Butchers of Distinction is truly a hidden gem. As the lone butcher shop in the quietly booming Riverside neighbourhood on Toronto’s lower east-side, they claim to be the first meat specialty shop to offer only Ontario grown, raised or made produce. Their aim is to offer the very highest-quality products (free of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides) from the most rigorously-selected local farm partners. One thing is for certain: they are truly knowledgeable and passionate about their offerings. Any questions (and I always have a few), just ask for Vince.
The meat selection is impressive, to say the least… Heritage pork belly & Berkshire chops; free-range whole chickens or individual pieces in various marinades; Ontario lamb racks, shanks and kefta (my current favourite for the BBQ); umpteen flavours of homemade sausage; beef for days (roasts, steaks, ground/mince, ribs, oxtail). Be it dinner for 2 or a BBQ for 22, Butchers of Distinction has you covered. There are also certified organic options, as well as a feed regime that is always listed.
Butchers of Distinction isn’t just a butcher shop. As someone who has worked in Riverside for the past 7 years, I have seen many eateries come and go. Needless to say, their lunch options are a welcome addition to the neighbourhood. Sandwiches are freshly made, well sized, and are all around $7 after taxes. Chicken salad is always a highlight, as is their medium-rare roast beef with arugula, sharp cheddar and horseradish aioli. Once a week they also do a house-smoked ham & cheese, which is amazing if you happen to have a sandwich maker/panini press in the office (guilty as charged). Add one of their soups or deli salads on the side, and you’ve got yourself quite the lunch.
Butchers of Distinction also offers a range of ready-to-(h)eat options prepared on-site from their own produce. Truth be told, they have quite the assortment of pot pies that rival anywhere in the city (I’m looking at you, Summerhill Market). Dig into a hearty beef bourguignon or one of their chicken, broccoli and cheddar pies. Maybe it’s all the Canada 150 excitement happening right now, but my current go-to has gotta be their tourtiere. All are available in small (5″) or large (9″) depending on how many people you are feeding.
Be sure to check this place out the next time you’re in the ‘hood looking for a take-out lunch… or before you’re planning your next dinner party. You will not be disappointed.
Their full butcher and prepared foods menu can be found online: http://www.butchersofdistinction.ca/menus/