Craft Butchery has some very big news. This exclusively pastured, whole animal butchery is expanding their business, their product lines (including catering), and will soon open their doors for dinner service at the Westport location. Also, look out for a new Craft Butchery in Greenwich opening this summer.
CTbites sat down with Ryan Fibiger, owner of Craft Butchery to get the full scoop.
This rapid expansion, Ryan explained, “has actually been in the works for some time.” Craft knew they needed to grow to meet demand, but wanted to do so while maintaining their strict philosophy on sourcing and butchering. Fibiger said “We wanted to grow the business, but butchering is a labor intensive process that requires space and talent. It’s hard to replicate.” To speed things along, this old school, full-service, whole animal butchery made the wise decision to merge with Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Brooklyn (Ryan’s stomping ground where he learned his trade). As part of this merger, Craft is now the proud owner of Fleisher’s 6,500 square foot processing facility and commissary in Red Hook, enabling Craft to grow all areas of their current business, including Catering, to-go retail offerings, and most importantly, their ability to break down animals on a larger scale. They also have a new name: Fleisher's Craft Butchery.
In addition to this, Craft has taken the bull by the horns (pun intended) and is taking the business of butchering to the next level, by creating a co-op model whereby Craft has a closer relationship with the farm and the animal's rearing from start to finish. Ryan and his team have started investing heavily in the food system, including taking some of the risk and financial burden off of the farms by purchasing the livestock earlier in their life and taking on more of the costs of raising the animals to their specifications. "We're constantly trying to improve the quality of the food system to bring the highest quality products to market and make sure everyone in the system is paid a fair wage," says Fibiger. All of their beef, pork, lamb and poultry products will continue to come from animals that live stress-free lives and are never given antibiotics, hormones, steroids or animal by-products. However, “we are trying to develop scale to the high quality of meat we currently offer, allowing more people access.”
Westport customers have been enjoying their pasture raised meats alongside a beautifully crafted lunch and brunch menu but Craft is excited to announce that they will soon be serving DINNER as well.
Dinner will be served in Westport on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5-10 pm, and will include wine as well as craft beer, both primarily sourced from the tri-state area. Seating has been greatly expanded due to the addition of a covered patio allowing for 20-25 guests outside as well as the 28 seats inside the cafe area. “We have been staffing up for dinner service for some time now.”
“Dinner service will start up in late April with a menu that is casual, kid friendly, and meat forward” says Ryan.
Craft’s Executive Chef, Emily Mingrone had this to say about the new dinner menu:
Craft Kitchens new dinner, lunch and brunch menus will mirror our butcher shop values and techniques in culinary form. Sustainability, quality of ingredients, and seasonality are all going to be super important. We really want to showcase all the variety the shop has to offer and strive to incorporate the nose to tail philosophy.
There will be a strong focus on small plates to give diners the opportunity to try a variety of dishes with each visit. I like to play with comfort food by taking a familiar dish and turning it into something playful and unexpected, such as our stuffed ham hock with bacon, cornbread and dandelion greens, or the pastrami’ed scotch egg with braised red cabbage and mustard cream. Of course there will be plenty of options for the meat and potatoes crowd also, such as our dry-aged top sirloin with duck fat fingerlings, or an upgrade to our weekly special large format steak (ahem, tomahawk ribeye), which is sure to please and impress.
Our dinner menu is going to be a little different from our current lunch offering by transitioning into a full service format for Thursday – Saturday dinner service, as well as offering beer and wine. We want to focus on the process from which each product is made, similar to our craft. It should come as no surprise that our butcher's and chef's are also huge beer nerds. Guests can expect to see selections from many different locales, including New England Brewing Company, Six Point, and some wine selections from our friends at Red Hook Wineries.
In addition to these exciting changes, the large commissary in Red Hook will allow the newly named "Fleisher's Craft Butchery" to vastly expand their catering operation. In fact, Fibiger has hired a whole culinary team in Red Hook to handle the expanded catering menu. There will be large formet catering including killer brisket sandwiches, charcuterie, pig roasts and everything in between. Ryan says he will be putting some serious muscle behind their pig roasts this summer.
“Each location will feel like your local butcher shop with great customer service,” says Fibiger. “We want to make sure we maintain the feel of Westport Craft as we expand.” “We want to grow the right way.”
See you at dinner!