It was a case of mistaken identity. Who would have thought there would be two separately owned butcher shops in the same town with the same name? They even use the same type font for their signage!
My travels this week take me to Rochester, MN in search of Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe. For a meat market connoisseur, the name alone screams “come to me.” What I didn’t know was that there are two shops in town with a very similar name, owned by two different people and offer two different products. Evidently the original owner of the Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe sold the market and continued on with a catering business and called it, The Original, Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe. For local Rochester customers this is probably old hat but for a visitor to the area relying on Google maps it can be quite frustrating. When you type in Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe into your iPhone maps, it brings you to the catering offices. This is NOT where you want to go! The correct location for the meat market counter is at 902 7th Street NW in Rochester. This isn’t the only frustration I ran into with my first visit to the Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe. Here’s hoping Google get’s this changed.
The shop is very clean and wide open. Once inside customers are greeted with high ceilings and the walls are covered with antique meat market items such as meat cleavers, silhouette pigs, antique containers and other butchering items. They offer a wide variety of fresh and frozen meat products along with an eclectic variety of other food items from Minnesota and Wisconsin companies. They also offer customers home grilling & smoking options selling Traeger and Green Mountain Grills and Smokers.
Not only was I in search of bacon, I was also looking for some meat and cheese as a quick-lunch item. Their meat case was long and filled with bright red meat. I purchased a ½ lb of hickory smoked bacon and a ½ lb of applewood smoked bacon. I was a little frustrated that they didn’t sell meat sticks a la carte out of the meat case. One of the butchers suggested that I go with the prepackaged Willie’s beef sticks. I was all for it but it cost me $7.99 for a pack of 10. With the 3 slices of cheese my lunch was up to $10 bucks. The sticks had a mild flavor and were a little on the dry side. I was kicking myself for not going with the meat stick with the cheese already inside. I was less than impressed but made the best of it.
Time To Cook
I have put my Google misadventures behind me and I’m ready to cook up the bacon. It was a typical Saturday morning up at the lake in Northern Minnesota with kids running around, a pot of coffee spitting and sputtering and oldies rock n roll faintly playing in the background (aka Cabin Tunes). I was excited to try both flavors of bacon because of the marbling but was greeted with a less than impressive odor when I opened the packages. I won’t go as far to say that the bacon was rotten but it was not like any other bacon reviewed to date. Both bacons cooked up with a lot of shrinkage. As the finished bacon began to pile up on the counter top, hungry campers began to dive into. Everyone agreed that the flavor and smokiness of the bacon didn’t live up to the marbling and cut.
The market offers many different products and offers customers a pleasant shopping experience. We would like readers to know that we reviewed the bacon a second time in September and found the same cooking and taste experience with their bacon. We will try to visit Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe this winter and provide feedback on our findings.