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Blackstone meats on the Danforth

Any idea when/why it closed? Stopped by this afternoon to pick up a chicken and the place is locked and dark, shelves empty.

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  1. Probably not enough sales and profit, that's why most places close. I only went in once or twice, I never really took a liking to the place when they had the young kids working there. A few weeks ago someone told me it was much better after they had an older woman working there instead, but I didn't re-visit it.

    1. I think it offered too much style and decor with a touch of "philosophy". But, not enough emphasis on being a butcher shop.

      I went in looking for a certain cut...I forget which one, but it wasn't exotic (might have been pork or lamb shoulder)....no dice. But they had 10 kinds of pre-marinated meat. Not my kind of place.

      1. There were a lot of things wrong with the place.

        1. Almost no meat available beyond what little was on display. Plus, much of what was on display was already seasoned or marinated and they didn't seem to have any more of the same cuts without the seasonings.

        2. Staff who couldn't answer simple questions (such as: "what is in the sausage?, where do you get X?, etc . . .) .

        3. Not exactly great butchering or quality of meat.

        4. Prices not much better than butcher shops that get all of the above right.

        I give my mother a lift to the Albany clinic across the road 3 times a week and I still decided it was not worth patronizing and I was right there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Atahualpa

          Well put.

          I was happy when one moved into the 'hood. But after a quick visit, I knew it was more style than substance.

          There was a shill who posted really good things on this place. Part of the business plan, I guess.

          1. re: Atahualpa

            The useless staff was a major problem. I didn't consider it a butcher shop, it was a place to pick up prepared food that you just wanted to toss on the BBQ. But then the word "butcher " was not in it's name so at least they knew what they were, or were not. Everything in there appeared to be bought as prepared food and then just put on display. I don't know what the owners were thinking when they made the business plan. (or maybe they didn't make one) One owner was the person who ran "Cookie Connections". I suppose they were thinking that all the potential customers wanted prepared food, which I rarely buy.

          2. Interesting. I had been in a couple of times because it's right on my bike ride home. Some of the staff were pretty inexperienced (and their turnover seemed really high) but I didn't usually have any trouble getting something basic.

            And yeah, definitely style v substance. It was usually pretty busy with people buying stuff, so I was suprised to see it shuttered. Thanks for your replies.

            5 Replies
            1. re: beanbiscuit

              I live within a short walk so I went there quite often. I agree that the selection wasn't great but I'm sad to see it go. The neighbourhood needs a butcher.

              1. re: haggisdragon

                Well maybe a butcher will move in, they definitely were not a butcher shop, they were a meat shop. What organic meat are you looking for that you can't get at the Big Carrot ?

                1. re: foodyDudey

                  I forget the name, but the greek butcher on Pape, just south of Danforth looks pretty good. I haven't bought anythign from them, but they seem legit. I believe you go there FD? I recall you mentioning them once on another post.

                  For a while, I was on a serious hunt for lamb shoulder in order to grind and turn into sausages and kebabs. I ended up getting a bunch of trim, 10lbs for $20 of Ontario lamb, just perfect for this purpose. It was the Mr. Greek butcher shop, east of Pape, on the north side (not sure of exact address). They sell mainly Australian lamb, but have some Ontario from the owner's farm. Lots of beef on display, I wasn't really looking. While I was there, a few groups of North African people came in to pick up whole lamb. They specialize in lamb, but have a lot of beef on display.

                  So far, a couple good butcher shops east of Pape. Agreed, it's lacking between Danforth and Pape, but not so bad. Leslieville is worse. Rowe Farms is lackluster. Again, more style than substance.

                  1. re: grandgourmand

                    That is Ella's you are referring to. I don't shop there regularly, but drop in randomly about 6 times a year. The quality seems fine. I've bought a leg of lamb there for Easter that was good. I've also bought beef marrow bones there which are frozen unless you happen to pick them up as soon as they de-bone the meat.

                    There is also Louis meat market, which is beside Messini and also sells gyros. Greek House sells meat also. None of this is "organic" like what Blackstone sold.

                  2. re: foodyDudey

                    > What organic meat are you looking for that you can't get at the Big Carrot ?

                    Oh, it's mostly sheer laziness on my part really: the Carrot is great, but it means crossing the road, jostling for a bike spot in their usually-full rack, dealing with crowds in the store and lineups at the cash ... I'm just grumbling at the insult to my convenience!

                    There's a good little butcher at Queen and Jones - I've gotten good cuts from him and they make very nice sausage and do have free-range chickens. It's just not directly on my way home from work (or steps away from a liquor store, as Blackstone was - key point!).

              2. Sad to see it go. It was very helpful to have somewhere before Pape to buy specific quantities of meat from other than the dubious stuff at Loblaws or the poorly packaged at Big Carrot. Frustrating, because Royal on the Danforth is a bit far, as if Meat on the Beach. Occassionally, I want organic for my baby. I heard there is somewhere on Pape; does anyone know where?

                1 Reply
                1. re: melnumnums

                  I can't remember the name, but it's on the west side of Pape just south of Danforth.

                  There's also Louis' on the south side of Danforth near Arundel. I found Louis' perfectly okay when I lived there, but this was too long ago to be meaningful. They've been at that spot for decades. The window is (or used to be) filled with whole lambs before Greek Easter.

                  Both places were mentioned earlier in this thread. I doubt you'll find anything "organic", though. Sun Valley has some decent meat, though organics aren't an emphasis.

                  Other than price, what's your problem with the Carrot? Most of what they sell is labeled as coming from Cumbrae's, Beretta, or Rowe, and at least some of it is organic. I don't recall seeing meat labeled as "organic" at Royal Beef.

                2. Personally (and I am NOT the shill another poster was talking about below) I quite liked the place and was sad to see it shut down. I found the the staff to be helpfula and friendly. The Big Carrot meat counter is fine, but it lacks selection (often they don't have the specific cut I am looking for) and seems to be more expensive. I thought Blackstone's meat was better than Rowe farms and on par (and cheaper) than cumbrae.

                  Besides, even a less than perfect butcher shop is better than nothing at all. It was super convenient for me, as I am on the stretch of the Danforth every weekend and we prefer not to hop into the car to do our shopping on the weekend.. I will miss it (although appears I may be the only one on this board to do so!)

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: Piper2

                      I'll miss it too. I quite liked Blackstone!

                      1. re: jlunar

                        I agree with most of the others here. The place looked great but that's about it. Everything we had from them seemed to have the exact same marinade, and again, not a huge selection. Too bad though, sorry to hear they couldn't make a go of it.

                    2. I was happy when this place moved into the 'hood and I tried giving it many chances but it failed so often. Like someone else said, there was too much product that was already seasoned (I like to cook myself, thanks!) and I think I only ever went into the place once and came out with what I was looking for. Always a very slim selection of stuff on display.

                      I special ordered 10 lbs of ground bison for a party one time, giving three weeks notice, and got a call from them the morning I was to pick it up that the order had not come in! The woman felt horrible about it, and gave me some ground top sirloin at the price of their regular ground beef, but that was pretty much the last straw for me..