Update, March 2021: Due to COVID-19, the Dairy and Meat Showroom is closed. Check their website for updates.
Chances are you would never know there’s a butcher shop in one sleepy Saint Paul neighborhood. First off, it’s on a college campus. There isn’t an awning with a fancy logo nor a flashing ‘open’ sign. Oh, and it’s inside an academic building.
But most importantly, it’s open to the public and it could easily be where you buy all your meat, cheese and ice cream from now on.
This is the Dairy and Meat Showroom as part of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition.
Open only for three hours one day a week, the Showroom sells pork chops, roasts, bacon, steaks, and sausage along with cheese, ice cream (over 40 flavors!) and frozen yogurt. Oh, they have plenty of hamburger patties, too, including quarter-pounders with wild rice, along with versions of the Juicy Lu(i)cy stuffed with cheese.
And it’s worth the trip. From my observation, prices are comparable (equal to or slightly cheaper) than what you’ll find at the grocery store. Check out their meat price list and dairy price list. Plus, everything is made right there on campus during classes and research projects. Cattle and other livestock are brought in from farms around Minnesota.
You won’t see television commercials or newspaper advertisements for the Meat Science Showroom. Since it’s a part of the University of Minnesota, a tax-exempt institution, they refrain from marketing to not interfere with tax-abiding businesses in the community. But you got to admit that this concept is cool.
Before you go, here’s what you need to know:
- The Showroom is open Wednesday afternoons from 2 – 5 pm.
- It’s located inside the Andrew Boss Laboratory of Meat Science, located at 1354 Eckles Avenue in Saint Paul. Metered parking is available on the street outside the building (the meters take credit cards) and in a surface lot across the street.
- It’s recommended you go earlier in the afternoon; they frequently sell out of items each week.
- If you can’t make it on a Wednesday afternoon, you can order over email or over the phone and pick it up at a different time. Get their contact information here.
- The U of M Meat Science department is known to do special orders around holidays, including corned beef at St. Patrick’s Day, Easter hams and others.
- They do accept cash and credit cards, but cannot take checks.
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