Meaty Question: Are Butcher Shops a Dying Breed?
Smitty shakes his head when I ask him what he thinks of a New York Times article, "The Lost Art of Buying From a Butcher," from earlier this month. "I disagree with 95 percent of it," he says, citing big grocers and Whole Foods as taking the next generation of his customers.
The article notes there's a butcher revival in New York, Boston, and elsewhere, as home cooks seek cuts of meat they've eaten at restaurants helmed by chefs who embrace nose-to-tail cooking in their restaurants, in their cookbooks, and on cooking TV shows. The revival of the butcher shop is the result of adventure eaters "whose appetites stray beyond steak," writes Florence Fabricant.
At Smitty's, customers aren't in search of adventure. "The Rolls-Royce cuts are what sells," he said. While artisanal butchers may be having a renaissance in bigger cities, Smitty says the interest doesn't exist to the same degree here. He worries over the fate of his shop when he retires, pointing to a guy in the back. "See that guy? He's 28. He's the only one who's even interested. He's the only one I've got."
1980 NE 45th St.
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