Remember a time when every town had its own friendly, old-fashioned butcher shop?
Downtown Redmond’s newly opened Bill the Butcher store, 7990 Leary Way NE, feels a little like a throwback to a simpler era, but with a modern twist. Bill the Butcher offers the kind of personal attention you won’t get at a supermarket, but also specializes in “local, wholesome, grass-fed, sustainable, organic and hormone-free” meats.
Named for founding butcher William Von Schneidau, Bill the Butcher opened its first store in Woodinville last summer, opened a second store in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood about six weeks ago and opened in Redmond just over two weeks ago.
Scott Molyneaux will be the lead butcher and essentially “the face of Bill the Butcher” at the Redmond store. Both he and Bill the Butcher CEO J’Amy Owens are ecstatic with the Redmond location, which has been bustling from day one.
Said Owens, “I fell in love with the corner. The building had been abandoned, sitting empty. The building just felt right. We’re a little scrappy and local. It had been American Draperies for about 18 years. We gave it a makeover.”
Molyneaux, a former Chicagoan who has spent 16 years in the food business — mostly as a chef in Port Townsend — now lives just two blocks away from the Redmond Bill the Butcher shop and loves that he can walk to work. His wife works at Microsoft and he’s getting props from other merchants in Redmond’s historic area, saying that the arrival of the new butcher shop is making it feel like “we’re growing a vibrant downtown,” he said.
Customers are drifting in from Victor’s Celtic Coffee next door or just spotting the Bill the Butcher sign as they meander through downtown Redmond.
According to Molyneaux, “When you’ve got something good in the food world, it’s easy to attract people. People in the coffee shop who came in said they liked the recipes we offered and we’ve got cuts people aren’t familiar with. The goal is to teach people how to cook this stuff, not just sell it. We want people to come in and learn to use different cuts and come back again and again.”
And people do like the nostalgic vibe at Bill the Butcher, he added.
“They come in saying, ‘I remember going to the neighborhood butcher shop with my dad!’ Friday evenings, people come in from work and it’s like Happy Hour — they’re starting their weekend and they say, ‘What can I make for dinner?’”
Environmentally-conscious shoppers appreciate that “we’re helping to save the world one steak at a time,” Owens stated.
“We appeal to a higher consciousness. … When you patronize local companies and local farmers, it makes a big difference in so many lives. Also, our meat is delicious, healthy and natural. You’re not feeding your children drug-addled meat,” she said.
Bill the Butcher’s purveyors are as close as Arlington and Marysville and as far away as the San Juans, Eastern Washington, Oregon or Wyoming.
Owens explained, “We say we go as close as we have to go to find it. We’d like there to be cows in downtown Bellevue but it just isn’t so.”
Recently, during Passover and Easter, Bill the Butcher sold lots of brisket, ham and lamb, said Owens.
“Probably the number-one selling item is our ribeye steak,” Owens noted. “People want to test it and there’s a lot of mythology about the taste of grass-fed beef being different, but it makes a very delicious steak. … We’re excited to introduce different meats, fed on different grasses.”
She compared it to learning about different varietals of wine.
Bill the Butcher’s Redmond shop and other locations are open seven days a week, from noon to 7 p.m.
Like Molyneaux, all of the butchers are trained chefs and culinarians and can tell customers how to flavor the meat with marinades or spice rubs, how to cook it and how long to cook it, said Owens.
“They make it very easy and extremely fun,” Owens promised.
For more information about Bill the Butcher, call (206) 453-4418, e-mail Bill@billthebutcher.com or visit www.billthebutcher.com.