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Dec 15, 2008 11:15 AM

Which restaurants serve grass-fed beef?

I realize grass-fed beef is quite expensive (ironic, because it is natural for cattle to graze on grass, not be stuffed with grain like our factory farms do to them), but I am hoping not to break the bank. Any ideas?

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  1. I know that Garden at the Cellar serves grass fed beef, but I'm not sure the exact source. Wild Willy's -- the burger chain with a location in Watertown -- uses Hardwick Beef. HB is all grass fed and grass finished and is super delicious. Incidentally, Hardwick Beef is now for sale at both Harvest Coops (Cambridge and JP), Lionette's (South End), City Feed & Supply (JP) and all Crosby's Markets (North Shore). If you love grass fed beef, be sure to support the places that carry it. It's all about demand!

    4 Replies
    1. re: sushibox


      Can you post a link confirming that Wild Willys uses grass-fed beef? There website only says "Certified Angus Beef" which isn't even necessarily a good thing. There is no mention of grass-fed beef on the site.
      Also, I find it hard to believe that they can sell grass-fed burgers for $6.50
      I also find it hard to believe that they would sell grass-fed burgers without a huge warning. Grass-fed beef tastes MUCH different then grain-fed (even different from grain-finished), it’s stronger, gamier, and much more expensive. A chain serving them in stealth mode is almost an impossibility.

      1. re: ac106

        I've eaten a fair share of grass-fed beef and I can't say that it tastes MUCH different than grain-fed.
        Sure it has less marbling so it tastes leaner and has a different consistency, but I wouldn't say that it tastes much different.
        Nor is it much more expensive. You can get grass fed beef, from most sources that sell it, for around the same price as dry-aged choice.

        1. re: ac106

          I've been there and can confirm, they do serve grass-fed beef, but you have to pay extra (something in the neighborhood of $1-1.50). Was worth it just to support it (both HB and Wild Willy's for serving it), in my opinion. Also it was delicious, though I haven't had their "conventional" burger so I have no frame of reference.

          Edit: missed the post below, I'm an idiot.

          1. re: ac106

            Actually, hamburgers made from grassfed beef aren't always significantly more expensive. The producers have no problem selling the more desirable cuts of meat, leaving them with a lot leftover, which gets ground into hamburger. If you're looking for grassfed and don't have the funds for the tenderloin, hamburger is a great way to go, and helps create a market for the farmer. And I'm with FastTalker, the taste isn't significantly different. It is somewhat different, but in a hamburger, I don't think you would notice that much.

        2. The Ashmont Grill in Dorchester serves a sub-ten dollar burger that is grass-fed beef. It is delicious. As far as source . . . Northeast Family Farms. I'm pretty sure. Good luck.

          1. Wild Willy's "grass fed" burgers are posted inside the restaurant on the menu. They add a surcharge to the reular burger price...$1.50 +/-. I've had a few and they are terrific.

            2 Replies
            1. re: miketr

              I've only been once, last week, and disagree about Wild Willy's burgers being good. Both my wife and I tried grass fed burgers. The meat was very salty. It was too salty for me and I like my food to be a bit salty. My wife doesn't so she didn't really like it at all. I'd like to go back and try it one more time because I'd like to support local food and all that stuff, but it's not high on my list of places to eat at.

              1. re: loafdog00

                Hi LD - you should try again. I've had the grass-fed burgers there and didn't have an issue with the salt, so maybe it was just a bad night.

                I also wanted to mention, it's not all Wild Willy's that have the grass-fed. The one in Worcester doesn't seem to offer it, so it may be just the Watertown location. I haven't been to the one in York.

            2. Thanks for all these tips. = By the way, I am not interested in grass-fed beef for the taste necessarily, but for health reasons. Grass-fed beef don't get sick like factory farmed, grain-fed cattle do, and grass-fed beef is high in Omega-3s. Thanks!

              6 Replies
              1. re: TheScribe

                If that's your goal, you might be interested in looking into some local CSAs that offer beef- I believe most, if not all, are grass fed beef.

                I get mine from Houde Family Farm (home delivery, whooo!) but others that provide this service locallaly are Stillman and Chestnut Farm. There are also farms around this area where you can go pick up, and I think a good place to find those listings is

                FWIW (and I know, it's off topic for this board) I do see a big difference in the taste, and most particularly in hamburger. I never liked plain hamburgers before, and always had cheeseburgers. Now I realize I just didn't like the taste of the meat, and I prefer it without cheese so I can actually taste the meat.

                1. re: Chris VR

                  I believe Houde Family Farm raises mostly Holstein, and they do feed grain as well as grass - which is why it's so good. I love holstein steer as beef. But, the OP was concerned about Omega 3s, and grass-fed beef is much healthier in that sense.

                  It's important to realize, though, that the vast majority of grass-fed cattle in this country are still in feedlots. They just get hay instead of grain.

                  1. re: almansa

                    Wow. I did not know that, Almansa. So, by feeding them hay, it's still considered grassfed, regardless of how many cows are squeezed into the lot? Sounds a lot like cage-free, where the chickens can see the outdoors, but don't know how to go out.

                    1. re: fullbelly

                      This underscores the importance of buying from local farms. If you buy grass-fed beef that pops up at a major supermarket chain (I have yet to see this, but for the sake of argument) it could well still be from a CAFO that just feeds hay instead of grain. If you get it from Stillman's or Houde or someone else local, you can be sure that's not the case.

                      Note also, even pastured, what we think of as truly grass-fed, free to roam cattle get fed hay in the winter months, sometimes in penned in areas, which can be kept warmer. Just putting that out there. There's obviously a huge difference between this and a CAFO.

                      1. re: TPistrix

                        Very good points.

                        Btw, for the original poster, here are some results:

                2. re: TheScribe

                  If your biggest concern is the health benefit, be sure to check if it is 100% grass fed. Many are grass fed but then finished on corn. This greatly diminshes the Omega 3 aspect. Stillman Farm sells 100% grass fed and finished beef. is a great resource for information on this.

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