Belcampo Meat Co. will open the doors to its new 1,000-square-foot flagship butcher shop on Saturday. The new location will also have a restaurant and bar that will open April 12 for dinner service, with a menu created by Maiki Le, formerly of Josie, and cocktails and beverages by Josh Goldman and Julian Cox. Brunch and then all-day dining will come soon.
Need meat, fish — and a bakery? The 1000 block of Wilshire in Santa Monica will be even more of a food-shopping destination, as the new location is on the same side of the street as nearby Santa Monica Seafood and Huckleberry.
Head butcher Alex Jermasek originally started learning the craft at Lindy & Grundy, then went on to work at Ink, Short Order, and ChiSPACCA. Winning a chicken butchery competition at Eat Real Fest, Jermasek caught the attention of Belcampo’s CEO, Anya Fernald. That eventually led to a job at Belcampo, where he worked at their Marin shop and restaurant, spent time at their farm at the base of Mt. Shasta, and helped open the Grand Central Market location
Now Jermasek and his team are filling the cases of the new Santa Monica location with beef, pork, lamb, poultry and rabbit. They will also sell pre-seasoned meats and ready-pack cooked meals. The shop will also be responsible for butchering all of the meats served at its 86-seat restaurant. Belcampo will be selling its new cookbook alongside a house ketchup, steak sauce, a couple rubs, jerky and their new salami.
“The thing about Belcampo, we own the farm, we own the slaughterhouse and we have control over those products. For me as a butcher, there's nothing better than to be able to call the farmer on the phone,” says Jermasek.
Spending a few months at the Belcampo farm learning about sustainable farming practices and at the slaughterhouse made an impression.
“As a butcher, it is easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of butchery. Going to the farm reminds you that you are not the only person in this chain. You see you are part of something much larger. It is inspiring talk to some of the educated people who work there,” says Jermasek.
Belcampo president Bronwen Hanna-Korpi took a break from a final day of construction details and staff training to talk about why the new Santa Monica Belcampo is important to their Southern California expansion and the company as a whole.
“L.A. is a market that is really interested in health, which is amazing for us. We want to be on the forefront, but we don’t want to be inaccessible. We don't want to be a hipster butcher.”
When asked to choose a favorite cut of meat, Jermasek recommends a classic preparation for rib-eye or New York steak. “Sear on both sides, then baste in butter, garlic and thyme. Slice and throw a little sea salt on there and it is done. The ability to taste the beef on its own in its pure form really gives you an idea of what is going on here and the quality we have to offer.”
Fernald tried to contain her excitement for opening day. “I'm going to be here with my dad. We already have a lineup of people who are vying to be the first in line.” Fernald says the first thing they sold at the Grand Central Market location was the lamb's head. Perhaps not what the Westside crowd will be buying, although these days, you never know.
1026 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 451-5750, www.belcampomeatco.com.