park provided that it can compete with the prices at Trader Joe's and the quality at Whole Foods. We've been to the Paulina Meat Market on the North Side of the city a few times and I'm guessing that it would probably be something like that.

I also thought it was interesting to read that this venture is not connected to the plans for Villager Foods discussed a few months ago. But then again, according to this story in the Tribune, butchers are hot right now as people become more interested in eating local.

What do you guys think? Do you think Oak Park can support a stand-alone meat market and would you shop there regularly?

Flickr photo from the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest

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Comment by Judith Warren on October 23, 2010 at 8:38am
I think the location needs to be convenient to park. People aren't going to get in their car and drive around for 10 minutes to look for parking except for special occasion meats when they are already parked at the grocery store.

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Comment by Becca on October 22, 2010 at 11:14pm
@Casey They also made a reference to the butcher trend in a story in last week's New York Times magazine about how fashion designers are seeking out more manly models. They pointed to the increased interest in butchering as part of this trend.

Trend or not, I think a really good butcher could be a nice addition to the Village.
Comment by Aaron Andersen on October 22, 2010 at 1:51pm
Yeah, obviously an independent shop won't have Whole Foods overhead to pay for. But they will need to advertise.

Comment by Russ M on October 22, 2010 at 1:45pm
Not really expecting Jewel prices. However, I think they would have to be cheaper than Whole Foods. If they could price somewhere around where Trader Joes, I think a butcher shop would be a good bargain for freshly cut meat sourced from a good farm.

The shop needs to keep it simple to keep overhead low.
Comment by Aaron Andersen on October 22, 2010 at 1:06pm
If a butcher does open, she or he will probably have to choose between ethically sourced meat or lower prices than Whole Foods or the Farmers Market. Ethically sourced meat is simply more expensive, because cost-effective shortcuts like a diet of corn flakes and antibiotics are how we can get meat at "Jewel prices." Personally, if meat is more expensive, it becomes more of a rare luxury in my diet, which is probably better for my health.

Of course, maybe s/he can balance quality and price by keeping the overhead really low and not make much profit for him/herself... not exactly the entrepreneurial dream, but frequently the entrepreneurial reality.

Comment by Russ M on October 22, 2010 at 12:54pm
I would definitely patronize a fairly priced butcher with quality meats and cuts. I don't need anything fancy, just something with Whole Foods quality with closer to Jewel prices.
Comment by Casey Cora on October 22, 2010 at 11:26am
I'm somewhat new the LHOP community, but I was pointed to thread asking what folks would like to see in Oak Park. There were lots of great responses — more than 10 pages — and I was glad to see a few people mentioning a butcher shop.

For me, that's number one with a bullet.

Macho? Maybe. Foodie fad? I'm not so sure.

There's something, I dunno, comforting and old-timey, about having a reliable butcher in town. Which reminds me, check out this tremendous Esquire article about butchers.
Comment by Krista on October 20, 2010 at 3:28pm
Have you heard any more about this?

Comment by J Chyna on June 29, 2010 at 1:20pm
If they had organic/grass-fed meats, I would shop there--especially in the winter time, when I don't have the option to buy at the Farmer's Market.
Comment by Aaron Andersen on June 28, 2010 at 8:40pm
Butchers have mucho macho foodie appeal right now. But like anything hip, this could easily become a fast-fading trend. If I were to open a butcher shop, I would work hard on providing "old school" value and excellent service to customers, and I would avoid trendy foodie touches.


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