When Butcher on Butler opened in the former Lawrenceville home of Foster's Meats this February, the most obvious part of the inheritance was the awning, which still advertises the family butcher shop. But while Rob Voigt, a co-owner of the new shop, says the awning will be replaced "eventually," he plans to hold onto other aspects of the family legacy. Like its famous kielbasa.
Acquiring the Fosters' kielbasa recipe "was a big part" of the deal to purchase the shop from the family, says Voigt. "It's a neighborhood favorite."
That's just one of the ways Voigt and his three partners are preserving, and strengthening, community ties. The shop's display cases are filled with regionally sourced meat: lamb from Elysian Fields, steaks from Jubilee Hilltop Ranch and poultry from Gerber Farms. Even closer to hand is what Voigt calls "the largest smokehouse in Western Pennsylvania": a 60-year-old, two-story smokehouse behind the store.
Voigt is planning a grand-opening event for mid-May. But judging from the foot traffic on a recent Saturday morning, the shop's neighbors are already returning its embrace of all things local.
"I couldn't be happier," says Joe Kelly, a Lawrenceville business-owner who's helped guide Lawrenceville's revitalization — and who was visiting the store for the third time that week. "The smoked Scottish salmon is off the charts. We wanted artisans, and these guys are artisans."