MINNEAPOLIS — At Lowry Hill Meats in Minneapolis, butcher Gabe Carlson says things have finally returned to what he would consider normal, after two years of changes during the pandemic.
"When we started it was only curbside pick-up, only text and call-in orders," Carlson said. "That was a little stressful because we had one person working the phone and the rest of us were kind of running around. It definitely has evolved."
Now, doors are back open, and the butchers and bakers behind the counter are able to one again chat with customers about the different ways they can prepare meals. What makes Lowry Hill Meats unique is that it is a whole animal butcher shop that sources directly from local farmers -- two things that allow the business to be both sustainable and cost-effective for customers.
"There was a big shortage of wings within the past year and we didn’t really get hit by that because we’re only sourcing from local farms," Carlson said. "Industry prices went up, wages went up, but we were able to stay kind of in the middle ground and set our prices so it’s not too expensive but to stay open."
Passing savings along to customers is more important now than ever, amid record-breaking inflation caused by supply chain disruption.
Carlson encourages customers who may have never purchased a whole animal to rethink how they cook and eat.
"With a whole chicken you can pretty much get three dinners. You can make stock with the carcass, and grill the breasts one night, you can make soup with the stock, make some tacos with the legs, there’s ways to use everything for sure," he said.
With an emphasis on educating the customer, Lowry Hill Meats offers classes, including how to butcher a half hog and whole carcass of beef.
"I like to really get [a customer] hyped about cooking something different," Carlson said. "We are all cooks here – like our background is in cooking, so when somebody asks us how to cook something, we actually know how to walk them through what we would do to cook it at home."
They also offer a subscription-based "meat club" option.