Would you like to stop by the butcher and pick out a fresh cut of meat for dinner on the way home? Sure you can do that now at , and Big Y, but soon you will be able to try meat from a place that specializes in the art of butchering.
Set to open its doors tentatively in February in the plaza at 103 N. Main St., The Meat House will offer fresh meat, prepared sides, hot and cold lunch/dinner items including Boar's Head deli sandwiches, fresh produce and a variety of breads. The business will go where the was proposed to be in the end retail space of the plaza.
The Meat House, a franchise meat market, comes to Branford from New Hampshire-based lifelong friends Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent who founded the company in 2003. After many years in the restaurant industry, the duo set out to revive the neighborhood butcher shop and have done so in a big way – they have shops in 10 states from the east to west coasts and currently have one place open here in Connecticut in Avon.
The Meat House Director of Marketing Kelley-Jaye Rosberg, said that several partners who formerly ran the now closed Meat House in Newtown, Conn., closed that shop in favor of opening the Branford location. One franchisee, John Demilo who will be the store’s general manager is from Branford. Citing the ties to the town, Rosberg noted, "One of our corporate goals is to be part of a community."
East Haven resident and lawyer by day, Al Carocci will also be a franchisee who said he found his way into the Meat House because he loved the concept.
Originally hired in a legal capacity by Demilo and two other partners who live out of state, Carocci said he was drawn to the business and wanted to become part of the group.
“We’re extremely excited. We think the location is fantastic for a butcher shop next to Costal Wine & Spirits,” he said.
Making the move from Newtown was a logistical decision for the group said Carocci who noted that the two other partners who lived in Newtown were transferred out of state for other jobs. Having no ties to Newtown made it difficult for Carocci and Demilo to run the shop, he said. When the Branford location became available, Carocci said the group jumped on it.
The leasing company for the property is the Proto Group and the landlord is A&A Associates. A&A did not return calls for comment on the new business.
Assistant Shaun Heffernan stated that building plans have been submitted for the approximate 3,500-square-foot space that will become The Meat House. The plans, which were submitted Nov. 28, are in the approval process, said Heffernan.
Carocci noted that of the 29 Meat House locations nationwide, Branford’s shop will be the largest.
The proposed building plans from Cornerstone Design Build Services of Massachusetts shows the new space to have a retail area upon entering the market with two cashiers near the front. There are plans for a dessert display, an olive bar, a cheese display, a salad bar and several deli cases including one just for fish.
"It's a really different experience than a grocery store," said Rosberg. "It's like an old-school butcher where you can get everything you need to make a meal."
Rosberg noted that all Meat House locations strive to offer local products and the Branford business is on target to have 50 percent of its offerings local products. Some of those local products, though the inventory is not complete yet, will include milk, honey, jam, jelly and bakery items. To be considered local, products must come from a 100-mile radius said Rosberg.
Carocci noted that Branford’s own Bill DiLegge of will be selling pasta sauce and olive oil at the shop as well East haven-based Foxen Park who will sell soda.
Both Carocci and Rosberg are encouraging Branford residents to let them know what local products they would like to see at The Meat House. You can comment on this story, on the Meat House Facebook page or contact the company directly at Info@TheMeatHouse.com.
Comparing prices to a traditional grocery story would be difficult said Roseberg. She noted that the high-quality items served make it hard to draw a price-point comparison.
“If you want a comparable product,” said Carocci, “you can’t compare it to anywhere around here.”
Patrons are encouraged to take advantage of the Meat House’s customer service, which according to Carocci features uninterrupted time with a butcher if you have questions. “There’s going to be at lease two butcher’s waiting to serve you,” he said. “You’re not going to have wait behind this tiny window for someone to pop out so you can ask them about this pre-packaged meat.”
Right now The Meat House is looking for managers and assistant managers. You can learn more about the job openings on Craigslist where they were posted last Friday.