Local butcher shops are making a comeback in Northern Virginia, as consumers are seeking out higher quality, fresher cuts of meat. And it isn’t just about beef, pork, and poultry anymore. Local butchers are branching out to include fresh seafood, wild game, and specialty items making the trip to the butcher a one-stop-shop. Not to mention, butchers can often offer cuts not available in the supermarket. These include cheaper cuts that could save you money or rare and unusual cuts for the adventurous cook. You’ll be able to purchase exactly how much meat you need to, whether that is just one sausage or by the pound, and butchers are there to answer questions that you have about the type, quality, and source of meat as well as offer suggestions for meat preparation and cooking. If you’re looking for a neighborhood butcher in Northern Virginia, these are three of my favorite.
Red Apron Butcher
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Fri – Sat: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sun: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location: Mosaic District – 8298 Glass Alley, Fairfax, VA 22031
Red Apron is more than just a high-quality butcher. From sustainable, locally raised meats, to mouthwatering sandwiches, specialty food products, and a fantastic beer and wine collection, Red Apron is a one stop shop that has it all. You’ll find a wide range of whole-animal beef, pork and poultry fresh cuts such as tenderloins, rib-eyes, and strip steaks, rare meats to include offal, and a nice selection of handmade charcuterie. Red Apron also offers a large selection of artisanal hot dogs and sausages perfect for the grill. It’s best to time your visit when you’re hungry so you can enjoy any one of Red Apron’s amazing sandwiches while you are there. I personally enjoy their Beef and Cheddar sandwich consisting of rare roast beef, ranch mayo and homemade atomic cheese whiz. Add a side of fries aged in beef fat and seasoned with a sprig of rosemary, clove of garlic, and salt and you’re in for a real treat. Oh and don’t forget about Red Apron’s soft serve. Their pistachio rose flavor is delicious! The staff at Red Apron is attentive and friendly, and its décor has a rustic feel almost like an industrial barn with a high ceiling, exposed wood walls and steel industrial tables. A small outdoor seating area is also available year round. Located in Merrifield’s newly-revitalized area, the Mosaic District, Red Apron has two additional locations in nearby downtown Washington DC.
The Organic Butcher of McLean
Hours: Mon – Fri: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sat: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Location: 6712 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, Virginia 22101
The Organic Butcher of McLean specializes in high-quality meat, poultry, and seafood with a focus on organic, sustainable, and local sources. Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable clearly demonstrating their decades of experience as a butcher, and pride themselves on their personalized service. Their space is very small but has a traditional European feel. One whiff of their barbeque and I couldn’t wait to get inside. No real bells or whistles to it, just what they are known for, an astonishing variety of high-quality meat and meat products. It is almost overwhelming how many different cuts they offer to include an impressive selection of wild game such as venison, boar, pheasant, quail, goose, rabbit, and duck, and fresh seafood that is flown in daily. The Organic Butcher also makes homemade sausage and sells dressings, marinades, and sauces that are sourced locally as well as wine, artisan cheeses, and local produce. If you’re from Central Virginia, the Organic Butcher also has a sister shop in Charlottesville.
Hours: Mon – Thu: 9:30 am – 7:00 pm, Fri: 9:30 am – 8:00 pm, Sat: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, Sun: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: 6310-B Springfield Plaza Springfield, Virginia 22150
The Springfield Butcher is a long-standing, simple butcher located in a neighborhood strip mall. Not only are their prices fair, but combine that with their periodic Groupon and you will definitely get your money’s worth. Considering how busy the Springfield Butcher is, service is well-organized and fast, and staff is always willing to answer questions or offer suggestions for meat cuts and preparation methods. Their assortment of fresh beef, pork, poultry and seafood does not disappoint, however they do not have the large selection of locally sourced, organic meat that you may find at more specialty butchers in the area. Aside from that, Springfield Butcher is spot on. They even offer oven ready meals for convenience and specialty packs if you’re looking to stock up.