Meat up

Butchers who take sustainable seriously are showing up all across the city – and they're not all pricey


Cattlemen’s Meat Market

1538 Queen W, at Fuller, 416-537-8454.

This Parkdale treasure hasn’t changed a bit since it opened more than 75 years ago. Why, one almost expects to find sawdust on the floor. Instead, discover modestly priced steaks, house-smoked sausages, marrow shanks and dog bones.

Close to the Bone

929 Kingston Rd, at Silver Birch, 416-699-2663, closetothebone.ca.

The large selection of locally farmed, certified organic and naturally raised meats coupled with personable and informed service, make regulars refer to this upper Beach meat shop as Cumbrae junior. Not to be missed: gluten-free Italian-style sausages.

Cumbrae’s

481 Church, at Maitland, 416-923-5600 1636 Bayview, at Manor, 416-485-5620, cumbraes.com.

Not only does the Rolls Royce of Toronto butcher shops grow most of its own meat, but it custom-cuts, dry-ages and smokes it in house as well. New and seasonal: venison, Cornish hen and lots of turkey ready-to-serve lamb meatloaf with cashews and mint.

Friendly Butcher

207 Danforth, at Bowden, 416-320-8790 3269 Yonge, at Roslin, 416-544-1729, thefriendlybutcher.com.

Aged premium beef, free-range poultry and other never-frozen meat, all grown in Ontario, much of it within 100 miles of the Danforth. Bonus: barbecue-ready curried goat and butter chicken burgers.

Gasparro’s

857 Bloor W, at Roxton, 416-534-7122, mybutcher.ca.

Bloordale indie institution known for its Mennonite free-range chickens and eggs, house-made sausage and prepared frozen entrees like hormone- and antibiotic-free pot pies, tourtière and beef bourguignon.

Healthy Butcher

565 Queen W, at Denison 298 Eglinton W, at Avenue Rd, 416-674-2642, thehealthybutcher.com, @healthybutcher.

Among the first of the new breed of butchers who respect the provenance of their product, Tara Longo and Mario Fiorucci have made their retro storefront an urban oasis for those looking to reconnect with the land. Most everything’s organic – whether certified or not – and priced closer to a supermarket than a boutique.

Kensington Poultry

578 Dundas W, at Kensington, 416-977-1001.

Since this family-run shop on the edge of Chinatown caters mostly to the restaurant industry, there are rarely more than two people in the place. Whole house-processed birds and sundry parts are the draw, friendly service the gravy. Bargain: a bag of chicken carcasses perfect for making soup or stock goes for a buck.

Nosso Talho

1042 Bloor W, at Rusholme, 416-531-7462 1326 Dundas W, at Rusholme, 416-533-0101, nossotalho.com, @OurButcherShop.

Portuguese grocer on the newly hip Bloordale strip known for its cheap pork and even cheaper $5.99 takeout rotisserie chickens (Bloor only).

Olliffe

1378 Queen E, at Greenwood, 416-778-6328 1097A Yonge, at Summerhill, 416-928-0296, olliffe.ca, @OlliffeButcher

One of the notorious five thieves of Summerhill, this recent Leslieville addition sees itself as the “purveyor of the finest meats,” supplying the upper crust with grass-pastured PEI beef, whey-fed Hampshire pork and plump Mennonite chickens. Elk, squab and kangaroo, too.

Sanagan’s Meat Locker

176 Baldwin, at Kensington, 416-593-9747, sanagansmeatlocker.com, @sanagans.

Supplier to some of the most forward-thinking kitchens in town, ex-Mistura chef Peter Sanagan’s Kensington Market specialty shop is a carnivore’s wet dream. Where else will you find thick Perth County pork chops next to Forsyth Farm’s racks of lamb and house-made wild boar ‘n’ pistachio sausages?

White House Meats

St Lawrence Market, 93 Front E, at Jarvis, 416-366-4465 1523 Bayview, at Millwood, 416-488-2004, whitehousemeats.ca.

Sure, Leila Batten’s much-loved meatery stocks more cuts than most – whole rabbits, quail and geese – but what really gets foodies salivating is her wide range of sliders. Care for a camel, kangaroo or ostrich burger?

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