After months of planning, Alabama native Erica and Jersey local Will Messmer have finally begun seeing the fruits of their labor with their upcoming butcher shop, Darke Pines. The husband-and-wife team recently launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help get their shop up and running. What's in it for you? Quality meat in your neighborhood, for starters. Their pledge rewards will also have you throwing cash their way (as well as salivating) – everything from 1 pound of house-smoked bacon, to a special tasting dinner with elite chef Mathew Peters.
This foodie couple felt there was a gap in the Jersey City market, and didn't want to have to trek into New York to get quality meat. Their shared passion for the spirit and "roll-your-sleeves-up" attitude of butcher shops has brought a familial trade of Will's alive. His grandfather was a butcher, and after retiring, moved to a small town called Darke Pines, Ohio, now the shop's namesake.
Set to open next year, this will be the first and only shop of its kind in downtown Jersey City, selling locally sourced and sustainably raised meat. "Meat is food in its most primal form, and when it's done right, it's better for the land, the animals, the farmers, and our health." Will and Erica are extremely conscious of the effects that the meat industry has on the environment, the animals; all meat is not created equal. Their focus is on getting their products from local farms in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and ensuring that the animals are treated right and that the negative impacts on the environment are minimal.
This is a decision that I think the Jersey City community will welcome with open arms. All of the meat will be broken down in-house by an expert head butcher into perfectly sized cuts to take home. While this might sound intimidating to the home cook, the Messmers are set out to make the entire experience helpful by bringing a spoonful of Southern charm and a helping of hospitality. The entire staff, both front and back of the house, will be there to help you and advise if you have questions. Darke Pines will "have a feel, where even though you may not know very much about meat, we'll help you figure it out."
Knowledge and service like this, combined with premium products are what is going to keep customers coming back for more. The couple is even planning on providing recipes printed out and ready to go to "furnish people with inspiration." Some of the recipes will even be from their personal collection, and all will be easy to make and produce elevated results. The idea is to "eat whatever you want to eat, but cook it yourself. We want people to cook at home. And we want people to feel comfortable cooking at home." So, come early 2018, this cut of heaven will be a reality: sustainably sourced meat and professional recipes at our fingertips.
Written by Sasha Kleinman
Born and raised in NJ, Sasha is a recent transplant to Jersey City and has become obsessed with everything the city has to offer. Sasha is a fashion copywriter by day, and die-hard Jane Do enthusiast and (vegetarian) foodie by night. When she's not stuffing her face at one of Chilltown's amazing restaurants, having a couple brewskis at the local brewery Departed Soles, or snuggling with your dog, Sasha is busy traveling the globe with camera (and fork) in hand. Follow her wide array of adventures @sksashafierce and @the_hungry_growlers!