Photo by Caitlin Abrams
A dead-on pastrami on rye from The St. Paul Meat Shop.
I hold dear this 1950s American dream in which each neighborhood has its own butcher shop with friendly, hatted butchers waving you in for your nightly dinner supplies. Though it’s not in my neighborhood, this dream is a reality at The St. Paul Meat Shop. Opened by the France 44 team, responsible for the St. Paul Cheese Shop up the road, this whole animal butchery is a modern classic. Beyond the fact that its animals are locally and humanely raised, its commitment to quality fully extends to the loaded sandwiches made to order, the quarts of side dishes in the take-out case, and the service, which is both humble and expert.
I walked in and was greeted by the friendly bearded and hatted butcher Nick, who responded with excitement to my question: “What am I making for dinner?” He toured me through the meat cases stacked with fresh cuts while suggesting what to make with them. We ended on the smoked and cured pork to slice into a salad, along with fresh heritage pork chops to grill. I also picked up sides of creamy, dreamy smoked potato salad, cola baked beans, and a bottle of housemade ranch for the salad. Dinner done. I guess I just have to move into that neighborhood.
1674 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-698-2536, stpaulmeatshop.com