The Butcher Station – From Your Local Farms to Your Dinner Plates

by M.T. Decker

Opening a restaurant had been a long time dream for Sandy Gallagher and her brother Jimmy Parks. Jimmy had been in the restaurant business for over 20 years at that time, and Sandy had been working the restaurant at a local farmer’s market.

In 2011, they found the perfect space in Winchester, Virginia. Located in the Creekside Station Shopping center, the space was perfect for a butcher shop and restaurant.

Sandy and Jimmy’s focus has always been on fresh, sustainable, locally grown foods. Unlike many similar restaurants when they opened their doors, they already had the contacts they needed within the local farming community. They had, after all, worked with Sandy at the market.

“It’s one thing when you know the people you’re buying from,” Jimmy explained. “It’s another when you walk the grounds and see where and how the animals are raised; when you see the plants being grown.”

Seven years ago, when they opened the Butcher Station, Sandy and Jimmy had partnered with a butcher who sold fresh meats from the display cases, while they prepared food for their customers.

After a few years they expanded the restaurant, changing the focus from a butcher shop that sold food, to a restaurant that did its own butchering.

As the restaurant grew, they were joined by Jon Lander and together they have created something extraordinary.

“We make everything in-house,” Jon explains. “From the sauces to the pastrami.”

They cure their own meats and make their own sausage.

When it comes to beef, they start with either a side of beef or a whole cow.

“We can’t just order x number of steaks, or the cuts we want; we have to use the whole animal,” Jimmy explained.

It’s part of the challenge and part of the charm of the restaurant. They know everything that goes into the food they make.

“When you make something that takes two weeks to cure, you have to look ahead,” Jon added.

Because of this, the menu changes from day to day.

“We always have a fish dish and chicken,” Jon told me.

“But the rest depends on what we have and how we decide to butcher the beef,” Jimmy explains.

“We have to use the whole cow,” he added. “I mean, there’s always the standby of Salisbury Steaks and meatloaf, but we decide how thick to make the steaks and what dishes to make.”

This combination of locally sourced, fresh meat and produce, means that the food can be more expensive than larger chains; it also means you get a better cut of meat where you can taste the difference.

“People ask us about the seasoning,” Jon told me. “But most of the time, its just salt, pepper, and olive oil.”

The difference is the beef they buy comes from cows who are grass fed for most of their lives. Two weeks before they are to be sold, they are fed grain, adding fat to the meat.

Once they have the beef in-house, they begin preparing the meat.

The day I was there, they had pastrami they had made. They had used the New York Strip cut, coated it in pepper and coriander and then cold smoked it for flavor. Then, instead of frying the meat, they slow cooked it in the oven.

The result was what could only be described as the best pastrami I have ever had. It wasn’t overly salted or tough. It was tender and flavorful, everything pastrami should be.

It’s also another thing they have to take into consideration: when you have a product that takes two weeks to prepare, you have to know when to start the next batch, so nothing goes to waste while keeping a steady supply of meat.

Each day, they close down for an hour after lunch to prepare the dinner menu based on what’s available.

“We don’t always have pork,” Jon told me. “But we always have some fish and chicken.”

And of course, they have beef. In addition to the menu items, you can order different cuts of meat to take home, but you should call in advance since some cuts might be in limited supply.

In addition to butchering their own meat, the folks at the Butcher Station also make their own sauces and breads.

Another advantage to making the sauces is that they know what goes into everything they serve, so if you have special dietary needs they will help you find something you can eat.

I’m diabetic and on a rather strict low-carb diet. We had discussed this during the interview, and when I ordered their pastrami on rye (you can’t have pastrami without rye bread- its the way it was meant to be!) They asked me about the carbs and had no problem making it an open face sandwich, allowing me to enjoy the sandwich and still meet my dietary needs. They even helped me find side dishes that would keep me within the limits of my diet.

They cared, not only about the food but how my body would deal with it. It is what makes the Butcher’s Station a cut above the rest.

The only thing I found that was a problem was their location. It’s not the sort of place you just happen to go; it’s in the back of the Creekside Station shopping mall. Don’t get me wrong, Wayz will get you there, but if you don’t know about the Butcher Station, you aren’t going to find it. Believe me, it is well worth looking for!

You can find them on Facebook, at and you can visit the restaurant at: 3107 Valley Ave, Suite #106, Winchester Virginia

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