|Noah Grobart and Ben Stern specialize in local meats at Pastaworks.|
by Nate Rafn
The Pastaworks butcher shop on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland is operated by Noah Grobart and Ben Stern, two butchers who are young, yet highly skilled. Together, they break down whole pigs and primal quarters of aged beef, which are delivered weekly by Eat Oregon First, a producer and distributor of several Oregon-grown food products.
The pork is from Payne Family Farms in Carlton; the beef is from The Basque Ranch, located about 30 miles south of The Dalles.
"We are a very European-style market where we work everything off of the whole carcass," says Grobart. "We're one of the few places in Portland that does that."
Indeed, many butcher shops these days work with sub-primal cuts, as it saves on labor costs and reduces a lot of waste. But there's something special about an old-fashioned butcher shop that sells a wide array of steaks, roasts, house-made sausages, and hard-to-find cuts such as hanger steak or petite tender. It's even better if the butcher can tell you where the meat comes from and how it was raised. Pastaworks hits on these points.
Grobart and Stern are still working to perfect their craft. But their differing backgrounds and respective skill sets are useful in their growth as butchers.
"We're kind of like 'The A-Team' of butcher shops," says Grobart. "We each have these different skills that we put together."
Grobart's experience is mainly with butchery, while Stern spent time in the restaurant industry.
"I started in kitchens," says Stern. "My last job was running a fairly fancy kitchen. The most challenging ingredient was always the meat. The more I learned about it, the more I wanted to learn."
Pastaworks has three locations in Portland. You can find Ben Stern and Noah Grobart inside the Meat Department at the Hawthorne store. For more information, visit www.pastaworks.com.
3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214
Monday through Saturday, 9:30am to 7pm
Sundays, 10am to 7pm
Christmas Eve, 9am to 4pm
Christmas Day, Closed
New Year's Day, Closed