Fatted Calf sources its meat locally. Kelly O'Mara
Fatted Calf sources its meat locally. (Kelly O'Mara)

Bay Area Bites Guide to 12 Great Butcher Shops

Bay Area Bites Guide to 12 Great Butcher Shops

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Whole animal butchery has gotten popular in recent years as part of our growing attention to what constitutes sustainable food systems. That has prompted a spate of new butcher shops, but running a butchery isn't easy -- as evidenced by the fact that the popular 4505 Meats had to close its butchery doors earlier this summer.

Yes, you can still buy 4505 wholesale sausages or sandwiches at the farmers' market. And yes, Belcampo did take over the butcher shop location. But that doesn't mean it's easy to ensure the kind of high-quality, locally-sourced, sustainable meat we all love at prices we can actually afford -- and that the shops can afford to sell it at.

It can all get a little confusing. Some places outsource to their favorite ranches. Others operate the farms themselves. Some focus on pasture-raised meat. Others want hormone-free products. If you're not sure what to eat for dinner, then start with some of our favorite butcher shops. If we missed your favorite, then share it in the comments below.

Since 1901, there's been a butcher shop at 235 Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights. For the last eight years that shop's been Avedano's Meats. It's owned by three women who were planning to open a restaurant, but instead wanted to bring fresh local meat directly to the community. The focus is on pasture-raised meat from small farms, and the shop has relationships with specific farmers for each of its animals -- for example, Avedano's pork comes from Llano Seco Rancho in Chico. They work with whole animals, which are delivered weekly, and they also make pastrami, pates, and sausages. (There are even some dog treats. After all, the whole animal has to get used somehow.) You can reserve special orders or buy a meat box. The shop has also started doing butcher's dinners in the private dining room next door.


Avedano's Meats
235 Cortland Avenue [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94110
Ph: (415) 285-6328
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; Sat 9am-8pm; Sun 11am-6pm
Facebook: Avedano's Holly Park Market
Twitter: @Avedanos
Instagram: Avedanos

Belcampo Meat Co. has burst onto the scene in the last few years with seven restaurants/butcheries in California -- and four are in the Bay Area. The whole enterprise started in 2012 with an idea for a top-to-bottom meat provider. All the animals served in Belcampo come from the company's own farm near Mt. Shasta, where the rabbits, quail, chickens, and cows live in humane conditions. The farm-to-fork traceability means that Belcampo also owns and operates its own slaughterhouse 15 minutes away from its farm and runs the butcher shops where the meat is hand-cut. At most locations, you can buy fresh cuts of meat in the front and lunch or dinner at the restaurant in the back. Because Belcampo uses so many non-traditional cuts and focuses on freshness, you might need to ask the butcher or the waiter about what's best and what's in stock.

Belcampo Meat Co.
2405 Larkspur Landing Circle, Building 4 [map]
Larkspur, CA 94939
Ph: (415) 488-5810
Hours: Butchery - Mon-Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 9am-6pm / Restaurant - Daily 11am-9pm, Closed 4pm-5pm
1909 Mission Street [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94103
Ph: (415) 914-0637
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; Sat-Sun 10am-7pm
1998 Polk Street [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94109
Ph:(415) 660-5573
Hours: Butchery - Daily 10am-8pm / Restaurant - Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm; Fri 11:30am-11pm; Sat 10:30am-11pm; Sun 10:30am-9pm, Closed Daily 3pm-5:30pm
855 El Camino Real, #161 [Map]
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Ph: (650) 561-3492
Hours: Butchery - Mon-Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 10am-6pm / Restaurant - Mon-Sat 11am-8pm; Sun 11am-7pm
Facebook: Bel Campo Meat Co.
Twitter: @BelcampoMeat
Instagram: Belcampo Meat Co

Though most people refer to it just as Boccalone, the full name is Boccalone Salumeria, which tells you exactly what you need to know about this little shop. A salumeria specializes in traditional salumi, or Italian pork cold cuts. And "tasty salted pig parts" are exactly what Boccalone is all about. Its small-batch, traditional cold-curing methods take longer but are extra tasty. Stop by for some salami, sausages, a sandwich, or their famous meat cones. You can also sign up for the salami of the month club and get all that deliciousness delivered.

Ferry Building Marketplace [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94111
Ph: (415) 433-6500
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30am-6pm; Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 11am-5pm (Boccalone also sells at farmers' markets in San Rafael and Oakland on the weekends)
Facebook: Boccalone
Twitter: @boccalone

It used to be called Fairmont Meats (back in 1889), then Drewes Meats, then Drewes Brothers, then Drewes Meats again. After owner Josh Epple died in a motorcycle accident last year, the small community butcher shop became E&J Fine Meats this year. The shop isn't super fancy or super expensive; it's a straight-forward neighborhood meat shop with all the standard cuts and some slightly more unique items as well. While they can sell out of some cuts, if you call ahead you can reserve special orders. And the butchers will make every effort to find whatever it is you need. Just remember that the shop is cash only, but you can use the ATM on site.

E&J Fine Meats (formerly Drewes Brothers)
1706 Church Street [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94131
Ph: (415) 821-0515
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat-Sun 9am-7pm

Fatted Calf is both a butcher and a charcuterie with spots in Napa and in San Francisco's Hayes Valley. The shops sell pasture-raised meats, salumi, sausages, and housemade pates. The butchers prepare roasts and smoked meats as well. And in San Francisco, you can get delicious sandwiches, salads, or even a picnic plate if you want to take your tasty goodies outside. Round out your picnic with local cheeses, breads, and wines. Take a butchery class at the Napa store or a enjoy Butcher's Happy Hour (Wednesdays in San Francisco or Thursdays in Napa), where you can snack while enjoying a first-hand butchery demonstration.

Fatted Calf
320 Fell Street [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94102
Ph: (415) 400-5614
Hours: Daily 10am-8pm
644 First Street (at the Oxbow Public Market) [Map]
Napa, CA 94559
Ph: (707) 256-3684
Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 10am-6pm
Facebook: Fatted Calf
Twitter: @FattedCalf

While Golden Gate Meat Company is primarily a wholesaler, with locations in San Francisco and Santa Rosa, it also operates a fairly well-stocked retail store in the Ferry Building. The meat is mostly organic, but the real draw is its massive variety. In the 40-foot display case you'll find beef, veal, pork, wild game, sausages, and smoked meats. If you're looking for something a little more exotic -- a tub of duck fat, wild board sausages, ground elk, or a special order of ostrich -- then this is the spot for you. Around the corner, Golden Gate also operates a lunch bar for hot food. Try the pastrami sandwich or the beef pot pie.

Golden Gate Meat Co.
Ferry Building Marketplace [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94111
Ph: (415) 983-7800
Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am-7pm; Sat 7am-5:30pm; Sun 11am-5pm
Wholesale: 550 7th Street [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94103
Ph: (415) 861-3800
Facebook: Golden Gate Meat Company
Twitter: @GGMCFB

Guerra's Quality Meats has been operating on Taraval Street since 1954 and is now run by the sons of the original butchers. It also features a deli, a fairly wide selection of grocery items, and a catering service. You can even place an order online in the afternoon and pick it up for dinner that night. All the meat is ground on site and prepared items like stocks, slaws and salads are made daily. The shop also does old-fashioned artery brining. The rotisserie chicken is a particularly popular option. While it can get crowded and busy, the staff keeps the lines moving and is happy to answer questions.

Guerra Quality Meats
490 Taraval Street [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94116
Ph: (415) 564-0585
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-7pm; Sat-Sun 9am-6pm
Facebook: Guerra Quality Meats

The Local Butcher Shop is exactly that: a local butcher shop in North Berkeley that just celebrated its four-year anniversary. The shop was open by Monica and Aaron Rocchino to focus on sustainably raised meats all bought directly from farms within 150 miles of the shop. (You can even read about the farmers on the butchery's website.) Aaron previously worked at the nearby Chez Panisse and at Rockridge's Oliveto, where he became a whole animal butchery aficionado. The Local Butcher Shop sources pasture-raised, hormone-free whole animals which allows the shop's butchers to cut creative pieces of premium meat. They also make pates, sausages, stocks, and dog food; you'll also want to try the sandwich of the day. All the butchers are trained chefs as well and can answer questions. It might make you might feel inspired to try your own hand at butchery. Take one of the shop's classes to get started.

The Local Butcher Shop
1600 Shattuck Ave., Suite 120 (entrance on Cedar Street) [Map]
Berkeley, CA 94709
Ph: (510) 845-6328
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm; Sat-Sun 10am-6pm
Facebook: The Local Butcher Shop
Twitter: @LocalButchers
Instagram: The Local Butcher Shop

Yes, Marin Sun Farms has a butcher shop and sandwich place in Rockridge's Market Hall, but to get the full experience you really should travel to the farm's flagship location just outside downtown Point Reyes Station. That shop serves up its local, sustainable, grass-fed meat, along with cooked-to-order burgers and sandwiches, at its restaurant. While the farm does have a wholesale business, you can also get the high-quality meat delivered fresh to you through their CSA. Or just buy a share of a whole animal and it'll be cut specifically for you. In 2014, Marin Sun Farms also bought the beleaguered Petaluma slaughterhouse and took over the meat processing to help ensure the integrity of its meats as they travel from farm to fork.

Marin Sun Farms
10905 Shoreline Highway [Map]
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
Ph: (415) 663-1800
Hours: Butchery - Mon, Thu 11am-5pm; Fri-Sun 11am-7pm; Tue-Wed Closed / Restaurant - Mon, Thu 11:30am-5pm; Fri-Sun 11:30am-7pm; Tue-Wed Closed
5655 College Avenue (inside Rockridge Market Hall) [Map]
Oakland, CA 94618
Ph: (510) 601-8997
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-8pm; Sat 9am-7pm; Sun 10am-6pm
Facebook: Marin Sun Farms
Twitter: @MarinSunFarms
Instagram: MarinSunFarms
Pinterest: Marin Sun Farms

Olivier, for whom Olivier's Butchery is named, grew up in France with a family of butchers. After moving to San Francisco, he wanted to bring that French tradition of local butchers across the ocean. Olivier's has been open since 2011 in an unassuming street in the Dogpatch neighborhood that's right by the water. Olivier still hand-picks all the animals to be served up in his shop and visits each of the ranches he works with every week. Because French traditional cuts (and old-fashioned hand tools) are part of Olivier's staple, there are often some uniquely European specialties available in the wide open fridges. While much of the meat that comes through is beef, Olivier's also makes unique spiced sausages and serves up pork, lamb, and even veal at times. Order ahead for the super-aged beef, which is aged for 100, 165 or even over 200 days -- and sells out well in advance.

Olivier's Butchery
1074 Illinois Street [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94107
Ph: (415) 558-9887
Hours: Tue-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 10am-5pm
Facebook: Olivier's Butchery
Twitter: @frenchbutchery
Instagram: FrenchButchery

Prather Ranch is exactly what it sounds like: a ranch. Located up near Mt. Shasta, they started selling meat directly to consumers at farmers' markets way back in 1997. In 2002, the Prather Ranch Meat Company was founded to sell high-quality meat in a more organized fashion. Today the retail shop in the Ferry Building has cuts from its namesake ranch, as well a few other partner ranches that meet the company's high standard -- like Anderson Ranches for all the company's lamb. Prather Ranch Meat Co. still continues to sell at farmers' markets -- check the schedule -- and directly to a number of restaurants. A popular addition to its retail location, the American Eatery lunch counter always has a long line for fresh sausages, steak sandwiches, and hamburgers. If you don't want to wait, join the meat club for a standing monthly order to be delivered to your house.

Prather Ranch Meat Company
Ferry Building Marketplace [Map]
San Francisco, CA 94111
(Prather Ranch also sells at a range of farmers markets; check the schedule)
Ph: (415) 391-0420
Hours: Butchery - Mon-Fri 10am-7pm; Sat 8am-6pm; Sun 10am-5pm / American Eatery Restaurant - Mon-Fri 7:30am-3pm; Sat 8am-4pm; Sun 9am-5pm
Facebook: Prather Ranch Meat Company
Twitter: @PRMeatCo

A long-standing community staple, Ver Brugge Foods has been serving up meat cuts, prepared hot foods, and even fish for over 30 years. While the shop has expanded its selection of local and sustainably raised meat, it focuses on making high-quality and fresh meat available at inexpensive prices. Along with all the standard cuts, the shop also has some more exotic animals, like elk -- especially if you call ahead to place a special order. You can also buy bones or stock. Or get some cheese to go with your meat. Put your name in the raffle jar for a chance to win $25 each month.


Ver Brugge Foods
6321 College Avenue [Map]
Oakland, CA 94618
Ph: (510) 658-6854
Hours: Daily 9am-6pm
Facebook: Ver Brugge Foods