Red Table Meat Company, one of Minnesota’s best-regarded makers of charcuterie and a key tenant of Northeast’s Food Building, will call it quits at the end of 2022. We’ve followed founder Mike Phillips since his days of slinging first-rate charcuterie at the Craftsman on East Lake Street (we named him Best Chef in 2009), and it’s no exaggeration to say that the quality of work produced by Red Table has changed the game statewide in terms of quality, locally made meat products. His farewell statement singles out Erik Sather of Lowry Hill Meats as a successor vendor at Food Building.
The statement from Phillips:
Red Table Meat Company will be closing at the end of 2022. We have had 8 great years of trying to make some of the finest quality salumi in the U.S. When we started in 2014, we initiated a model of buying whole pigs from local farmers to highlight the special animal husbandry we saw in Minnesota. We worked with great farmer partners who were raising heritage breed pigs and made upwards of 30 different products from those pigs, dry cured and cooked.
When we recognized that model was not sustainable in 2018 (too much waste), we moved to sourcing meat from great heritage pigs and keeping up with our young fresh salami program. Unfortunately the cost of creating a high quality product that is extremely labor intensive has become more and more prohibitive as the price of labor has risen and retailer, staff and consumer needs have changed in the last couple of years.
We want to pay folks what they deserve to make and still create a product that is very authentic and valuable. In current times many retailers are telling us that they can no longer afford the labor to have someone stand behind a counter and take care of our products. The increased demand for sliced, packaged salami was something that we have always battled for a number of reasons, but it seems that we have come to an impasse.
We have appreciated support from many corners these last eight years–great distributors, creative and beautiful retailers, supportive and forward thinking restaurants and fantastic customers eating the product we believe they have recognized as stellar.
We also want to thank the tireless bunch of folks who have endured early morning long cold hours to make a fabulous product at the Red Table plant. Without them, we would be nothing. The cutters, packagers, and shipping folks, as well as the amazing support folks we have had over the years. Thank you.
In closing, we are looking at what might work in this space to keep the idea of “good meat here” alive. The idea is of a model for whole animal butchery to include pork, beef, lamb and goat. Further processing is possible in the space, with an eye toward retail cuts and value added products specific to the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The first person we talked with was Erik Sather and his team at Lowry Hill Meats. We look forward to supporting the transition to that model with Erik leading future meat operations at Food Building. You will be in good hands.