Travel around the south Louisiana countryside and you'll find a lot of snack-ready boudin and see a lot of small, family-run farms. Now, there's an outpost for both of them in Uptown.
The new butcher shop Cleaver & Co. (3917 Baronne St., (504) 227-3830; www.cleaverand.co) offers an inventory of meats procured from small farms and ranches around the region, a selection of charcuterie made just behind the counter and hot boudin ready to eat on the spot.
Cleaver & Co. is a locally grown, whole-animal butcher shop developed by recent Tulane MBA grads Simone Reggie and Seth Hamstead. Reggie, a Lafayette native, said she was inspired to start the business after joining the Eat Local Challenge, which asks participants to spend a month eating only foods produced close to home. Seafood and many vegetables were easy to find, but sourcing local meat was difficult.
At their shop, meat is cut to order at the counter, and it comes with a primer on its origins if customers are interested.
"We've been visiting the farms and ranches we use, so we'll be able to tell you exactly where the cow came from, how it was raised, who the farmers were," Reggie says. "We're able to do that for all of the animals."
That pitch seems to have struck a chord. Customers filled the shop on opening day as butchers cut ribs, bound roasts with string, wrapped up beef hearts and tongue or pork belly and trotters, and gave advice on cooking whole chickens. They also dished out boudin, mortadella, cotto salami and head cheese. The head butcher is Kris Doll, who was the salumi maker for Butcher and a Mano, and all of the butchers here come from a restaurant background.
"There are so many more options out there than what people are used to, and that can be a little intimidating for some people, like how do you cook this or that," Reggie says. "That's where having our guys coming from a culinary background is helpful. They're able to educate people about what they're buying and how to use it."
Lamb, goat and other meats may be available soon, and Cleaver & Co. is taking holiday orders for "heritage turkeys." The shop is open Wednesday through Monday.