Whole-beast butcher shop taps appetite for local meat

Aaron and Monica Rocchino, owners of The Local Butcher Shop, say they have been welcomed by the Berkeley community. Photo: Tracey Taylor

It’s only been just over two months since former Chez Panisse chef Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica opened The Local Butcher Shop in the heart of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. But the store, which prides itself on sourcing locally and embracing the whole animal, has already found a loyal clientele and two very local restaurant clients.

Chez Panisse, perhaps not surprisingly, is patronizing the newly established meat purveyor and buying its beef there, as well as “anything else they need when they’re in a pinch”, says Monica Rocchino.

Saul’s Deli is getting ground beef from its new neighbor and, as of last Tuesday, serving Local Butcher Shop bologna. Executive Chef Peter Levitt hopes this might go some way to appeasing his salami loving customers who, he says, are suffering while Saul’s searches for sustainable, artisanal salami it feels happy to serve.

“The Local Butcher Shop bologna a similar curing, flavor and texture for those who miss grilled salami so dearly,” he says


The new butcher shop already has two local restaurant clients: Chez Panisse and Saul’s Deli

The staff at The Local Butcher Shop has grown since it opened and is now 11-strong, and, according to Rocchini, the shop is doing a brisk business in its daily sandwiches.

“Every week is better than the last,” she says. “The community has been really welcoming and seem to be on board with our message and vision.”

Yesterday saw the launch of the store’s traditional hook-and-rail system in its walk-in meat cooler which is designed with a window so that customers can peer at whole carcasses of cows, pigs and sheep ready for the chopping board.

Aaron and Monica will be manning the guest truck tonight at street food gathering Off The Grid, which is held weekly in the Gourmet Ghetto on Shattuck Avenue and Rose. They will be selling housemade mortadella sandwiches with frisée and aioli; braised tripe soup with gremalata; pork spezzatino over polenta; and Vignette sodas — which more than meet the Rocchino’s strict locavore standards in that they are made right here in Berkeley.

Related:
Local food names sign up for Berkeley Off The Grid truck [10.19.11]
Chez Panisse chef opens butcher shop in Berkeley [08.26.11]
Chez Panisse chef to open artisan butcher shop [05.26.11]