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] 

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  • A Gourmet Ghetto Mom

    Love the Local Butcher!  They are a great addition to the neighborhood.

  • Andrew

    Just as I am trying to cut down in meat intake and this place shows up. I love it!

  • Jasper

    Andrew, cut your carbs, not your meat!

    http://robbwolf.com/faq/

  • Cleita

    Wow! An ad in the comments?

  • Jasper

    Nope! Just someone who is excited and wants to share. I love the Local Butcher, and I love meat!

  • Mara

    This place is so good!  I started off just getting the sandwhiches but last time I got the fennel sausages.  They were amazing!  Yum yum yum!!

  • Tom

    LBS rocks.

  • Heather W.

    I am a fan; it’s not inexpensive, but it’s operated the way a butchery should be – staffed with knowledgeable friendly people who genuinely enjoy their craft. The meat I’ve purchased — beef, pork, pork belly thus far have been superb when cooked properly. As a result of this shop, I have cut down on my meat intake — as I can only afford it a couple times a week, and am no longer willing to buy grocery store crap meat anymore. 

    This is a great place, so glad they’re here!