Nowadays, people care a lot more about where their meat comes from, how it was raised, and if the animals that were sourced were treated ethically. Modern consumers want to make responsible, sustainable choices, and they’re being rewarded for their attention to detail. Ongoing food research shows that “when stress is minimized in animals, the meat has a lower pH and is consistently more delicate than in animals that experience stress during transport, handling, and slaughter.” Consumers are realizing that meat purchased from large supermarkets can’t answer any of their questions or address their concerns, and in general, feel the meat lacks quality. We often get a lot of questions here at Lady Jaye about how our team started our butcher shop here in West Seattle.
If you’re interested in locally sourced and sustainable cuts of meat, visiting a butcher shop is a great first step! From one local butcher shop to another, here’s how Lady Jaye started ours and what we’ve learned from the process.
Funnily enough, Lady Jaye’s butcher shop actually came to fruition serendipitously. When we ordered too much Japanese Wagyu during the pandemic, we had to think of a way to ensure that our meat didn’t go to waste. We used our garage door window to sell the beautiful cuts of Wagyu and it was so popular that we sold out in a few hours!
Seeing how much demand there was for locally sourced cuts of meat and the accouterments to cook a masterpiece, we decided to see what it would take to get a small, local butcher shop up and running. Now, our meat shop sits front-and-center of our restaurant when customers come in to dine with us. You can either run in and grab a slab after work or pick up your favorite Lady Jaye condiment that you enjoyed at the restaurant on your way out. Our condiments are finger-lickin’ good!
Two of the main masterminds behind our butcher shop are Tyler and Charlie. Equipped with a slab of meat and knife in hand, Tyler transforms into our very own meat master! His former experience as a Co-Head Chef of a meat-forward restaurant prepared him well for his role in our butcher shop at Lady Jaye. Charlie’s knowledge of flavor profiles and smoked meat allows you to bring home the Lady Jaye experience, so you can try your hand at making restaurant-quality meat from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Curious meat connoisseurs everywhere are wondering what it takes to start a butcher shop, so we’re sharing some tips and tricks from Lady Jaye’s very own master of meat, Tyler. Here is some advice from Tyler:
1. Source Your Meat Locally
At Lady Jaye, we source our meat from Pure Country Farms. It’s only 179 miles away from Lady Jaye, which ensures that the meat remains fresh and supports our ecological standards. By working with a local farmer, you create a symbiotic relationship—a small business supporting a family-owned business and vice versa.
Pure Country Farms harvests 13 cattle a week, which means they have complete oversight of their herds, significantly boosting quality control. They minimize the stress of their animals before harvesting, and their feed is “specifically formulated to their growth needs, without antibiotics, added hormones, growth stimulants, or animal byproducts.” All of this to say, sourcing your meat locally means that you know exactly what you’re getting, which in our opinion is a no-brainer.
2. Be Creative With Your Cuts
When you’re starting out, it makes sense to supply your shop with popular cuts of meat, like rib eye, tenderloin, and sirloin—just don’t forget to get creative with your cuts. Your customers aren’t always interested in the Hollywood cuts. Read more about our take on the four cuts of meat a butcher shop should never go without. Make your own bone broth or Wagyu fat doggie treats! Your customers will support your creativity.
3. Inspire Through Innovation
Advertising your butcher shop doesn’t have to be boring. Take to the Internet. Show off your butchering skills on Instagram. Don’t shy away from having a web presence. This will help you find a broader community. Incentivize returning to your shop. Toss in a sample of a rub or hand out samples at your shop. Making a personal connection will keep people coming in and coming back.
4. Make Your Butcher Shop A One-Stop-Shop
Supply your customers with everything they’ll need to make a cohesive dinner.
It’s not just about the meat, even if the meat is the star. Sell spices and rubs, so your customers can marinate their meat. We sell the rubs that are used in our restaurant so that our guests can go home and recreate their meals. When it comes to starting a butcher shop, sometimes it’s helpful to model your vision after an existing shop.
From the creative minds of the Lady Jaye team comes Little Jaye, South Seattle's newest bakery, coffee and pastry obsession.