St Pete Meat, owned and operated by the same team behind Il Ritorno, is expanding its butcher shop at 449 Central Avenue.
When you think of a stereotypical butchery, you probably don’t imagine house made hummus, “dope” music, and hipster hot sauces. Get ready to ditch those preconceived notions, though, because downtown’s newest chop shop, St Pete Meat, is already proving that trendy and creative are the new beef.
“We’re going all out,” owner David Benstock shared while guiding me through a display of jams and steak seasonings. “We’re going to have the coolest butcher shop you’ve ever walked in.”
We moved past the accoutrements towards the glass displays of meat. From behind the counter, butcher mastermind, Matt Bonano, chimed in.
“And we’re not stopping. We’re going to have the best butcher shop in the state.”
I glanced into the transparent, refrigerated cases. Moroccan lamb meatballs, rosemary lemon chicken sausage, and Australian wagyu skirt steak stood on the shelves like gold in a gem display. From the looks of the place, it was clear that the team was pulling out all the stops, and the mouthwatering scent of marinated garlic had me convinced they were already halfway towards their goal.
“The coolest butcher shop you’ll ever walk in”
Now, if you’re reading this thinking, “Hey… Those guys sound familiar…,” that’s because you’ve definitely already heard of them. David is the acclaimed chef behind Il Ritorno whose culinary prowess recently landed him a spot on the Food Network, while Matt was the original founder and owner of local smash-hit sandwich shop, Brooklyn South. So, if you’ve ever watched silver screen cooking competitions, or had lunch in the Edge District, you’ve probably seen them both.
Also behind St. Pete Meat are business partners Peter and Brooke Boyd, who have helped grow local brands such as Made Coffee, Bodega, and more. The team also boasts NY-trained butcher, Joey Bruno, who has been in the meat industry since he was 15 years old, and David’s wife, Erica, who manages business operations and social media. Between the six of them, the shop is full of camaraderie, humor, and energy that perfectly accompany their wealth of food-centric knowledge.
“I love being here,” Joey stated, shifting his gaze between a Bison T-bone and his distant coworkers, “Working here is a privilege.”
Matt nodded his head in agreement.
“We’re all very excited—” he began, but was immediately cut off by Erica.
“—Excited is an understatement,” she called from the front-of-house truffle oil display.
I turned to David, still by my side, whose head was dropped in a slight chuckle.
“So, yeah,” he stated. “We’re pretty excited.”
A high quality, pasture-raised menu at St Pete Meat
With a combination of top-notch chefs, innovative new food products, and a vibrant atmosphere of interpersonal connectivity, St. Pete Meat has got a lot going for them. The real MVP of the store, however, is the meats. Top quality, pasture-raised, and non-GMOs, these beauties—I’m assuming—are likely why you’ve picked up this article in the first place.
To help quell your carnivorous cravings, here are a few of their current menu offerings:
- Upper Choice Filet Mignon: free range, high-quality, and only $29.99 a pound, this is definitely a deal you’ll want to snag.
- Chimichurri Marinated Skirt Steak: pre-marinated and ready to cook, this beefsteak cut is the perfect choice for busy foodies who want maximum flavor with minimal prep time.
- House Made Sausage: available in 4 daily varieties. As of today, the menu lists spicy Italian, rosemary lemon chicken (completely pork free), chorizo pork, and lamb merguez.
- Pecan Smoked Bacon: because flavorless bacon is so 2015.
- Moroccan Lamb Meatballs: house-blended and impeccably spiced, I’d recommend picking up some of Il Ritorno’s handmade pasta at the register to pair with them.
- Olivor Farms Chicken: the best-selling meat in the store, this chicken hails from Pinellas County’s most humane livestock source.
- Mixed Sausage Stuffed Peppers: a complete meal, these peppers are hand-stuffed with multiple varieties of sausage, garlic rice, marinated veggies, and caramelized onions.
- Locally Sourced Eggs: chicken, quail, duck, you name it. Farm fresh eggs are always worth the splurge.
- Australian Wagyu Skirt Steak: “it cuts like butter.”
An artisan product for every palate
If you thought those items were intriguing, just wait until you see the whole menu. From Peking Duck to South African boerewors, St. Pete Meat is bringing some of the most exotic and delicious meats to the Bay. And, if you’re more of a “play-it-safe” eater, it’s also important to note that they offer an incredible variety of artisan cheeses.
But, if you’re not a cheese eater or a meat fiend, I bring your attention back to their trendy hipster sauces.
Because if you’re not tempted by truffle-infused sriracha, you’re lying.
Foodies can visit St. Pete Meat at 449 Central Ave. To place an order in advance, diners can call the store at (727)-350-4721, or visit their official website at https://www.stpetemeat.com/.