Story by Jenny Paulson – Before chain stores like King Soopers, Safeway, Walmart and Sam’s Club came to town, locals relied on neighborhood meat markets, where butchers interacted directly with local home cooks, often sharing street corners with bakers, barbers and mom-and-pop grocers (photo here of Pueblo’s 100 plus year old Gagliano’s Italian Market and two of the historic Franks Meat Market).
While the momentum of the shop local/sustainablity movement has brought back the trend of buying meat from new dedicated butcher shops throughout the U.S., Puebloeans never quit supporting their local, longtime butcher shops, several of which are now managed by third and fourth-generation butchers, continuing the tradition of custom cutting meats. Many local businesses, including multiple custom meat markets, have thrived for generations in Pueblo because locals have a tradition of fiercely supporting their local establishments that have that special “hometown feel” they enjoy. Such support has allowed our city of just over 100,000 to support businesses that fell by the wayside elsewhere.
If you are a “newbie” to Pueblo, and you haven’t packed into a meat market with locals, cueing up to buy fresh cut custom meat, it’s a tradition you’ll likely enjoy. At Pueblo’s locally owned meat markets, you’ll learn the names of local butchers and their staff, who’ll serve you with the type of expertise, home town service and smiles that you won’t find at the chain stores. You’ll also find local specialty products that reflect Pueblo’s cultural diversity and unique cuisine, such as Slovenian or Italian Sausage, that you won’t find elsewhere.
Nationally and locally, butcher shops are finding that many consumers think local farm and meat products are healthier and more trustworthy than those from national chain grocery stores. A bonus of living in Pueblo, is that we are surrounded by multi-generational farms and ranches that cater to local meat markets, many of which grow organic foods and organically raised animals, readily available at farmer’s. markets and meat shops.
The demand for meat products from organically raised animals has increased substantially, and even regular grocery stores are increasingly stocking their stores with what’s considered healthier meats, along with grass-fed meat and with speciality meats from breeds marketed as special (like Angus). This is a trend that is in favor of local farmers and ranchers, and Pueblo’s local meat market owners.
That so many locals care the traditional local butcher connection and shop locally for their meat products, has helped sustain Pueblo’s mom-and-pop meat markets, where butchers and those behind the counter provide special service and meat guidance to build the type of trusted relationships that were valued in the good old days, still fashionable in modern day Pueblo.
In keeping with the Pueblo tradition, support of our local butchers, who provide insight into types of fresh meat cuts and the best ways to prepare and cook various products, will allow for the sustainability of our dedicated butcher shop/meat market tradition.
Here are your choices of markets in the Pueblo area, some of which are historic icons and others that are up and coming, each of which, providing unique products:
FRANK’S MEAT MARKET | 2000 Santa Fe Dr, Pueblo, CO 81006 | 719-542-6615 | Owned by the Javornik family
Franks Meat Market is an old fashioned meat market and grocery store, located in the Mesa, just east of Pueblo, where you’ll find lots of advise and can watch an expert butcher cut meat and custom wrap it to your specifications. Frank’s sells only the best quality meat products (including grass-fed beef, wild game and exotic meats) and speciality sausage. They are the only meat market to serve exclusive Pueblo-Bojon style Klobasi (Slovenian sausage), that was popular in the day. They also have a fantastic selection of gourmet and grocery items.
The late Frank Javornik, grandfather of the family members still running the Frank’s Meat Market (named after him) today, immigrated to Pueblo from Slovenia, then called Yugoslavia, in the 1920s. He launched his market in 1947 at the location where it still stands. Frank Jr managed the market for many years, but after his passing, the third generation took over, although his wife, Joanne, still helps out. Their son, James Javornik now manages this Pueblo staple, and works with three of his four siblings, Frank Javornik, III, Terrie and Eddie.
GAGLIANO’S ITALIAN MARKET & MEAT MARKET | 1130 W Northern Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004 | Gagliano’s Italian Market & Deli – 1220 Elm St, Pueblo, CO 81004 | 719-544-6058Owned by the Gagliano family
Gagliano’s Italian Market, fondly called “Gags,” by long time locals, is one of Pueblo’s oldest, most historical and authentic old fashioned deli and market, in business for over 100 years, at the same location in the Bessemer neighborhood on the South Side of Pueblo. It was was established in 1921 by Joseph and Carmela Gagliano.
At this quant little market, you’ll meet friendly Gagliano family members (Josephine, Tony, Vince and Bonnie), who are carrying on the family tradition of serving speciality meats and sausages, cold cut sandwiches, cheeses, pastas, and Italian deli and grocery items, including some that are imported from Italy.
The market and deli are located on Elm Street at their historic building where you’ll check out with an antique cash register. Gagliano’s Meat Market is located on Northern Avenue, where fresh cuts of meat are made, including their homemade sausage, made from recipes passed down through the generations.
BAY’S MEAT MARKET: Bounty and Yield Meat Market | 2029 S Pueblo Blvd. Pueblo, CO 81005 | 719-242-1928 | www.baysmeatmarket.comOwned by Ernie and Becky Meyer
Bay’s Meat Market has become a destination market that is clean and modern, still but homespun. Locally owned by Ernie and Becky Meyer, this place has the largest selection of high quality, guaranteed to be all-natural meat products, including beef, pork, chicken and bison, cut fresh and made to order daily. They also make over 25 types sausages in-house with recipes from all over the world.
The Meyer’s say the term all-natural is commonly used but is misleading, and that that not all meats marketed as such (especially box store meats) are really minimally processed, with no artificial ingredients and from animals that are grass-fed. So they created a slogan that “Never, Ever” will there be any hormones, steroids or antibiotics in their meat products. They say no other shop in the state, located south of Colorado Springs, serves all fresh range fed, non-gmo grain finished meat.
The Meyers have created closed ties with ranchers in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region, to ensure that their meats are also as locally-sourced as possible, raised organically by those they trust. While still offering the folksy, friendly service locals enjoy, they are cutting edge, offering orders from their website and delivery to local restaurants, businesses and homes.
DOUBLE J MEATS, INC 701 E 4th St, Pueblo, CO 81001 | 719-542-2118 | Owned by Joe Fox
One of Pueblo’s long time businesses, Double J Meat Market, almost always has a packed parking lot of loyal customers, from all over our town and the region. Locals rave about their quality cuts, friendly service, and prices (that they say beats grocery stores) and about how products are hand wrapped in special paper to stay fresh longer.
Double J’s sells fresh meat/steak, ground beef, ham, pork, chorizo, hot dogs, sausage, stuffed pork chops, brisket, chicken breasts and thighs, lunch meats, salads, cheese jalapeno, tamales, picked and pimento loafs, corn dogs, cheese, tortillas, condiments and a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, when in season, including green chile.
The business started out as a neighborhood East Side butcher shop by Joe Fox and a fellow Texan, who both moved to Pueblo, then established Double J Meats on on June 1, 1954. The store is still managed by Fox and his family members, who are celebrating 55 years in the butcher business this year.
EL RODEO MEAT MARKET 1200 E Evans Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004 | 719-543-7476 Locals say they can get fresh cut meat at El Rodeo Meat Market, fresher and at a better price than at big box stores. This neighborhood Bessemer meat market and grocery store has a beautiful meat counter with friendly English and Spanish speaking employees behind it. They cut their meat fresh and give lots of attention to their customers. In addition to steaks, hamburger, pork, chicken and other meats, they have ready a popular ready made fajita mix with peppers and onions, and other Mexican style meat including pastor pork. They also have fresh bread, pastries, tortillas, spices and other Mexican food.
SONORA’S MEAT MARKET 1334 E 21st Street and 1327 S. Prairie Avenue | 719-542-0206
Sonora’s Meat Market, located in Belmont, is a family-owned Mexican style market and grocery store, with a small take out restaurant inside. They have a great selection and affordably priced meat, including a popular fajita mix and barbacoa that they make in-house. At Sonora’s you’ll find a friendly, bilingual staff to help you purchase meat or Mexican grocery items, that include drinks, tortillas, chips, vegetables, cheeses, spices and all things Mexican to cook with at home. Try their menu items, for authentic food.
Story by Jenny Paulson / Pueblo Eats / Pueblo Independent / For all things Pueblo-food join https://www.facebook.com/groups/PuebloEatsAndEntertains/