Markets & Stores 42

Could Athens, GA, support an "indie" butcher shop?

Liana Krissoff | Feb 4, 200807:35 AM

Flipping through the Saveur 100 issue and saw the squib about indie-punk butchers. It's long been my feeling that Athens is lacking in the meat department, and I wonder if enough people would patronize a real butcher shop here to make it worthwhile business-wise? It doesn't have to be a fancy one with completely "sustainable" grass-fed this and that (for which the local CSAs are probably good enough)—just a plain old meat shop where you can get good thick pork chops cut to order, lamb, game (even frozen—say, quail), maybe dry-aged beef for special occasions. I'll admit that the Ingles I go to (near Hull) is pretty good, and the fellows at the East Side Publix have been great about cutting to order, as well as special-ordering things like sweetbreads and such, but wouldn't a dedicated meat store be just grand?

And while I'm fantasizing, how about a good fishmonger? I've never managed to hit the Baxter Street seafood stores when they've been open for business, and didn't one recently close for good anyway? I've gotten good—if very expensive—meat and fish at Earth Fare, but have been pretty consistently disappointed in the store's selection and in the staff's general laziness and unreliability (if you've ever tried to order something in advance, or even find out what they'll have available on a given day, you might know what I mean).

But if EF, in the heart of Five Points, isn't motivated to improve, would any other place be successful? My husband says there might not be a large enough professional class in Athens to support a good butcher shop. I think you don't have to be rich to want to throw something nice on your grill every once in a while (although maybe the "once in a while" is the problem). What do you think?

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