JOSEPH — Joseph — and Wallowa County — has a new, old-fashioned butcher shop since Jan. 30 when The Daily Grind Processing opened its custom meats shop at 106 N. Main St.
“We’re basically starting out with the mainstays right now and building our inventory that we’ll customize to the desires of patrons,” owner Tim Harrison said.
Harrison owned the previous business at the location, the Joseph Little Store, a convenience store he operated for about a year. Having lived in Joseph for about 10 years, he’s also done property management and worked with the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Department on its probation program.
But now he’s moved on to the meat business, providing custom butchering — both of domestic and wild meat — and deli items such as pepperoni, jerky and different flavors of cheeses and breakfast sausage.
“People can call in order custom orders like smoked prime rib and things of that nature,” Harrison said.
As for the wild game, hunters “can decide if they want it made into steaks, burger, breakfast sausage or whatever they want," he said.
Coming from a family of educators, he taught and coached for 12 years.
“I wanted a little change of direction and to go into business for myself,” Harrison said. “I wanted to live in the area anyway, so that was a way to make a living here.”
Working for Harrison is butcher Dave Hite, who also has a background with young people. He and his wife, Tina, are the youth pastors for the Rooted Youth Ministry in Enterprise. The Daily Grind is his paying job, working Rooted as a volunteer.
“But helping students make good choices certainly pays well,” he said.
Hite has 2½ years’ experience as a meat cutter for the Enterprise Safeway and The Market Place Fresh Foods in Joseph, so he knows what he’s doing.
The old-fashioned element comes both from how The Daily Grind serves customers to some of the artifacts they have both on display and for use. Hite showed an old scale dating from about the 1930s he said will come in handy for weighing portions of large animals. He also has a long-handled meat cleaver — that looks about as old as the scale — he said works better than a meat saw for cutting animals at the joints.
He likes being able to show customers — through a plexiglass window — the meat that will be cut, display the marbling and get their direct input before cutting steaks off a larger piece. One item he showed was a particularly well-marbled rib roast that he cut into rib eye steaks. He said it was from grain-finished beef, which provides the best marbling and flavor.
Hite also has books full of recipes from world-champion barbecue pit bosses — largely from the Deep South — who specialize in top-notch deli meats.
Since those recipe books have been made available for use, “Why reinvent the wheel if they’re offering it,” Hite said.
Harrison’s and Hite’s efforts are already bearing fruit.
“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” Harrison said.
Hite agreed, saying, “We have tremendous support.”
“I’m excited at having a real butcher in Wallowa County,” said customer Lori Greenway, who was discussing with Hite an upcoming order.
Hite said that in addition to meats ordered to go, they hope to soon offer a tri-tip sandwich, along with a drink and a bag of chips that customers will be able to eat on site. But that’s likely the only item that will be on the menu.
“We want to do one thing and do it really well,” Hite said. “We’re not trying to become a restaurant.”
Harrison said that while The Daily Grind doesn’t plan to do catering — since he’s aware of others already covering that in the county — he may do special events.
“We might take barbecue and things of that nature to events, such as rodeos,” he said.
As things are just getting started, The Daily Grind is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Harrison said as spring approaches, they'll consider opening on weekends.
Harrison and Hite stressed that along with the food they’re offering, it will come at competitive prices. There’s also a 100% money-back guarantee, Hite said.
“Our meat prices should beat anybody in the county,” Harrison said. “That’s what we’re striving for.”