Lowry Hill Meats opens next weekend: A sneak peek

Not your Costco meat tray.

Not your Costco meat tray.

Restaurants and food establishments operate on a different plane of time than you or I do. If you were to look at an incomplete eating establishment construction zone, you might say to yourself: Well, this will be finished and ready to go in six months. And instead, the reality would be this: It'll be ready to go in six days. 

And that is because restaurants and food establishments operate on a different set of details than you or I do. Where you might have 10 things to complete in eight hours, the restaurant has eleventy-ten. So, they're used to it, they're fine with it, and that's the way it goes. 

And that is why, though they open in eight or nine short days, Lowry Hill Meats still looks like a construction zone, but rest assured they will be open for business next weekend, on or around Nov. 13, even if they are still putting the final shine on the walk-in cooler windows or greasing up the bandsaw one last time, as first foot steps over threshold. 

It's almost difficult to believe, that in today's culture of wanting to know where our food comes from, the excellent Clancey's is still our city's only freestanding sustainable and locally-sourced butcher shop. And while they do a wonderful job of providing the very finest in meats, sandwiches, cheeses, artisanal products, and fishes, our town needs more than one of these wonderful resources. 

So enter Lowry Hill Meats, the sort of place that's like Clancey's but different, the sort of butcher shop that feels like it is going to stand the test of time, so that proprietor and butcher Erik Sather may one day be able to pass it down to his 2-year old son Haaken, and Haaken to his daughters or sons, and so on like this, forever and ever. 

Sather is a longtime local culinary powerhouse: Clancey's and Seward coop butcher and accomplished chef most recently chef de cuisine of Bar La Grassa, La Belle Vie alum and former Solera chef, and he is partnering with Wisconsin based Underground Butcher to bring us this much-anticipated LHM. 

It may look like a construction zone to you, but Lowry Hill Meats is only a week shy of opening.

It may look like a construction zone to you, but Lowry Hill Meats is only a week shy of opening.

Five more things you need to know: 

1. Their most important ideal: transparency.

They want you to know where your meat is coming from, how it is treated, how they are cutting it, and why. So serious are they about all of the above, that the cutting spaces are completely open for your viewing pleasure, as well as the walk-in cooler, where the meat is stored. "The most important aspect is how open everything is," says Sather, as he shows me the space, slowly but surely coming together. And it is. It's as open as any open kitchen I've ever seen. 

2. It's a butchershop you can hang out in.

There will be seating in the front, an espresso machine, lots of tasty beverages, and next year they'll apply for their beer and wine license. "So, if you need me to cut you an eight pound brisket, maybe I can slice you some salami and you can sit down and eat it with an Americano." Maybe, indeed. 

3. Menu sneak peeks:

So of course they're going to have a ton of highest-quality meat products, from many farms you may not see at Clancey's, as Sather says he is working in conjunction with Kristin Tombers at Clancey's to ensure that they can sort of collaborate to bring as many great farms to the Twin Cities as possible. So in other words, not too much overlap. Sather says he likes Pork & Plants, Blooming Prairie, Amish farmer Harvey Gingrich for his Berkshire Hogs, chickens and ducks, and O'neill farm for their lamb.

But! They're also going to have some exciting specialty items like a midweek quarter-pounder (beat that for Wednesday doldrums), at least one hot sandwich (in addition to their regular French-style sandwich rotation made up of great bread from Rustica, great meat, great butter and great cheese), and the'll even bake some of their bread in house like the Foccacia. 

4. Vegetarians are not only welcomed, they are embraced. 

Tiffany Sather is Erik's bride and LHM front-of-house manager, and she says "Hopefully nobody will ever feel uncomfortable here." They will always have a vegetarian sandwich as well as lots of pastas, oils, best-quality dairy products other attractive items for meat-eschewers. 

5. They're going to curate picnics for you to take to the lake! 

What's heading down to Lake of The Isles without something delicious stashed in your satchel? But now, no need to bother with that. Instead, get your sandwiches, your cheeses, your salamis, your fancy sodas and whatever other surprises the kitchen has in mind, bundled and thoughtfully managed by the good people of Lowry Hill. They'll also be offering some catering services, including meat and cheese trays and definitely not the ones you've been getting from Costco. 

And finally, what the Sathers wished for me to tell you more than anything else is that they want to bring you all of the things that they know, love, and feed to their own family on a regular basis. They know and love these things based on their many years in the culinary business (Tiffany is formerly FOH manager of Butcher and the Boar and has a lifetime of FOH experience under her belt) working for the very best places in town. And just look at that kid. Would you feed him anything less than the finest midwestern milks and honeys? No, you wouldn't. And in between, all natural rendered pork fats, full-fat butters, cream line milk, demi glaces and blonde and brown chicken stocks.

Which is how you grow, big and strong like a handsome, wholesome Nordic butcher. 

Lowry Hill Meats 

Opens the weekend of November 13th 

1934 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.