After eight years, Red Table Meat Co. has announced that it will close at the end of 2022.
“When we started in 2014, we initiated a model of buying whole pigs from local farmers to highlight the special animal husbandry we saw in Minnesota,” salumerie owner Mike Phillips writes in a lengthy and quite thorough farewell post. “We worked with great farmer partners who were raising heritage breed pigs and made upwards of 30 different products from those pigs, dry cured and cooked.”
But that model, Phillips goes on to explain, wasn’t sustainable, nor was staffing such a time-intensive curing operation, especially as retailer, staff, and consumer needs have changed over time.
(Are millennials and/or gen z killing the artisan cured meat market? Argue amongst yourselves in the comments.)
“We want to pay folks what they deserve to make and still create a product that is very authentic and valuable,” Phillips says. “In current times many retailers are telling us that they can no longer afford the labor to have someone stand behind a counter and take care of our products.”
Red Table’s masterful artisanal salami and other meats quickly found a home on shelves at Kowalski’s, Lund’s, local co-ops, and fancy charcuterie boards around the Twin Cities when the brand launched eight years ago. The meat-porium was among the tenants at Northeast’s Food Building, where it was nestled among Alemar Cheese Co. and Baker’s Field Flour and Bread. Its meats were critically acclaimed, award winning, and really, really tasty.
(Also? In one of my favorite City Pages cover shoots ever, our guide to the ultimate Minnesota Picnic, we highlighted multiple Red Table meats… I’ve never eaten so much “Big Chet’s” in my life.)
But the news ain’t all bad: Phillips says Erik Sather and the team at Lowry Hill Meats (a longtime Red Table stockist) are taking over the space at the Food Building.