"We wanted something that was good for the neighborhood," says Jim Coley, the midtown Gomer's wine director. "I love what Alex [Pope] is doing [at Local Pig], but there isn't anything like that here."
And so Coley and the folks at Gomer's went out and found themselves a butcher.
"We went out and shook the trees, and Greg [Madouras] fell out," Coley joked while standing in the nearly completed shop last Friday.
"Butchers don't grow on trees," Madouras fired back. "We cut meat."
Madouras got his start as a grocery-store sacker growing up in Stanley, Kansas. At the age of 18, he was offered the chance to learn how to butcher, and 28 years later, he's still in the business. A number of the men in his family have cut meat. His grandfather, Harold, was a butcher, and his great-uncle, Valentine Niebergall, worked for Hormel Foods from its inception. With the Broadway Butcher Shop, he thinks he can remind people why they need a butcher in their lives.
"I want to bring back something that was lost," Madouras says. "I want to educate my customers and have them come back and tell me how everything was. I want to build a relationship with them."
Madouras has been renovating the space since July, remodeling everything except the pressed-tin ceiling. A black and silver deli case hums just to the left of the front door. It will be filled with meats and cheeses, including Madouras' own smoked turkey that he'll slice to order. In the coming months, he expects to add house pastrami, corned beef and rotisserie chicken. Madouras had previously run Greg the Grilling Guy, a catering business that focused on smoking. Today, he's teaching his skills to Josh Johnson, 27, a former co-worker at Price Chopper.
"Butchers are getting older. This is about the next generation," Madouras says. "It's about doing things the right way."
The butcher shop has a smoker out back that is filled with fruit or hardwood depending on what's being smoked. A counter with the cash register, which is in the process of being delivered, was constructed from reclaimed barn wood and decorated with pieces of Madouras' family history. His grandfather's bicycle hangs suspended on the wall behind the counter, and a tabletop radio sits adjacent to a deli case that will hold steaks, lamb, veal and Duroc pork.
"Everything we do will be old-school," Madouras says. "The difference for us will be in service and skill."
Madouras will smoke slab bacon, sliced to the thickness you request. He has plans for maple bacon and jalapeno bacon. A third case will hold sausage and ready-made dinners: bacon-wrapped scallops and asparagus, beef pinwheels and chicken roll-ups.
"Everybody has brats made with brown sugar and pineapple," Madouras says. "We just want to do something different."
That means white wine and red wine sausage made with a blend of meats with natural casing. In addition to poultry (pieced and whole chickens from area Amish farmers, turkeys), a case along the far wall will have fresh seafood. Madouras has a steamer that can be used to prepare shrimp on-site.
A stand-alone freezer will have scallops, shrimp and wild game depending on availability. Madouras has plans to stock kangaroo, elk, emu, venison and alligator. The retail space next door, the area that previously held the craft-beer fridges at Gomer's temporary store, will be stocked with dry goods, charcoal, wood, knives and potentially a line of smokers. Madouras will also be selling his own rubs and marinades.
"Nobody has a sharp knife these days," he says. "And the two things you need when you get married are a pickup truck and a sharp knife."
The Broadway Butcher Shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 816-931-2333 (BEEF), and the website (which is not yet live) is broadwaybutchershop.com.
"One of us will always be here until we close," Madouras says. "I want people to know what it was like to have a neighborhood butcher shop."