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A butcher shop born out of pandemic is here to stay, according to the couple behind the Mount Pleasant venture. In June, Purple Patch owner Patrice Cleary refashioned the bottom floor of her Filipino restaurant to make room for her romantic partner, Chef Bill Williamson, to sell gourmet cuts of meat, seafood, and fresh pasta. “We’re going to keep building it,” Cleary says. “We have a bigger vision for it. The Butcher’s Market just scratches the surface.”
Over the past six months, restaurants have experimented with introducing retail components to their operations to try to bring in additional revenue and connect with customers. Some sold bundles of fresh produce from their favorite local farms, some built out pantries of speciality and staple ingredients, and others bottled their sauces and spice blends. Few have brought in a band saw and started a butcher shop.
Williamson was at Harris Teeter one day very early in the pandemic when Washingtonians were scrambling to stock their refridgerators. “It was chaos at the butcher stand,” he says. “I’m looking at the products. They’re not that great quality. People are going crazy over it. I can do that better with better product.”
A couple months later, The Butcher’s Market was up and running. There was no marketing push. “It was really something that was small and personal for the community,” Cleary says. She and Williamson live five minutes away. “This is for the Mount Pleasant community to keep to itself or tell others. We’ve seen it branch out through our friends.”
The extensive menu, which can be found online for pre-ordering, includes duck breasts, spicy fennel sausages, bone-in pork shoulder, venison, oxtail, lamb porterhouse, dry-aged ground beef, and jars of bacon jam. The butcher doubles as a seafood counter with everything from salmon, swordfish, tuna, and branzino to scallops, mussels, and East Coast sea urchin. Spices and condiments like mushroom sea salt and chimichurri sauce can help transform customers’ home cooking.
But Williamson, who has cooked at Birch & Barley, The Riggsby, Osteria Morini, and BLT Prime, is most enthusiastic about the prime cuts of beef he sells such as A-5 Japanese ribeye, dry-aged porterhouse, and dry-aged tomahawk ribeye. The chef calls himself a “meat-tender” because of the personalized experience he offers customers who arrive curious about the products they’re buying.
“I want to focus on the band saw and doing the fabrication right in front of them,” Williamson says, likening himself to a bartender shaking and stirring. “They can ask questions about how to cook it. We’ve had a lot of return guests.”
Sometimes Williamson will crack open some cans of beers with regular customers and watch playoff hockey while shooting the shit about meat. The couple loves it when patrons tag “The Butcher’s Market” in social media posts showing off what they’ve grilled or seared at home. Williamson also offers a knife-sharpening service.
The Butcher’s Market is open by appointment only on Mondays and Tuesdays. The hours Wednesdays through Fridays are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays they’re open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When you visit The Butcher’s Market, also consider visiting the top floor of Purple Patch where Clearly has built out a robust market that sells everything from breakfast sandwiches to frozen cocktails and fresh flowers. Purple Patch is currently offering takeout and delivery, plus outdoor dining in a streatery that spans eight parking spaces.
The Butcher’s Market, 3155 Mount Pleasant St. NW; 202-676-7130; thebutchersmarketmtp.com