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Iowa City: Where to buy meat?

Over the years I have frequented various places for meat. Most recently I got hooked on Taits - especially their usda prime NY strip steaks. I've been spoiled and with Taits now closed I am at a loss. I know where to get cheap meat but for high-end Haights Meat Market, HyVee and the Co-Op just aren't cutting it. Who should I try? I will drive a bit (eg Cedar Rapids) if need be.


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  1. I suggest you try the local meat lockers like Ruzickas or Buds.

    1. I'll give them a try. Do you know if either have USDA prime? Do you have a preference?

      My one experience with a local locker (Tiffin) was not worth repeating but that was many years ago.

      1. They can get whatever you like if it's not on hand. Prime is great but I've noticed in my restaurant that most guests cannot tell the difference between it and choice.

        The best thing about using them is the ability to connect with local farmers, many of whom will raise according to your specs, and raise particular breeds on particular feeds if you ask nicely enough.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Devotay

          Depends on what you are doing with the meat. For a NY Strip cooked rare or medium rare on the grill, I can definitely tell the difference. Thanks for the tips. David

          1. re: mander

            Sure, you and I can, but I found lots who can't. At any rate, since you like yours coked properly, you really should look to local, grassfed beef. One other good and convenient local source is Wholesome Harvest (http://www.wholesomeharvest.com). Lots of different meats, all locally grown, organic and seasonal. The company is owned by the growers.

        2. There's a farm over in Wilton that offers grass fed organic beef that can be cut to order. Never tried it but I've also never gone wrong with this stuff. Probablysome other farmers selling direct to consumer in the area.

          1. Try Nelson's in Cedar Rapids - they have great meat. Try their Miami roll and ribs. All cuts of meat are super - steaks, roasts, etc. They also do a fair lunch trade with sandwiches and soup. There smoked turkeys at the holidays are super. Not far off the interstate - the exit before Collins - sorry I don't know the number.

            1 Reply
            1. re: skyguy

              I moved away from Cedar Rapids 7 years ago, but LOVE Nelson's Miami roll. Can you tell me what it is? Beef tenderloin, wrapped with pork tenderloin, wrapped with bacon? I want to try to make them myself.

            2. Fareway has an old fashioned meat counter and their USDA choice ribeyes, new york strips, are always excellent. I now shop there for all my meat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DeborahLee

                True enough that Fareway's meat is high quality and their service old-fashioned and excellent. I wish they would carry some pastured meat though. There's so much of it in Iowa, it's not like they'd have a hard time finding it.

              2. There is a great little meat market in Cedar Rapids that is more willing to do custom things than even Nelsons -- custom meat cuts, bundles, etc. City Meat Market at 615 Second St SW. They do lots of smoked products like ribs, beef loins, pork loins, make their own beef sticks and summer sausage, bacon. During summer they have daily cookouts from 11 to 1.

                1. Check out the farmers market in Iowa City. On Saturday, they have a vendor who sells organic free range lamb and pork. I have been very happy with everything I've gotten. Also a couple chicken vendors -- tried both, and both are very good. There is a beef vendor but I don't think his meat is grass-fed beef, and I can get beef that from a friend who raises grass-fed organic beef. Also check out LocalHarvest.org to get lots more info on local producers of meat (as well as every other type of agricultural product).

                  1. I want to buy some variety meats - beef tongue, beef tripe, and pork tripe. Is there a good grocery store or meat market in Iowa city or Cedar Rapids where I can buy these?


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dk2010

                      There is a Mexican grocery by the Hy-Vee off Hwy 6 that might have some. Try calling the local meat lockers, they probably can help if you call first. Finally, in the spring, go to the downtown farmers market. There are a couple of different meat vendors. From my experience if they know your interested in something specific they will either bring it the next week or make sure to keep whatever bit you desire the next time they have something butchered.