What: The Meat Locker

What it does: Sells cuts of meat, smoked meat and sausage

Pictured: From left, co-owners Tiffanie and Casey Berman

Where: 2675 NE U.S. Highway 20, Suite 150, Bend

Employees: 3

Phone: 541-312-2226

Website: www.themeatlockerco.com

Sausage making is an art for Tiffanie and Casey Berman, husband-and-wife co-owners of The Meat Locker, on NE U.S. Highway 20, in Bend.

In business just a year, the Bermans operate a retail butcher shop that offers a variety of cuts from hog farms and beef ranchers around the Northwest, said Tiffanie Berman, the face of the operation. Their sausages and smokehouse products are their hallmark brands, she said.

“People love our fresh sausage,” she said. “It’s very different, it’s unique. There’s definitely a market for that.”

The Bermans plan on capitalizing on that public appetite by supplying commercial clients such as restaurants and supermarkets. First, they need a U.S. Department of Agriculture certification. Tiffanie Berman said she expects to obtain that certificate within a month.

“It can take a long time,” Tiffanie Berman said. “We’re fortunate in the fact that Casey used to be an inspector with the USDA.”

Casey Berman is also a co-founder, with his father, Don, and brother Lawrence “Lanny” Berman, of Central Oregon Butcher Boys, a meat processing facility in Prineville.

“Casey’s dad has been a butcher for over 50 years and he’s been making sausages at many different places for a long time,” Tiffanie Berman said. “There’s just a technique involved even with cooking and baking. I think that’s what sets our sausages apart — technique — and our flavors are just, we have some really awesome favorites.”

Tiffanie Berman said her stepfather, Kurt Mezger, a chef trained in classic European style and formerly of the Chalet Swiss in Welches, taught her a few techniques that she employs in ready-to-cook packages she prepares for The Meat Locker. In addition to stuffed pork chops, curry meat loaf and Scotch eggs, she makes a house dressing from her stepfathers’ secret recipe, she said.

Secret recipes are standard issue at The Meat Locker, if one takes Berman at her word. The herbs and other flavorings in staple offerings such as the breakfast sausage, Bachelor brat and curry wurst are classified information, she said. She said they create as much fresh and healthy food as possible by, for example, cutting down on sugar as an ingredient.

“Our bulk breakfast sausages are just like something no one’s ever had before and they just love it because there’s no added sugar,” Berman said. “It’s been a real customer favorite.”

The Meat Locker competes with other shops in Bend such as Primal Cuts Meat Market and Pono Farm, but unlike those shops, The Meat Locker is not a restaurant. It’s a straight-up butcher shop, which gives them a competitive edge on price, Berman said.

The 900-square-foot shop, which shares a building with Jimmy John’s, can be hard to find on the first go-round, she said, but even if the business expands the Bermans want to keep the retail space.

“People think we’re a part of Jimmy John’s, so that’s been an interesting challenge,” she said. “I think that once people find us, it’s a convenient location because it’s easily accessible.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

Q: Where does the sausage come from?

A: Tiffanie Berman: We source the majority of our pork from Carlton Farms, of Carlton, Oregon. It’s mainly straight pork shoulder, whereas bigger production facilities, like Jimmy Dean, they’re just using a lot of trim. We do whole-muscle cuts in our grinds and because of that we have a tendency to have a leaner and tastier sausage.

Q: Where do you see the business in three to five years?

A: I see us in grocery stores in the Northwest for our sausages. And I see us expanding our smoked products into convenience stores. Our jerky is top-notch.

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