Who's YOUR Butcher? Meet Michiana's Meat Specialists
Many folks wonder if—in the words of chef Andrew Jones, page 33, this issue-the “elusive, old-timey butcher shop still exists.” Our answer? And how! Here are just some of the meat experts that make Michiana one of the best places to find your own neighborhood butcher.
Yoder’s Meat & Cheese Co.
There are more than 100 cuts of meat to choose from at Yoder’s. Each is sliced to perfection by the shop’s master butchers.
The three-generation family-owned business raises its own cattle on two farms. Dustin Yoder, son of the current owner, Robert Yoder, explains, “I like dealing with cattle. It’s a good industry to be in when you’re providing people with quality meat.”
The Yoder family raises their cattle in small herds on pasture. The animals are grain fed by hand with feed that is free of animal byproducts, hormones, steroids and other chemical additives. (Grass-fed beef is also available seasonally.)
Yoder’s Meat & Cheese also offers meat from other area farms, including chicken, bison, pork and lamb, as well as meat rubs and spices, cheeses, preserves, handmade noodles and other pantry items.
435 S. Van Buren St. (SR5), Shipshewana, IN
260.768.4715 | YodersMeatAndCheese.com
Jaworski’s has provided the Michiana area with locally raised pork, beef, chicken and more since 1997, when owner Chris Jaworski purchased the business from Maciejewski Locker Plant, which had been in operation in the area since the 1930s.
“I chose to purchase the business because of the loyal following Meciejewski’s already had,” Jaworski says. “They did an Old World style of Polish sausage that was very popular, and we didn’t want to change that. Everyone seems to love it.”
Other popular favorites are Jaworski’s smoked meats and jerkies from their three smokehouses.
Jaworski’s also offer deer processing, hog roasts and catering, as well as hot carryout items and barbecue on weekends.
58413 Crumstown Hwy., South Bend, IN
877.403.7315 | JaworskisMarket.com
Mishler Packing Company
Mishler Packing Company in LaGrange, Indiana, has been producing quality meat products for almost 70 years.
Current owner Michael Monson worked as a butcher for one of the original owners, Paul Mishler. When Mishler retired, Monson took over. Monson has been butchering for 26 years.
“I take pride in doing it right,” Monson says. “When we’re cutting beef, we treat it as if it were for us.”
The most popular item at the shop is the pork patties—they are so popular they are often bought in bulk to sell at county fairs and fund-raising events.
Mishler Packing offers both locally purchased meats and meats purchased from large distributors. However, Monson assures, they never skimp on quality. Mishler’s products are “healthy, good and wholesome.”
5680 W. 100 N, LaGrange, IN
Martin’s Custom Butchering & Meats
A small herd of cattle peek around the corner of a building at Martin’s Custom Butchering & Meats. Inside, Shane Oberholzer and his two sons carry on the family business started in 1967 by his grandfather.
“Grandpa started out and he just slaughtered one hog a week and peddled it in town,” says Shane. “We grow our own beef now. We raise Black angus cattle that we buy off a ranch in georgia and feed ’em out. Then we process them.” They are raised without antibiotics or hormones, and their beef is all dry aged between one and two weeks.
They sell their beef as halves or quarters, and on Friday and Saturday fresh cuts are available in the meat case. They also sell their own cured meats, such as hams, bacon and dried beef. also available are liver, brains, tongue and pon haus—also known as scrapple. Their pork is raised on a local farm, and they also carry chicken, lamb and goat meat.
Many customers travel from as far away as Indianapolis, lower Michigan and even Chicago.
“We’re unique because we can work with a lot of different ethnic groups,” who usually prefer to buy their meat fresh. “There’s little peculiarities in different ethnic groups and what they want. We’re able to provide that because of the full slaughter, processing and retail establishment that we have.”
27580 County Rd. 42, Wakarusa, IN
Martin’s Custom Butchering also operates Bales Butcher Shop in Syracuse, Indiana.
Mattern’s Butcher Shop & Corner Deli
Bill Mattern started his afternoon with brisket. The sandwich, served on a homemade baguette, is a new Thursday feature that Bill and his son, Dustin, have unveiled at Mattern’s Butcher Shop & Corner Deli in Goshen, Indiana. As co-owners since 2009, both have learned the power of beef.
“We sell 200–300 pounds of beef on sale Tuesdays,” says Bill. “My dad always said, ‘if you can’t make good ground beef, they won’t buy your steak.’ It’s a staple. people come back and just rave.”
It’s a lesson passed down through generations. Bill’s father, Richard Mattern, started Super Steer Meat Co. in 1956. The family owned that business until 2009; Dustin and Bill also opened a meat counter at American Countryside Farmers Market in Elkhart, Indiana, but in 2008 they wanted a change.
“We wanted something that was more of a six-day-a-week business instead of three days a week,” says Dustin. When Mattern’s opened its doors five years ago, father and son got what they wished for. The butcher shop, located in Downtown Goshen, is packed with customers every day of the week. On an average First Friday in summer, the store will serve 600 people.
From local chicken and pork to beef raised on small farms, all products are high-end, says Bill, and prices can reflect that.
The most popular item is their Old World sausage brats, in flavors like beer, apple or cheesy potato.
“When we first opened, we weren’t selling many brats, but people finally caught on,” says Dustin. “Now, if the case doesn’t have them we’re in trouble.”
Mattern’s also offers a full-service lunch counter, with 20 signature sandwiches, as well as salads and specialty products.
As Mattern’s has grown in popularity, both Bill and Dustin believe in giving back. They support 4-H livestock auctions, Salvation Army and the Northern Indiana Food Bank.
“We do as much as we can,” says Dustin. “As our business grows, our giving grows.”
And it’s the customers, Bill says, that drive their decisions.
“To have people come up to you and say ‘That was the best meal I ever had’— that makes you feel good.”
201 S. Main St., Goshen, IN
574.971.8906 | MatternsMeatsAndDeli.com
Charlie’s Butcher Block
Kevin and Robin Crouch bought Charlie’s Butcher Block from Monica and Charlie Hull in 2010 to fulfill a dream of running a local butcher/deli shop in Elkhart, Indiana.
“Kevin was in construction before,” says Robin. “Whenever we would go to big cities and visit little shops like Charlie’s, Kevin would talk about how he wanted to open a place like that in Elkhart.”
Custom sausages make charlie’s stand out from the competitors. Best sellers include jalapeño, bell pepper and onion, and giardiniera. One couple in the area orders up to 100 pounds at a time of custom beef sausage.
“Everything is hand-cut and handmade by us, and most of the items are made fresh in the kitchen every morning,” says Kevin.
Kevin greets customers by name as they enter the market. “We have a lot of great, loyal customers who have been here for years before we were here and are still coming,” says robin.
“Sometimes new people say ‘we don’t have this or that,’ but that’s because we make it every day and we do run out,” says Kevin. “We put a lot of care and thought into making our foods fresh and original. We care about our customers being happy and loving our food. if there’s one thing I want them to know, it’s that Charlie’s has been making it fresh since 1978.”
1900 Berry St., Elkhart, IN
574.264.6034 | CharliesButcherBlock.com
Bridgman Premier Meat Market
Matthew Rossiter got his first job with meat, making barbecue, at age 14. Now general manager of Bridgman Premier Meat Market in Bridgman, Michigan, Rossiter runs the market with his stepfather, owner Alfred Ottusch.
The market, which was opened in the 1950s by John and Ann Toth, still has its original structure and meat counter, but Rossiter and Ottusch (who is the fifth owner) have transformed it from a small meat and grocery store to a specialty butcher shop.
Today, Bridgman Premier Meat Market sells staples like fresh-cut steaks and house-ground beef along with specialty items like pulled pork and natural-casing sausage with house-mixed spices. Meats are cut to order and are free of hormones and additives.
Rossiter says the local food movement has made a difference.
“People are starting to appreciate what they put in their mouths and what they eat. They are now understanding that the supermarket isn’t always the freshest—and starting to appreciate local butcher shops.”
4352 Lake St., Bridgman, MI
269.465.3533 | BridgmanMeatMarket.com
A staple at the South Bend Farmers Market, Sawyer’s Meats has been feeding the mouths of Michiana since 1917. Owner Joe Sawyer is the fourth generation to own the meat shop.
“I bought Sawyer’s from my dad, who owned it for 10 years, who bought it from his dad, who bought it from his dad,” says Joe, laughing.
Joe’s great-grandfather opened Sawyer’s Packing House in Wakarusa, Indiana, where the meat was broken down and then retailed in South Bend. Even though the slaughterhouse was closed in 1944, they still keep their hands in the processing.
“We buy about half of our beef from Mishler Packing Co. in LaGrange, Indiana,” says Joe. “We do the processing [breaking the meat into loins and steaks], and they do the killing.”
Joe also takes pride in the way Sawyer’s accommodates personal orders.
“If you have a special meat-bundle order, we wait until the day you come to pick it up to cut it,” says Joe. “We don’t have it in the freezer and then put it in a bundle. We cut it fresh.”
What’s special about Sawyer’s in the spring? The changing variety of steaks, cuts that are unavailable in stores, the weekly specials and the real hardwood-smoked bacons.
“Sawyer’s is really growing because of our varieties of bacon,” says Joe. “We have country bacon, peppered, applewood, cherrywood, pecan-wood, Canadian and beef.” Their bacon comes from Lagrange and Wakarusa and other locales within a 100-mile radius.
South Bend Farmers Market
1105 Northside Blvd., South Bend, IN
Steve and Anna Gunter opened DC Meats in Osceola, Indiana, in 2006, carrying on a family tradition that began in 1941 in Shipshewana. Their son, Travis, and daughter-in-law, Stephanie, also run the business.
The shop sells locally raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free meats, including grass-fed beef, pork, chicken and rabbit. (This year they will transition to selling non-GMO beef.) They also sell farm eggs, milk, cheeses, frozen fish and specialty items like sea salts, meat rubs, teas and locally roasted coffee.
Meats (including whole animals from area farms) can be custom cut and freezer wrapped. They also process wild game.
“What we do is very rare,” says Anna.
“Most butcher shops get their meat already cut up from other sources. Ours is still coming from the farm.”
DC Meats’s two smokehouses produce bacon, hams and other old-fashioned smoked meats. Most Friday nights they serve delicious barbecue.
The family decided to sell healthy-raised meats after Stephanie became ill and was affected by steroid treatments.
According to Stephanie, “The problem is, when most people go to a grocery store they’re just surviving. When they come here, I want them to thrive. I want them to have that good food, that healthiness that they need. You really see the difference in what it does to you.”
1711 Lincolnway W., Osceola, IN
574.674.2333 | DCMeats.net
El Rosal Supermarket
El Rosal is not your typical butcher shop. at El Rosal you will find traditional Mexican meats: arracheras (thinly cut beef skirt or flank steaks known for their flavor rather than tenderness), pigs feet to be pickled, lengua (tongue) and more.
Co-owner Fabian Corro is available, along with two other butchers, to help you find the type of meat you want, cut the way you want it.
But a trip to El Rosal is worth the experience for more than just the meats. parents bring their children to play with the quarter machines—a joyful temptation. and the affordable market sells everything from fresh limes and roma tomatoes to chorizo and chicharrones (pork rinds).
A family outing to El Rosal is best concluded with a taco or torta (sandwich) at Taquería El Rosal, just past the always-welcoming cashiers.
2693 S. Main St., Elkhart, IN