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Butchers in Boston...

I live in New York but spend a lot of time in Boston at my girlfriends. So far, I've been unimpressed by the quality of meat available for home cooking in Boston although my experience has been pretty limited (basically Whole Foods). I'm particularly interested in dry aged beef (prime, ideally), heritage breed chickens (or free-range, grain fed, steroid-free birds) and high quality pork. So I turn it over to you guys: where is there a great butcher in Boston? I'd prefer one in the Brookline, Alston, Brighton area, but really any suggestion is welcome. Thanks in advance.

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  1. John Dewar's, Newton Centre, they furnish many of the top restaurants in Boston area. Great meats and very high prices.

    1. Your best bet near you would be a quick drive (or take the D line to Newton Centre stop) to John Dewar and Sons, on Beacon Street in Newton Centre. As a formal Lobel's disciple, he's probably the closet thing to it near you.

      1 Reply
      1. re: offaly_tasty

        ... and John Dewar's can get you absolutely ANYTHING with a few days' notice, just ask the price up front if you are at all price sensitive. The other thing about them is that they are professionals and it really shows in how they slice and package things -- no lopsided steaks from Dewar's, beautiful cryovac'ing if you want it, etc. Nice people too.

      2. For geographically "near" you might consider Lionette's or Dewar, respectively in the South End and Newton. The former is more local meats, the latter offers dry aged beef.

        If you want something T-accessible, Sulmona in the North End a basic old-fashioned italian butcher.

        There is a lot to be researched on the board for any of these butchers.


        5 Replies
        1. re: itaunas

          All great suggestions. Savenor's is also a wonderful place - two locations, one in Cambridge and the other on Beacon Hill.... I'm pretty certain Julia Child shopped at Savenor's back in the day.

          1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

            Julia Child lived in the Agassiz neighborhood and certainly frequented Savenor's (probably for many years) which is about a 5 minute walk, but in the early 90s the Cambridge location burned down right as they were opening the Beacon Hill location. Its a wonderful place, but I sort of miss the old shop (Fresh Pond Market is a bit closer in theme to what Savenor's used to be). And she moved back to the West Coast before they reopened. She certainly used Dewar's for some things, was sighted at the Beacon Street Star and other hounds have said DeMoula's too. Over the years there have been as many claims in the area to being her favorite restaurant as to some connection with JFK, but she certainly spoke of both Savenors and Dewar. I always forget about the Beacon Hill Savenor's, but that is another good T location (and on a sunny day its nice to just walk from Arlington on the green line instead of switching trains).

            1. re: itaunas

              Thanks for the insight! It's always wonderful to hear and learn more about her connection to the area.

              1. re: Mr Bigglesworth

                John Dewar provided me with my meat for last night's holiday dinner. I am never disappointed. It was like butter. All my guests could not stop talking about the quality of the meat.

              2. re: itaunas

                Julia Child did move to California before Savenor's reopened on Kirkland Street, but she at least came back to see it because "Bon Appetit -JC" is carved in the sidewalk in front of the store! There are also some nice black and white pictures in the store of her and Jack Savenor cooking together.

          2. I have yet to make it there, but I have heard a lot of rec's for MacKinnon's in Davis Square. I am planning on heading there soon, because 3 random people say they do a great job.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Stellar D

              McKinnons in Somerville definitely has some good values, but is not what the OP is looking for. They have ittle or nothing in the way of dry aged or prime beef, and other specific requests from the OP.

            2. What do you guys think about the "Butcher Shop" in the South End? How does the meat rank there?

              1. I do a lot of my shopping at Savenor's on Beacon Hill because it's convenient. Great beef ..waygu, grass fed, or prime aged..and they recently started carrying Misty Knolls chickens, which I've only bought in VT or Lionette's (at a much higher price)...http://www.mistyknollfarms.com/ It's a great chicken...better than the very good Giannone from Quebec that's appearing on so many menus..which they also carry.

                I also buy at Sulmona in the NE, great veal, lamb and beef ground to order.

                I consider Dewar's to be comparable to Sav's; just not very accessible for me.

                1. Try Stillman Farm or River Rock Farm.

                  Both are at many of the Farmer's Markets once it gets warm, but in the meantime, just call them up, tell them what you want (menu) is on the websites and they will deliver for you, direct to your door. I haven't ordered from Stillman's for delivery, but their website says they deliver. I have ordered from River Rock many a time. The minimum order is $50, and their delivery day to Boston is on Thursdays. You won't be disappointed.



                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kristinayee

                    This isn't the kind of place to find artisanal fatback or free-range guinea fowl, but I love buying meat from Tony's in Roslindale Square - an old Italian butcher. He'll get you a good cut, and he's a blast to talk with..

                  2. I'd recommend Savenor's either on Kirkland or Charles St. You might also want to check Pineland Farms, supplier of Wolfe's Neck meats which are outstanding. They are in New Gloucester, ME and you might want to check the website- www.wolfesneck.com.

                    1. For what the OP is looking for, I agree that Dewars is the place to go. The staff is so knowledgeable and they have given me great cooking tips.