Good Butcher in Chicago?
I live in Buffalo Grove and can confidently recommend Dorfler's Meat Market at Rt. 83 and Arlington Hts. Rd. Newly remodeled - they have so many delicious offerings and the prices are not outrageous. They offer out of this world beef tenderloin (trimmed) on special for about $10/lb. Have been going here for over 20 years and have yet to have a less than spectacular product.
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I had a party for some close friends on St. Patrick's Day and got the meat at Gepperths. The meat was a little pricey, but I have to admit that it was delicious. I'll try Paulina next. When I'm up north (which is often), I'll try some of the others too. Thanks again.
Casey's Meat Market in west-suburban Western Springs has knowledgable butchers and top-quality meats, with a lot of prepared stuff that is excellent. They will custom-cut whatever specialty you need. They're a little more expensive that the supermarkets, but not more so than Whole Foods. (I like WF, too.) They also have a very nice - and larger - market in Naperville, on Washington Street just north of 75th Street.
Let me second Casey's.
I've been extremely happy with the quality of meat that I've gotten from there. Whether it's grill fare (very good sausages, ground beef, filets and london broil), specialty cuts (boston butt for the smoker or short ribs for braising) or their prepared stuff (I've picked up marinated flank steaks for some short-notice grilling and they were fantastic), I've always been happy.
I appreciate it when a butcher asks me questions to help guide him (what are you using it for? Do you need the fat cap on or off? Have you tried X cut as well if you're cooking it that way?). The staff is always friendly.
If you're in the southwest suburbs, it's sooooo worth making the trip over. They're right on the tracks in Western Springs. As a bonus, they're a couple of doors down from a great fresh produce store, too.
You don't specify if there's a specific location in the city you'd prefer, so I'll offer up my regular butcher on the north side:
Bornhofen Meat Market. Frank Bornhofen and his staff are first rate butchers, friendly, and always willing to custom cut whatever you require. I haven't lived in the neighborhood for over 15 years but I still go back to get meat from Frank and the guys.
6155 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60660
Just around the corner from the Granville "L" station.
The very best butchers are often a lot more expensive. It may not be worth it for the ground beef for your lunch, but when you're buying something special when guests are coming to dinner, you may need the place that has what you're looking for, even when it costs more.
In the "top quality but not particularly inexpensive" category, Fox and Obel, Whole Foods, and Gepperth's were all mentioned above. In the near north suburbs, another such specialty butcher, where you can get aged prime rib, chicken breast smoked on the premises, and other fine products (not expensive), is:
Zier's Prime Meats & Poultry
813 Ridge Rd
HIGHLY recommended. If you happen to go there just a few days before a major entertaining holiday, don't be surprised if you find that their small storefront shop has big crowds.
Paulina Meat Market has an excellent selection at reasonable prices with, but its pretty inconvenient if, like me, you don't live in the area. Otherwise a huge selection of meats, hand made sausages, and other groceries. A little overpriced, but convenient, and the staff is knowledgable. http://www.paulinameatmarket.com/
Gepperths is another smaller one in Lincoln Park.
Fox and Obel/Whole Foods have good if limited selections, but boy are they $$. $12.99 a lb for flank steak last time I was there. They do have some aged cuts, although then you're talking real money.
I also go to some of the wholesalers in the Fulton Meat Packing district. There are a few on the North side of Randolph, around 1000 West, that can be a great source, but they are not much help when it comes to hand holding the clients, and their command of English can be a little shaky, but certainly the best deals that I have found. Also - they usually only take cash. At one, maybe Columbus Meat, I know you can also get prime beef, but only if you buy the whole 10-12 lb cut. Prices at that quantity are a real bargin.
If you get down to the Randolph area, definitely also check out Isaacson and Stein on Fulton St.- best fish and seafood selection and deal in town, although sometimes you need to pick through the fish a little. Dirks up on Clyborne has a more consistenly high quality selection, but at about twice the price.