Making the Cut: Top Family-Owned Independent Butcher Shops

Looking for a good, juicy cut of steak? We've got you covered. Here are six of the top local independent butcher shops in the Memphis area. 

I can’t tell you which restaurant in town serves the best filet because I hardly ever order one. Honestly, nobody can grill a steak like my man!

For stocking stuffers this year, I bought gift cards from six of the top local independent butcher shops in the Memphis area. Most of them are named for a guy who doesn’t work there, so don’t ask. But every place had a smiling butcher behind the counter who offered a professional recommendation for “two good steaks.”

Humphrey's prime cut shoppe

Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe

551 South Mendenhall
Monday — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Attached to Folk’s Folly, Memphis’ Original Prime Steak House, the swanky side-door butcher shop is a cozy storefront named for the restaurant’s founder Humphrey Folk, Jr. The case stays stocked with the finest of strips and tomahawks. I went with the least expensive option.

Two 8 oz. filet mignon 

woman with red hair holding large cut of steak

Buster’s Butcher

199 S. Highland St.
Monday — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Named for the liquor store next door, which was named for founder R.M. “Buster” Hammond Jr. in 1954, the newest butcher shop in Memphis offers the usual beef, pork and poultry. Also find dry-aged specialty racks, house-made charcuterie and pre-prepared dishes to-go.

Two Saratoga steaks (the meat in the middle of a ribeye)

charlies meat market

Charlie’s Meat Market (now Triangle Meat Co.)

4790 Summer Avenue
Monday — Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A staple for decades on Summer Avenue, only the name has changed. Run by the founder’s grandson who goes by Chuck, Charlie’s is the most recognizable place for Memphians to buy beef, poultry and burger patties made daily from ground chuck.

Two New York Strips

louie's deli and meat market

Louie’s Deli and Meat Market

11695 Highway 70, Suite 106
Tuesday — Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Arlington, owner Chris Tapp opened in 2018 and named the shop for his grandfather. The dine-in deli with a full menu of sandwiches, salads and soups is where locals eat and bring home weekly orders of family favorites like bone-in pork chops, ground beef and deli slices.

Two Boneless Ribeyes

meat freezer with various cuts of steak

Ramon’s Meat Market

1616 Getwell Road
Tuesday — Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Originating in Sears Crosstown in 1946, Ramon Gee sold the business to the Ratliff family who has operated it for three generations. Ramon’s is the go-to place for many BBQ competition teams to find their winning racks.

Two 8 oz. filets, bacon-wrapped

southern meath market
Credit: Southern Meat Market Facebook

Southern Meat Market

8050 Highway 51 North, Millington
Tuesday – Friday 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Owner Raymond Fortune just celebrated 30 years at the same narrow counter in Millington. A favorite of local deer hunters, Southern also specializes in processing venison into specialty sausages, jerky and standard cuts. Shop closed Mondays until the end of deer season.

Two Delmonico Ribeyes

About the Author

Memphis for me is a dance floor. The progression swings from a childhood in the suburbs, to Midtown and Downtown through my college years, then back to the suburbs when hubs and kiddos blessed my days. I have swirled in the excitement of Tiger basketball, Beale Street bike nights, Coliseum shows, Zippin Pippin rides, Mud Island concerts, Rum Boogie side door slips and Alex’s Tavern shuffle board. I’ve cheered under high school Friday night lights, seen the Mississippi River reflect fireworks set to live symphony, and had my high-rise office computer blinded by the afternoon beam of the shiny pyramid. While I may dwell outside the city proper, one of the great things about living here is accessibility. Everything is about a half-hour away. My mission is to plant seeds, water roots and foster wings inside and out of the 240 loop. 

Say it. Memphis. There is a lip-parting breath in the beginning with grit and soul so strong it rises from within and reverberates outward. Memphis. A hard “F” in the middle. Memphis. Sharp finish with a trailing hiss. Memphis. Can you hear it? Memphis. Now move with me. Memphis. Let’s dance.

Build your perfect Memphis meal:

Start at the Peabody Lobby bar with a filthy martini in a crystal glass (ping!), half a dozen oysters Rockefeller from the Half Shell, a Greek salad from Cheffies all chopped to bite-sized bits with that Wolverine slicer they use, some BBQ shrimp from Second Line with extra soppin’ bread for all the sauce, duck fried rice from any SOB, and a box of Dinstuhl’s dark chocolate brandied cherries to pair with a middle-shelf Pinot Noir from Buster’s Liquor. I’m going home. Night, night.

What’s your favorite organization to support:

Literacy MidSouth makes such an impact in our city. From kindergarten to third grade, kids learn to read. From fourth grade on, they read to learn. If there’s a disconnect, statistics show the gap grows over time leading to behavior issues, increased drop out rates, teen pregnancy and incarceration. Last school year, I worked with nine third-graders in reading intervention to get them up to grade level. To see such smart children crack the code and feel empowered, thirsting for knowledge and devouring information they can finally understand and share, it’s nothing short of astounding. I’m proud to be part of the army of reading tutors serving our city. If you can read this, you can help too. Words have power!

Learn more about Candice Baxter here.

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