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Branford’s Got Beef… Butcher Shop Will Come to Town

The Meat Market will open its doors in the Costal Wine & Spirits plaza.

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. 

Online, their Bone-In Cowboy Steak (bone-in prime rib) runs for about $23.98, and 6 ounces of their Filet Mignon is $8.29.

“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.

Maggie December 14, 2011 at 01:16 PM
AWESOME!! I ran into the people from the Avon store at the 2010 CT Wine Festival in Goshen. They said they were coming to Branford, I was beginning to think the deal fell through! YAY!!
Andrew Kaplan December 14, 2011 at 02:52 PM
This is great news, I miss the old days of shopping at a local butcher and getting fresh cuts of meat.
Alaina December 14, 2011 at 03:03 PM
If The Meat Market wants to sell something really good for the local environment, and community, they should sell local meats, from within a 100-mile radius, and not just leave that designation for their specialty foods.
Nicole Ball December 14, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Alaina, They did say that local meat will be an option but until they finalize the inventory they can't say. If you have a suggestion of what you'd like to see sold at The Meat House, feel free to add a comment here. Is there a local farm you like for meat? Branford does not have a lot of farmers' markets so I don't know much about local meat and what's available. If you do, I am sure the community would love to hear! Thanks and have a nice day!
Alaina December 14, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Hi Nicole-- thanks for the thoughtful response. I'm a vegetarian, though I'm respectful of those who do choose to eat meat. I did a web search and found on a State of CT website a listing of all the farms in CT that sell meats, eggs, etc. There are a few listings for NH County. http://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?a=3260&q=412836 Purchasing meats locally makes sense to me on a number of levels, including the freedom of knowing that rainforests have not been cut down so that cows can be raised, less reliance on shipping meats long distances into the country, decent working conditions for farmers, much needed support of local farms keeping money circulating within the state, and perhaps the most important, hopefully better living and slaughter conditions for the animals themselves since production is on a smaller-scale. If The Meat Market were to carry locally raised meats, I would tell all my meat-eating friends (and yes, I do have many :D) to always shop there.
Nicole Ball December 14, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Alaina, Thank you so very much for taking the time to do that extra research and sharing your opinion about local products, especially meat. It's even cooler that you took the time to do this considering you don't even eat it! Bacon... that's just one meat I could never live without!
Alaina December 14, 2011 at 06:10 PM
My pleasure, Nicole! :) We all have many options with our food and ultimately, food is a choice. I always hope that meat eaters would be respectful of my choices as well, so it's important to show respect on both sides. I like making tempeh bacon, it's delicious!! :) One other major benefit of local all natural meats (especially organic meats) is that they do not contain harmful antibiotics, growth hormones and heavy metals. So not only is it really an environmental issue but it's also a health issue.
Nicole Ball December 14, 2011 at 06:31 PM
I think you are really on to something... it's amazing what we put into our bodies without really knowing what is in it... As a vegetarian, I think you can look forward to our food columnist Victoriaana's review of GZen this Saturday morning! Thanks again!
Sandra Canosa December 14, 2011 at 09:43 PM
I cannot WAIT to have a butcher in town again. I'll be there, probably weekly!!!
Alaina December 14, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Nicole-- I'm crazy about G-Zen! It's super yummy for non-vegetarians as well! My whole family loves it there and I'm the only veggie!!
Dr. Alfred C. Whitehead December 15, 2011 at 03:06 PM
As a frachised meat market... will the meats be freshly cut or precut and vacuumed sealed similar to Omaha Steaks?
Anthony Paecht December 16, 2011 at 02:43 PM
http://fourmileriverfarm.com/ Donovan's Reef gets some of their meat from them and I usually pick up their stuff at farmers markets. What I would like to see, and I give props to Alaina, is a totally local sustainability market. Maybe even a farmers market on the green if we can get enough people to start growing their own foods without chemicals. Local sustainability is where the future is heading and needs to be. Monsanto and the GMO age needs to be eradicated.
jeff December 17, 2011 at 02:43 PM
All I can say is"YEAH!" it's about time we got a butcher shop here in town.The meat at most of the above mentioned places is over priced,and not that good.I'm tired of driving to Stew Leonard's for meat.And I like the fact that there will be other choices at the butcher shop.Cant wait!!!
Nicole Ball March 06, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Just a note that it looks like the Meat House will be opening in early April. I stopped by the Mobil Gas station this morning and they have menues for the businesses if you're interested in planning your shopping list before opening day!
kim turner May 28, 2012 at 11:15 PM
was not happy to see veal there-

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