I just love the dynamics of moving into a new neighborhood and discovering the special attributes that make your home the best. Whether it is special people that you will meet, cozy restaurants you will find, or nature trails that you will explore, feeling at home in your neighborhood extends beyond your walls and is an integral part of residential living. When my husband and I purchased our first home in Sarasota, we discovered a local dive where the wings were out-of-this-world great, and an organic veggie stand where that day’s pick could be purchased at a fresh farmer’s market literally in our backyard.
Our other favorite find was a then small fresh meat market who made a mean chicken salad and whose prime rib would end up making an appearance at our wedding many years down the road. The Butcher’s Block in Sarasota was on our weekly “to-do” list for many years and always included their neatly trimmed, thick-cut sirloins, fresh chicken breasts, their homemade beef jerky and beef sticks, and a concoction in their deli case called “house salad,” which, in all these years, I’ve never had anything so fresh and tasty.
For thousands of Sarasotaians and folks around the Suncoast, The Butcher’s Block is their go-to store for fresh-market shopping. They’ve been able to deliver excellent customers service and superior product, while remaining relevant in a sea of similar establishments. With the number of fresh food stores in Sarasota, you must be on your game to survive intensive competition. The Butcher’s Block, located on 17th Street has been serving customers since 1967 and has been owned by the McGowan family the entire time. The McGowans have seen five generations of children grow up in the business learning everything from meat carving to wine curation. Stan McGowan established The Butcher’s Block and is semi-retired. His son, Scott, is the current owner who works alongside his sister, Lorie, who manages the grocery and cheese line.
Today’s Butcher’s Block is a bustling neighborhood market that has grown to become a regional source for specialty and hard-to-find wines. An expansive line of USDA prime meats has you covered for everything from your Sunday supper to an extravagant affair. In addition to multiple cuts of beef, poultry, pork, sausage, and veal, wild game is also available. They will “dry-age” any cut of meat you purchase without additional costs. Their selection of homemade sliced meats and cheeses is plentiful and the freshly prepared salads — they are to die for! A line of prepared meals turns your mundane dinners into gourmet go-to’s. A meal can be made form their giant stuffed potatoes alone and the choices go on from there including ribs, chicken and dumplings, stews, soups, wings and new additions they try out from time to time. Breads and every type of cheese imaginable along with a small selection of locally-grown produce round out a well-stocked grocery area.
As we shop this time of year, it is important to patronize the mom-and-pop type places that anchor our communities and give us a sense of “home” every time we pass them. Though I live too far from The Butcher’s Block to stop in weekly like I used to, I do swing in there for their beef sticks and chicken salad whenever I’m up that way. And, I’ll never forget their friendly smiles and quality products and the way they gave us a homemade pie the day we announced we were having our first child. People and places like that are a gem in a world of giant retailers and box stores. Do you have a “Butcher’s Block” in your life, a small business near and dear to your home and heart? We’d love to hear your stories of favorite restaurants, boutiques or other businesses in your own neighborhoods that make living there special. Photos courtesy of the Butcher’s Block. For more information on the Butcher’s Block, please visit https://www.butchersblocksarasota.com/home.html
photos from Butcher Block website