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Published: Saturday, 11/9/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

West Toledo butcher shop still doing it the old-fashioned way

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE FOOD EDITOR
Paul De Land, left, jokes with his brother Steve De Land as they trim and cut beef behind the counter. Paul De Land, left, jokes with his brother Steve De Land as they trim and cut beef behind the counter.
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Other butcher shops cut their own meat. But most of them buy it in a box and work on it from there.

Milo’s Meat Market, at 4508 Lewis Ave., is one of the few butchers left in Toledo — if not the only one — that does it the old-fashioned way. They buy their beef by the quarter — eight of them or so most weeks — hang it on a hook and slice it into cuts of meat from there.

And they’ve been doing it that way since the 1930s.

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Brothers Paul and Steve De Land run the shop now. They took over from their father, who bought it from Milo Reeve in 1970, and they have kept the traditional way of doing things. Their beef, pork, and even their chickens are hand cut. They grind their own sausages, about 50 pounds of kielbasa a week, but also a number of other varieties. They make several varieties of jerky, cure and cook their own pastrami, and cure their own corned beef brisket.

“TV shows have been good for us,” Paul De Land said. “People didn’t ever want brisket, until they saw the guys on TV with their smokers. Now we sell a lot of brisket.”

Because chuck is more popular than round, they order more front quarters than hind. The hind quarters, which are larger, weigh about 180 pounds, with the biggest ones reaching up to 200 pounds. These are all stored, aged, and divided into primal cuts in a cramped walk-in cooler.

And with those quarters of beef hanging from hooks, are they ever tempted to punch them, as in the movie Rocky?

“Everybody does that,” Mr. De Land said.

As much as they can, they sell local products, he said. The beef comes from Keystone Meats in Lima. The pork comes from J.H. Routh Packing Co. in Sandusky. They sell Garlic Expressions dressing from Perrysburg and an assortment of barbecue sauces from The Fremont Co..

With its sharp knives, band saw, and heavy, awkwardly shaped pieces of meat, butchery can be a dangerous business. “I had stitches twice in one week. That’s my claim to fame,” Mr. De Land said.

But the customers appreciate the extra effort and the homemade touch. The store sells the equivalent of two full cows a week and plenty of pork and chicken, plus the meat from a small deli case and an assortment of groceries. And when the holidays come, their numbers only increase.

“We do pretty good for a little store,” Mr. De Land said.

Contact Daniel Neman at: dneman@theblade.com or 419-724-6155.


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