When it opens next month, Seaside’s The Meatery will be a throwback rooted in retro, Rockwellian Americana. “We’re trying to bring back something old-fashioned: the neighborhood meat market,” chef-owner Jason Balestrieri says. But the vision also looks forward, with sustainably and ethically raised meats, some from local ranchers.
The Meatery has been a two-year labor of love for Balestrieri, who for 10 years served as executive chef at Carmel’s Cantinetta Luca, where he developed the restaurant’s signature salumi program with charcuterie cut and cured in-house. Joining Balestrieri is Kevin Hincks, a veteran of Cantinetta Luca and Restaurant 1833.
For a soft opening April 2 (at 1534 Fremont Blvd. in Seaside), The Meatery will do triple duty as meat market, sandwich shop, and deli. But in the future, they will add delivery and catering, then, pending permitting, become a licensed processing plant to create charcuterie and salami.
Weekly: What first got you into butchery?
Balestrieri: My upbringing in Milwaukee, my hometown. It’s a pretty sausage-forward, meat-forward area. I grew up eating bratwurst, Italian sausage, liverwurst, and everything in between.
What is the weirdest meat you’ve eaten?
[Aubergine Executive Chef] Justin [Cogley] fed us all cockscombs once, which I thought was kind of weird.
With increasing attention on carbon footprints, what do you think about the shift to eating less meat?
Meat, like alcohol, is probably best consumed in moderation. I’m not worried about whether meat is going to take a downturn. The education level of the consumer is higher, so maybe they’re not going to buy as much, but they’ll be more selective about what they’re buying. Obviously we’d like to fill that niche.