Once a staple of any neighborhood, the local butcher shop is making a comeback. Now Bloomfield is home to the recently opened D.J.'s Butcher Block Specialty Sausage and Meats.
D.J. Smulick is the proprietor of the Liberty Avenue shop. The West Deer native trained at the Culinary Institute of America, and has worked as a chef for the last 15 years. His goal is to offer fresh beef, pork, chicken, lamb and goat — much of it local.
Fresh sausage is made in house, with a rotating selection that includes popular preparations such as Italian (sweet and hot), bratwurst, kielbasa and chorizo, but also some exotic flavors, such as pumpkin-sage chicken and raspberry-chipolte chicken. (Smulick has also been selling sausages at area farmers' markets for the last three years.)
The meat here is hand-cut and includes less-common preparations. An over-stuffed chicken drumstick catches the eye of each curious customer who stops in, and Smulick explains it as a French leg, or as he calls it, "chicken osso bucco."
Smulick is still setting up with local vendors to fill the store's shelves with non-meat goods, but already he offers eggs, cheese, cider and some preserves and pickled items. He also plans to offer unusual meats or cuts, in tandem with a recipe. "I'll have all the ingredients in the shop," he says — adding, with a laugh, that even as butcher, he still thinks like a chef.