Long ago, big box stores replaced mom and pop shops in cities and towns across America. Thousands of small business closed because national chains offered convenience and lower prices. And who doesn’t love convenience and lower prices? What was lost, though, was knowledge. As local hardware stores, grocers, butcher shops, and bakeries closed, communities lost experts, artists, and information. Thankfully, there has been a resurgence of artisanal businesses—especially butchers (hey, we’re biased)—in the last decade. However, they have been concentrated in cities such as New York, Portland, Los Angeles, Austin, and right here in Nashville, where we opened up shop in 2011. What do people without that access to local merchants do? They go online, where the internet has formed a new community and the idea of local is being redefined.
Here at Porter Road, we practice something called seam butchery. The technique allows us to isolate individual muscles that all have their own great flavor and texture. That’s one of the benefits of whole animal butchery. We always start with a whole beef, which allows us to offer more cuts to our customers. That’s how we’re able to offer lesser known cuts such as flap steak, flatiron, and teres major. These cuts are typically less expensive than more well-known pieces of beef, can be even more flavorful, and are super easy to cook. Not sure what to do with picanha? A knowledgeable butcher can help you, and that’s why this resurgence of local shops is so great for consumers.
More and more people are able to access high quality meat, build relationships with craftspeople in their hometowns, and learn more about the food that they’re feeding their families. We’re proud of the role that we’ve played in the recent growth of artisanal butcher shops. We’ve helped train butchers at Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions in St. Louis, The Meat Hook in Brooklyn, Red Hog Artisan Meat in Louisville, Rain Shadow Meats in Seattle, and other amazing shops across the country.
That resurgence, however, has already seen its share of struggles. Running a small, sustainable business is expensive. Sourcing responsibly raised meat and poultry is expensive, rents in cities are expensive, and paying skilled employees is expensive. While it’s exciting to seeing local businesses open, it’s even more upsetting when they go out of business. When that happens, the community suffers.
The internet, however, has changed the math for businesses. It’s also changed the geography. We’re huge proponents of sourcing locally. Our animals are all raised within just a couple of hours from our Nashville shop (and even closer to our processing plant). By opening our online shop, we’re able to sell our meat and poultry to people across the United States, as well as provide the kind of expertise that we share with customers every day in our store.
When you shop our products online, you’re not just getting access to the best meat you’ve ever tasted, you’re also finding the answers to your questions. Like those beef cuts we mentioned earlier. When you click on a cut of beef on our site, you’ll learn what part of the animal it comes from, the best ways to cook it, and tips for turning it into an amazing meal.
That’s the experience you should expect from your local butcher. And that’s what we’re providing in this new era of local, where we’re all just a click away from more information and fantastic products than ever before.
Big box stores found success because they offered convenience. You could find everything you were looking for—tires! pajamas! pork chops! deodorant!—all in one place. What they don’t provide, however, is quality and experience. The internet has bridged that divide by making shopping easier than ever before. It connects you to high-quality products sold by knowledgeable, passionate people, no matter where you live.
The internet has brought us all closer together, and that’s redefined the idea of a community. Whether you’re down the street from us in Nashville, eager to try something new in San Diego, or anywhere in between, Porter Road is your local butcher. How can we help you?