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Favorite Butcher? I need a bone in pork loin roast by Thursday.

Where should I go? I'd prefer to stay close to home (Cambridge), good quality, and a reasonable price if that's not too much to ask. I have a car so I can go get it!

A friend suggested Dewar's in Newton but that's still a little out of my way...and aren't they kind of expensive? I usually go to the River St. Whole Foods for groceries but I'm just not all that impressed with the butcher there. They never seem to have what I'm looking for.

I'd love to hear your suggestions!

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  1. Johnnie's Foodmaster on Rt 16 had a couple of nice chine end pork loin roasts yesterday, one of which is soon to be cured here, quite inexpensive. I grabbed the nicer one so no guarantees they still have them there (it is not a circular special), but they tend to hire decent old school butchers so if you call during day hours you might be able to find another good one between Somerville (Beacon & Rt16), Arlington, and Medford or at least someone who knows what you are looking for.

    Update: Given the title I just want to be clear that I am not voting Johnnie's favorite Butcher. Sulmona below would get a mention, but in Cambridge that would probably be Huron Supermarket although I don't get there often. But at Johnnie's I found a perfect bone-in loin roast properly trimmed, so maybe you can too easily by Thursday. One nice thing if you follow 9lives suggestion is you can also park at the Parcel 7 Garage to spend more time, check out Caffe Grafitti's new location, get a slice of Pizza at Haymarket for validation and also check out Puritan Beef which can probably also accomodate your request.

    1. Savenor's is in Cambridge; pricey. I don't find their pork to be much better than Sulmona's in the NE: at a much better price.

      If $ is no object, call Stillman's Farm which is set up in a tent in downtown xcrossing betweebnthe old Filene's and Macy's (thx Nseneda). I have their price list and they list bone in loin roast for $13.99/lb, No clue as to how to drive there, maybe Red Line to Park St and walk down Winter.

      eta..just reread your post and the reasonable price requirement would knock out Stillman's. Go to Sulmona. Cal first and tell them how big a roast you want and what time and you should be able to get away with double parking for the few mins.

      12 Replies
      1. re: 9lives

        I've never heard of Sulmona. How exciting. I also live near the T so I could take public transportation and avoid the parking situation. Just gotta find the time.

        I may also give Johnnie's Foodmaster a whirl since its not too far from my office.

        1. re: heypielady

          Keep n mind that I live in town; so my bias lies there.There are places in Somerville like MKinnon that are also very good..and Itaunas is very knowledgeable about obtaining good food

          I don't think there's any right answer here, To save time, let your fingers do the walking; but you're not seeking a rare cut...and i'm sure you can find it.

          Just a question if you want to come into downtown or hit more local places. Now for veal, make the trip to Sulmona's. Enjoy!

          1. re: 9lives

            Thanks 9lives, I'll definitely consider what others post but I love hearing about a place I've never been. Next time I'm in the North End I might just have to spontaneously plan a veal meal.

            1. re: heypielady

              Sulmona is great, but I also like DiPaolo and Rossi on Salem Street in the North End, and I suspect you're more likely to find the roast you want there. My experience is that D&R has a wider variety of primals than Sulmona does, and therefore if you're looking for something very specific, they might be more able to find a cut that's exactly to your taste. But honestly, I usually end up buying from both of them when I'm buying meat in the North End!

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                Second vote for D&R. John and Peter are amazing, salt of the earth guys - when I went to Sulmona on more than a few occasions they treated me with a bit of an attitude and were not very helpful.

                Having said that they know their stuff there too and either is a good bet, they're just steps away from eachother. Now if only Abruzzi Butcher next door to D&R hadn't retired...I dont know where else I can get affordable pancetta.

                1. re: jefskil

                  I find the pancetta from the deli counter at Russo's both reasonably priced and high quality.

                  1. re: jefskil

                    I've known John since he was the "junior" butcher in the shop, which was known in our family as "Morris the butcher's" back in the 60s. And yes, he's a dear, and I've found him helpful when I've met with a bit of a stone wall at Sulmona.

                    I have to agree - the Sulmona guys are absolute artists with the knife and a joy to watch at work, but they don't necessarily go out of their way to be helpful if you're not a regular in the shop, ideally speaking Italian.

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      Allstonian, you don't have to speak Italian
                      to be welltreated Sulmona. I don't. You need to be friendly and show an appreciation and love for fine food...2 things I know you posess.

                      I've developed a long term, multi generational friendship with them..We're fortunate to have a D&R and Sulmona a block apart and have the choice.

                      1. re: 9lives

                        Believe me, I've been friendly and done my best to demonstrate my love for fine food, and I certainly go to Sulmona when I need the best-cut meats. I won't buy veal or chicken cutlets anywhere else.

                        But I'm not a regular - I get over there three or four times a year at best - and I always feel like a stranger to them. The last time I was there they told me they had no pork shoulder after I'd watched them use some in a meat stuffing mix they were grinding up for a customer ahead of me. They were moderately busy and I didn't want to get into a fuss about "what was that you put in that stuffing mix, then?" but I certainly felt slighted.

                        1. re: Allstonian

                          Sorry that happened to you.

                          eta..I 've met you and I'd have tried to get you some shoulder.

                          1. re: 9lives

                            I was with Allstonian during the Pork Shoulder Incident, and I have to reiterate: they weren't actively being dicks to us or anything, they're just never anything more than coolly civil. The thing is, I don't recall them treating any other customer with an excess of bonhomie: frankly, I've always found butchers in general to tend toward the surly.

                            John is very much the exception, and even he's not the hail-fellow-well-met type: as Allstonian recently pointed out, he's never given any indication that he knows that she's been going to his shop since she was a kid!

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              3 0r 4 times a year is not a regular.

                              That's still not anexcuse for not getting yourpork shoulder.

        2. Fresh Pond Market on Huron Ave has a real, old-fashioned and very obliging butcher department. I'd call first, tho, if you're very definite about what you want.

          4 Replies
          1. re: fantundo

            I'll second Fresh Pond market, especially since you're already in Cambridge.
            the prices will be more reasonable than Savenor's and they're very obliging about getting special orders. It's nice to talk to an actual butcher instead of a supermarket meat counter employee. One thing to remember with them, is that they have a very small display case, but lots of stuff in the walk in, so just because you don't see it doesn't mean they don't have it.

            1. re: cpingenot

              A third for Fresh Pond - inquired about a (boneless) pork loin roast larger than what was on display in the case rather than taking two small ones -they were really friendly and butchered it for me right there on the spot - it was excellent - and the price was also really good. I would call first for availability, but the service, value, and quality makes them my first stop now.

              1. re: rlh

                Actually its four of us as my vote above to Huron Supermarket as best butcher is Fresh Pond Supermarket (I always get the name wrong for some strange reason). Used to regularly run into Peter Wolf buying wine and things there, although that hasn't happened in a long time.

                1. re: itaunas

                  I was in line behind Yo Yo Ma once, and I saw Stephen Pinker there once! I think it's probably a great place for "celebrity" watching of a certain sort (academics, musicians, hedge fund managers).....
                  I was so spoiled when that was my "corner market" It's consistently high quality in so many areas (good wine selection, good condiments and spices, good meats, good bread) Produce is a little weak compared to the other parts of the store, but fine. Dairy is also slightly weak, but given how close formaggio is, it doesn't really make sense for them to try to compete.
                  It's not the cheapest place to shop for staples, but the markup is comparable to the corner store I 'm near now, and the selection is so much better.

          2. Whoops, when I saw "Favorite Butcher" I was going to suggest Gordon & Alperin, the kosher butcher in Newton. They are excellent and highly skilled, albeit pricey. But they are also not for pork loin.

              1. re: skippy66

                Second Concord Prime. I've been buying fish from the family on the pier for years. They carry Brandt beef and Mike, the owner is passionate about food and quality. A good excuse for me to rent a car or go for a long bike ride..:)

              2. The Butcher Shop is great. Their customer service is out of this world, especially when trying to get a more obscure hunk of meat. They aren't the cheapest, but they aren't horrible either. When you custom order the more obscure stuff, they only charge what their purveyor charges them. I got a venison shoulder once from them and it was only $10 a pound. I'd say its worth calling to find a price.

                1. Update: My father in law, a master of roasting in his own right, has volunteered to pick up a bone-in pork loin for me from Meat Spot in Watertown. I've had good lamb steaks from them before and he just adores them. I can't argue with not having to do all the legwork myself.

                  Opinions?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: heypielady

                    How much do they charge for their lamb steaks?

                    1. re: Taralli

                      Gosh, it was last summer when I got them. I don't remember but I'll check with my FIL to see if he remembers. I don't recall them being too expensive. FIL made them on the grill one night and they were outstanding. Meat Spot had seasoned them. They came out juicy and tender. I went in myself and asked about lamb steaks and they came out with lamb shanks or something and I pressed them about the steaks... they said they didn't have them... I played dumb and said "really? because my father in law got them last week." They went back and prepared them for me... He's a regular and I do think he gets special treatment there.

                  2. Check out McKinnon's in Everett. Decent price, great quality. When I used to do a crown roast for Xmas, I always bought it from them