The soul of a meat market is its customers. Southern Illinois is lucky to be home to a number of local, family-owned meat markets: Arnold’s Market in Carbondale, Louie’s P&R in Herrin and Jack’s Meat Market in Murphysboro. These markets specialize in providing great products and amazing service, and in many cases have been around for years.
“Quality. Number one over everything else is quality. We have not changed styles since the original owners, though we have tried to keep up with the same quality or even trying to make it better,” said Josh Simpson, Meat Department Manager at Arnold’s Market.
The focus on quality is also apparent at Louie’s P&R.
“Quality products that we serve to our customers is number one. Number two is the quality service we give. It’s a friendly family atmosphere when you walk in. There are so many loyal customers that we get to know. We want people to greet you, thank you, and get to know you. People like that,” said Tony Gualdoni, owner of Louie’s P&R.
Fall and winter roasts are popular among the customers at Arnold’s Market in the winter months.
"Roast, stew meats, anything for sauces, like ground beef and sausage, beef tenderloin roasts, ribeye roasts and steaks for grilling all year, especially in our mild climate in Southern Illinois,” said Simpson.
Warm soup and sandwiches are popular options at Louie’s P&R in colder months. Louie’s has a deli-style atmosphere so customers buy prepared items rather than raw meats to cook at home.
Jack’s has both options, with a butcher shop as well as a deli where customers can order sandwiches and other items.
Vegans and vegetarians
Vegans and vegetarians might think finding options at a butcher shop or deli is impossible, but local markets try to provide them with options. Louie’s P&R offers vegetable sandwiches with or without cheese.
Arnold’s has a selection of tofu and meatless products in their refrigerated aisle. “Customers can find vegan and vegetarian items in our natural food aisle and produce section. We have black bean burgers, tofu products and a line of vegan products. We try to provide the vegan area with what we can,” said Simpson.
Creating the perfect holiday meal takes good ingredients. Arnold’s recommends a standing rib roast or a beef tenderloin roast for holiday meals.
“It is a special time of the year and a standing rib or beef tenderloin roast is a really nice roast that can impress a lot of people. They are expensive, so if you want something more budget-friendly a chuck roast or a pork roast can be a good option. This way you can still have a nice holiday roast,” said Simpson.
Louie’s P&R has a variety of deli trays that can be ordered in advance. Simply order and pick-up for a stress-free gathering.
“They are perfect for family get-togethers where people want something quick. Meat trays, sandwiches and chips are quick, easy and delicious,” said Gauldoni.