9 great Bay Area butcher shops from Santa Cruz to Berkeley and beyond

These days, many of us are moving more toward plant-based and planet-focused eating, with Meatless Mondays expanding to multiple days of the week. So, when we do indulge our inner carnivore, however frequent or infrequent that may be, we are very picky indeed. We want the most delicious and humanely, sustainably raised meat we can get our hands on.

Lucky for us, the Bay Area offers a plethora of artisanal and whole-animal butcher shops to match any meat mood, whether you need a $50 dry-aged steak for your Valentine or paper thin rib-eye for making bulgogi.

From Santa Cruz to Los Altos to Berkeley, these butcher shops go beyond the typical meat counter to offer custom cuts, cooking suggestions and even animal shares, which allow you to purchase a part of a cow or pig and enjoy all of the cuts at an economical price while supporting regional farmers.

Marin Sun Farms is located inside Market Hall in Oakland. (Courtesy Market Hall) 
Marin Sun Farms, Oakland

A leader in nose-to-tail butchery, this famed shop inside Oakland’s Rockridge Market Hall  is stocked with local grass-fed, pasture-raised and organic meats. Purchase a whole, half or quarter animal — cow, pig, goat or lamb — and have it cut to your specifications as steaks, roasts, ground meat and even bones in vacuum-sealed packages. Nothing goes to waste. Tallow production makes things like soap, fertilizers and biofuels.

Co-owners Dave Evans and Claire Herminjard operate the last USDA-inspected slaugherhouse in the Bay Area, a certified organic and animal welfare-approved operation near Petaluma that works with California farming families who adhere to their strict standards.

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Details: Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave., Oakland; www.marinsunfarms.com

Master Butcher offers a full array of goat meat, from chops to shanks to organ meats. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 
Master Butcher, Sunnyvale

Tucked into a corner of the Cala Center on El Camino Real is butcher Usman Ali’s shop, one that serves the South Bay’s sizeable communities of Indo-Americans and other customers who eat halal.

Master Butcher hasn’t been open for long — it opened during the pandemic — but it’s attracted an appreciative base of customers looking for cuts of meat and varieties of fish that aren’t carried by generic groceries. If you cook from scratch, you’ll find fresh cuts of goat, lamb and chicken in one display case. Want to get dinner on the table more quickly? Another case features chicken pieces already marinated in tandoori, herbal yarahali or lohari curry sauces.

Not a whiz in the kitchen? No worries — because Ali and his crew are. Select two of the four daily specials — maybe a chicken thigh curry redolent of red and green bell peppers or a fall-off-the-bone goat curry — for the $10.99 lunch plate that comes with naan and rice. You can also order family-size quantities of curries, tandoori, seekh kebabs and more for takeout.

Details: Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 1111 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale; https://masterbutcher.us.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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