Leighann Smith earned the nickname “Meat Mama” while running the charcuterie and butcher department at Cochon Butcher. For the past couple of years, Smith and her partner Dan Jackson have been running the popup Piece of Meat Butcher at bars across the city, selling handmade sausages and smoked meats (Smith's bologna is featured in the fried bologna sandwich at Turkey & The Wolf). This week, the pair are opening a butcher and sandwich shop of the same name in Mid-City.
[jump] On April 21, Piece of Meat Butcher opens at 3301 Bienville St. The shop is a team effort from Smith, Jackson and the owners of nearby Bayou Wine Garden - Virginia and David Demarest, Fiona Delargy and Dean DiSalvo. Piece of Meat will specialize in whole animal butchery and charcuterie. Those items can be bought in-store, and in sandwiches and small plates. Piece of Meat also will supply meats to the wine garden.
The team designed the space and did a lot of the construction work themselves and with the help of friends and local wood workers and carpenters. The decor features white tile, antique meat grinders and hooks, a long blonde Cypress bar with seating for 10 and ample outdoor space at picnic tables. Smith says a retail component will include coffee from Congregation Coffee Roasters, as well as a selection of cheese and charcuterie, canned fish and olive oil for sale. The shop’s owners have applied for a liquor license.
The sandwich menu includes a brisket medley with pickled red onions, horseradish mayonnaise and barbecue sauce on a bun. A smoked chicken salad sandwich has celery, onion and Sriracha. A Cubano is made with slow-cooked porchetta, ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles and yellow mustard on Cuban bread from nearby Latin bakery Norma’s. A roasted rib-eye sandwich is made with balsamic red onions, red pepper aioli and arugula on a bun.
Small plates and sides include boudin nachos with house-made boudin, fried pork skin, nacho cheese sauce and candied jalapenos. There's also a daily pot pie and rib plates served with potato salad. It might be one of the first local shops to join the national trend of serving so-called lard "candles," which melt into a pool of dipping fat and are served with warm bread.
The menu also features charcuterie and cheese boards, sausage and boudin plates, a farro salad and sesame-marinated cucumbers.
Smith and Jackson butcher and cure everything in-house, and a wide selection of raw, cured and smoked meats will be available out of a deli case. There are strip steaks, rib-eyes, pork chops, pork belly and pork tenderloin, cured country ham, pancetta, guanciale, jerky, country-style terrine, smoked duck breasts and andouille.
Piece of Meat Butcher will be open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Brunch will be served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.