The Corner Butcher Shop in La Verne is not a supermarket. It’s a super market! Instead of miles of aisles of clangety-clang metal shopping carts rattling around corners, you have a homey, cheery 2700-square-foot shop dedicated to serving top quality meats and seafood, soups and salads, cheeses, boutique beers and wines, steak rubs and sauces, and deli-style sandwiches stacked high with roast beef, corned beef, pastrami or just about any cut of meat (buffalo, ostrich, anyone?) that you prefer.
The proprietors, John and Will Fuelling, are a couple of Michigan mid-westerners who grew up going to the corner butcher shop with their father and grandfather, and missing the experience, have tried to recreate it in La Verne on perhaps a somewhat larger corner (the Marshall’s center on the northeast corner of Foothill and Fruit). They would have both loved to be downtown, but with the much higher foot and vehicular traffic on the boulevard, the uptown option was the clear choice for their start-up venture.
Although John and Will know their way around an Angus bull (the front – chuck steak vs. the rear — round steak) the proprietors actually were for many years top lumber buyers for Home Depot. It’s only when a friend opened a successful butcher style shop in Atlanta that the boys saw a clear path to the deli case.
“Will and I decided to check it out,” John said. “The demographics of the area he was at versus what they were in La Verne were pretty much the same, except for one key ingredient: We have double the population within a three-mile radius that he had in a five-mile radius. Will also spent six weeks learning the ropes from his friend.”
More good fortune came in the help they were able to hire. They landed the Cordon Bleu-trained chef Ricky Brewer, widely recognized from his role in a popular restaurant reality show series, and master butcher Eric Murray from England, whose English bangers feature accents of apples and Guinness. Tina Gannon is the deli manager, who alongside Brewer, is responsible for the delicious smoked chicken, pasta, and tomato mozzarella salads.
“Everything is made from scratch,” John said. “It’s not like we go to Costco, get a five-gallon bucket and then put it in a pretty bowl.”
They can’t make the meat from scratch, but it comes well sourced – steaks from top producers in Iowa and Nebraska, pork from Neiman Ranch in Montana, free-range poultry locally from Pomona.
“It’s all corn-fed natural product,” John said. “There’s no hormones, no antibiotics, no drugs, none of that nonsense.”
Even the salmon is line-caught.
“It’s not farm-raised,” John said. “There’s a little bit of a price difference, but there’s a tremendous difference in texture, flavor and just the color.”
In other words, at The Corner Butcher Shop, you get what you pay for, plus a lot more. As an example, the Fuellings almost always offer some kind of daily special, such as “buy-one-get-one take home meals, half-off smoked meats, two-for-one sausages, 25% off beer and wine, dollar hot dog Fridays, $5/lb. off T-bones, etc. If you can take your eyes off the vast deli cases, you’ll also notice a wide array of sauces, spreads, and seasonings to complement your main course selections.
For upcoming holidays, customers should get their orders in early, for example, hams for Easter, bratwurst, sweet Italian sausage and kielbasa for Oktoberfest, pork crown roasts for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the list goes on. The Corner Butcher Shop also carries goose, duck, venison, kangaroo and other choices to satisfy the most discriminating palettes.
The best occasion to visit The Corner Butcher Shop is any time quality is important. The Fuellings will also host your next fundraiser or sales meeting with special-order breakfasts, lunches or dinners. The Damien Alumni Council takes a regular table once a month. Perhaps that’s why the Spartan basketball team recently ventured so far into the playoffs. It’s quality food in an old-fashioned setting.
Visit the coupon section in LaVerneOnline for some great discounts. Dine-in or take out. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You’ll find The Corner Butcher Shop at 2359 Foothill Blvd. in the Marshalls Store Center on the Northeast Corner of Foothill and Fruit Street. For more information, call (909) 596-6345 or visit www.cornerbutchershop.com