Old-style butcher coming to town

Bill the Butcher hoping to attract fans with organic, natural offerings and fun pairings

(Editor's note: This is a corrected version of the story. Bill the Butcher sells organic meats, but not only organic. And while it sources its meats from farms, not all farms are from Washington state. As early as this summer, each location will carry a booklet of information about the farms it sources from and the meat will be identified accordingly.)


Magnolia's newest retailer is going old school.
Bill the Butcher, an independent meat market, will be opening its doors over the Fourth of July holiday at 3800 34th Ave. W., across the street from Rudy's Place.
Co-founded by chef and master butcher William Von Schneidau and J'Amy Owens, Bill the Butcher will be a throwback to the days of yore when neighborhood butcher shops were commonplace. The only difference now is that this shop will be selling organic and natural meats in addition to dozens of pairing items such as wine and sides. Organic means that the land on which the cows graze are certified organic. Natural means there are no hormones, no steroids in the beef and that the cows were grass fed. But Natural doesn't necessarily mean the land upon which the cows grazed is certified organic.
"We want to bring the butcher shop back to the neighborhood," said store planner Thad Donat. He said after the company performed demographic studies of Magnolia, it made sense to move forward with the company's fifth location. Donat said Magnolia is a great neighborhood, the clientele is educated, and the company didn't want to overreach into territories already filled, such as AJ Meats and Seafood atop Queen Anne Hill.
Bill the Butcher began in Woodinville and has since expanded with stores in Laurelhurst, Madison Park, Redmond and now Magnolia. Plans are already under way for a store in Bellevue. The company is also filing for a liquor license to sell wine and beer.
The concept of Bill the Butcher is to buy as locally as possible - and from farms, not factories. And this would reflect each store, geographically. For instance, if a store opens in Clark County, the company would try to buy only from farmers within that region. Right now, there is a central warehouse in Shoreline where meat is cut and processed, and all the meat, as well as eggs, milk and other dairy products, come from farms in Snohomish and Skagit counties. The company began in 2009 and has had to buy some meat and other products from farms all over Washington and out of state. But as the company grows, ownership will source more locally.
"We're as local as possible," Donat said. "We'd buy across the street if we could."
Donat is counting on organic purchases to continue to climb, even in a cool economy. But buying organic can be expensive, sometimes twice as much as nonorganic purchases, be it meat, fruits or vegetables. Donat is well aware of that and said that as the Bill the Butcher opens more stores, it will increase its buying power and can keep costs affordable. The plan is to open as many as 10 stores in the greater Seattle area and stock those locations with products from the same, local farmers.
As early as this summer, each location will have a booklet listing information about each farm the store sources meat from. Meat in display cases will be identified by farms, too.[[In-content Ad]]