You won't find bacon or pork chops at the new butcher shop, but adventurous, health-minded cooks may be inspired by new options for the carnivorous — various cuts of goat, a whole lamb or goat for barbecuing, and a wide selection of halal meats.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted, and in the meat department, it shares some characteristics with kosher food.
Chestnut-Encinal's meat comes from farm-raised animals and has no contact with pork, said market owner Mansoor Rahmani. That appeals to customers familiar with kosher meats.
“We have a lot of Jewish customers coming in,” said Juan Ochoa, the new butcher.
Other customers are looking for something a little more exotic.
“When we opened, goat was the first meat to run out,” Ocho said. “Many customers haven’t seen it before.”
Shoppers may also place orders for a whole lamb or goat. Ochoa said he can have orders ready for roasting or barbecuing within two days, if the supply is available.
Rahmani, who bought the store two years ago, said he was looking for a niche market.
"A lot of our clientele are looking for healthy meat," he said.
Rahmani caters to them with free-range chicken and as much hormone-free, grass-fed, locally sourced meat as possible. The butcher grinds his own meat twice a day, morning and evening, ensuring that it's fresh.
“Our mission is freshness and quality,” said Ochoa.
Along with the unusual, the butcher counter carries more familiar items: beef steaks and extra-lean ground beef, lamb shanks, rack of lamb, ground veal. They'll try to supply what the customer wants.
“They should ask me if they don’t see anything,” said Ochoa.
Customers get an added perk. If the thought of cooking goat shanks fills you with trepidation, store manager Jason Kibler, a graduate of culinary school, is happy to offer tips on how best to cook goat or any of the other meats on offer.