Editor’s Note: Think Local is a part of a new campaign to highlight local businesses in our community.
Smoked eggs, gummy bear brats, and turdukens—a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey— are three specialties that put Rochester’s Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe on the culinary map. Terry Timm, the shop’s owner, says he wants his customers to take his products home and say, “That was dynamite.”
Timm started working at the Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe in 1977, three years after it opened. At that time, the shop was located in Rochester Meats on East Center Street. Since then, it has split from Rochester Meats and moved a number of times: from West 7th Street to Valhalla Shopping Center before landing in its present location at 902 7th Street NW in Rochester. Timm has owned the shop for the last 20 years.
Despite the fact that the Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe is a specialty shop, it has the nostalgia of a neighborhood corner store. On a recent Monday afternoon, with a bicycle propped up outside, one young customer said, “Mom sent me down to pick up pork chops.”
While the shop harkens back to another era, it has also supported some of the latest advances in medical science. When the Mayo Clinic was fine tuning its proton beam, Dr. John Mullins ordered a selection of individually vacuum-packed cuts of meat, bones and organs from the shop to test the beam’s accuracy. “When I picked up the order, they refused payment and wished to donate the order,” said Dr. Mullins.
At the shop’s entrance, customers meet a large black and white concrete pig: a premonition of the pig collection on display inside. Peering out from between the many antique cleavers, sausage grinders, and colorfully printed lard tins lining the shop’s upper walls, a Vikings pig plaque, a hot pink pig made from a welded metal tank, and even a Christmas-clad miniature plastic pig are a few of the more than thirty pig statues inside the store.
Most likely, Suzanne Nisbit will greet you when you first walk in. She’s worked at the store for 18 years. She says one of the best things about the shop is that customers “can pick and choose which cuts look better to them.” The shop’s long glass display case is full of hand-cut steaks, smoked chops, and marinated kabobs. A butcher behind the case will wrap your half-pound of head cheese up in paper and let you decide how thickly it’s sliced.
Timm’s proud of the fact his shop undergoes rigorous daily inspections: “We are federally inspected. Most other markets are only state inspected,” he says.
A quick glance around the store, which stocks Roscoe’s barbecue sauce and Prescott’s freshly baked bread, shows that it supports other local businesses. Timm makes no bones about it, “I think local and family owned businesses are very important, especially in this day and age of big box stores. I think small business is customer-oriented and can provide a more personal experience to their customers.”