When shoppers drop in at Rare Cuts (801 Nashville Ave., 504-267-4687; www.rarecuts.com), an 11-month-old French bulldog named Lamb Chop happily hams it up. The pint-sized bulldog is a jaunty store greeter three days a week, perking up her bat-like ears and curiously sniffing new customers. Lamb Chop's calm nature and sweet disposition make her one of a kind, according to owner Michaela Reid. "She's a once-in-a-blue moon type of dog," Reid says.
When she searched for a new furry family member, Reid learned French bulldogs are known for providing great companionship. She heard a litter of Frenchie puppies was available in LaPlace, traveled to see the pups and immediately fell for Lamb Chop's sweet personality.
Lamb Chop spends her days sharing toys with customers in hopes they'll play with her. She adores playing fetch, as it often comes with the reward of veal bones — an appropriate perk for Rare Cuts' ongoing employee of the month and Twitter star.
Opened in August 2010, Rare Cuts specializes in expertly prepared fine meats. The store's selection includes steaks, veal chops, racks of lamb, pork roasts and specialty sausages, along with finishing salts and marinades.
"We wanted to provide a steak that tastes as if it belongs in a five-star restaurant," Reid says. But she also wanted customers to have the option to "eat in their pajamas and crack open a bottle of wine."
For people who desire a night out, the shop also offers nightly dinners in its private dining room, which accommodates up to 20 guests. Customers are welcome to question chef Billy LaCrosse in the kitchen and watch as their meals are prepared.
The shop is known for its focus on the importance of aging beef.
"[Our aging process] makes fantastic meat even better," Reid says. The store ages all cuts of beef for at least 20 days. However, the beef can also go through a wet-aged process for at least 28 days or a dry-aged process, which takes 45 days.
Rare Cuts emphasizes the simplicity of its products, and notes that the quality stems not from what's added to the meat but from what isn't. The meat is free of additives, antibiotics, hormones and pesticides. Sourcing from animals fed a vegetarian diet ensures a better tasting meat, says Reid. "There's no mystery going on," she says. "If you're looking for an all-beef hot dog, you can have an all-beef hot dog without the fillers."
Partnering with hand-picked suppliers from across the country, Rare Cuts sources its meat from ranches and farms that practice humane handling procedures.
Customers normally seek out Rare Cuts for its quality meats, but Lamb Chop also has proved good for business. After Reid posted pictures of her pup online, customers came in to see Lamb Chop and left with quality steaks.
My Favorite Things ...
• Meeting new people
• Playing fetch
• Veal bones
• Sharing my toys with customers