Old-school butchers are making a comeback in Oak Park, and Pan’s Food Center, which recently changed ownership, is getting its own.
The grocery store at 824 S. Oak Park Ave. was recently sold from long-time co-owner Steve Vlahos to Arthur Paris, who also owns Carnival Foods grocery store in Lincoln Park, but instead of keeping the status quo with the meat counter, the store is contracting with West Loop Butchers.
Benjamin Harrison, co-owner of West Loop Butchers, said the meat counter will provide antibiotic- and hormone-free cuts and will have a chef behind the counter to provide expert cooking advice.
Harrison said he and a group of butchers considered purchasing the grocery store last year, but ultimately decided against the acquisition. He said that instead West Loop Butchers will lease the space from Pan’s under the moniker Harrison Quality Meats.
The butcher shop will offer traditional cuts as well as hard-to-get meats such as pheasant, duck and boar. Harrison also will feature a game of the week and other specialty meats such as alligator and frog legs.
He said the meats are locally sourced and Harrison processes “whole animals direct from the farm.”
And if the meat isn’t readily available, Harrison said he can make specialty orders for customers.
“We will carry grass-fed beef, grain-finished beef, bison, Amish-raised chickens, pasture-raised pork and a line of game meats, including Illinois-raised Whitetail venison and Indiana duck,” Harrison said in an email.