By Jennifer Leonard
Shhh… don’t tell: I have a crush on my butcher.
Yes, part-time vegetarian me, I’ve a newfound respect for the meat slinger down the street. Avedano's Holly Park Market (San Francisco, California) is a butcher shop and specialty market with great food and quality service. They are true-blue devoted to the sustainability rally cry “local food for local people.” And they curate their shop with cheeky humor and panache.
Each of the owners brings her unique skills to the block. Tia, an Executive Chef, is the in-house butcher. In addition to trimming meats, she creates the rotating menu of seasonal prepared foods that are available for nightly take-out. Fellow “restaurantrice,” Melanie, is responsible for procuring many of the hard-to-find items offered in the market. And entrepreneur and former cook Angela brings bookkeeping and management experience to the day-to-day operations of the business.
Cicero’s Meats formerly occupied the space itself, a family-owned market that opened in 1901 and served the neighborhood for nearly a century. Many of the antique furnishings and equipment live on and have been incorporated into the refreshed design. Even Cicero's original neon sign glows to see another century.
And like a fulfillment of my Alice in Wonderland childhood fantasies of secret passageways, I recently discovered Avedano’s private dining space in back, The Udder Room. Available for intimate events, It’s warm and welcoming, long and narrow, paneled by wood and lit up by original mod lamps that hang just so from the ceiling.
Everything in Avedano’s is exceptional: grass-fed beef, wild-caught and responsibly farmed fish, seasonal local and organic produce, and handpicked gourmet pantry items, like first-rate olive oil, artisan cheese, homemade jams, premium coffee and to-die-for gelato.
Bonus items for sale and perusal include Meat Paper, Secret Eating Society zine, and meat jokes galore: meat-shaped throw pillows and cookie cutters, “I love you more than pork” lapel pins, and an ever-changing interior marquee that now proclaims “Praise the Lard.”