Turkey Talk with Phillip Clary of Macelleria East Side Butchery
The owner of Bexley’s new butcher shop on how he got his start and what to serve this Thanksgiving.
If you happened to be a Bexley resident this summer and spent time in the sun by the community pool, you may be familiar with one of Phillip Clary’s creations: the poolside burger, which was not just any old concession-stand hockey puck. “It’s like a butcher’s blend, really high-quality, and everybody went crazy,” says Clary, who opened Bexley's new butcher shop, Macelleria East Side Butchery, at 2474 E. Main St. last December.
A Bexley resident, Clary has almost 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. “I started cooking in a restaurant while in college. I really enjoyed the energy and pace of working in a kitchen,” says Clary, who graduated from Ohio State in 2002. After college, he and his wife moved to Charleston, South Carolina—a great culinary city—where he continued working in the restaurant industry until the couple was ready to take a leap.
“We worked a couple jobs, saved every penny and sold our car, and we did [a] six-month backpacking trip through Europe,” Clary says. “Just stayed at hostels and hit up every city, eating and drinking our way through it.” It was in Europe, and particularly Italy, that Clary caught the culinary bug, eventually leading him to culinary school in New York City, at what was then known as The French Culinary Institute. A job at Mario Batali’s Greenwich Village restaurant Lupa followed.
In this interview (a combination of phone and email), we asked Clary about his year-old butcher shop’s offerings and for a little Thanksgiving Day advice.
The butcher shop is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Online orders are accepted by emailing email@example.com.
What inspired you to open Macelleria?
Opening Macelleria was the culmination of all of my travels and work experience. My most formative years were spent working and traveling in Charleston, South Carolina, New York City and Italy. Macelleria is the best of both worlds: a full-service butcher shop with a kitchen. We now have a full carryout menu. We [also] have the best butcher in the city, Kyle Cardwell. He’s a true craftsman.
Why did you pick Bexley, and what drew you to the space?
We got so lucky on this space. We live [in Bexley]; my wife teaches here. I got some insider info on this location from a friend. This was Cornucopia Catering. The rent is very reasonable, but the best part about it--it was fully equipped. Ridiculous. It has a full walk-in, a full kitchen, 10-burner, two-oven Vulcan stove with the hood exhaust system. It’s a loaded spot right on Main Street.
What makes Macelleria an Italian-style butcher shop?
We follow a lot of the Italian butchers, and they really respect this craft and really take it to another level. That’s kind of who inspires us. They take the time to do unique cuts. And, of course, we have your prosciutto, sopressata, capicola, and mortadella--your Italian cured meats. We [also] cut bistecca Fiorentina. It’s a super thick porterhouse, like a 2-inch cut. It’s a cut you would get if you’re having some friends over... it’s festive, fun.
You also sell some interesting Italian-style meats such as mazzafegati and braciola. What can you tell us about them?
One of the most enjoyable aspects of opening Macelleria is making the products I ate in Italy. Mazzafegati, porchetta, braciola, luganega to name a few. Mazzafegati is a sausage from the Umbria region of Italy. It’s pork shoulder, liver, orange zest, garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper. It's incredible. Braciola is butterflied, tenderized flank steak stuffed with Parmesan Reggiano, breadcrumbs and herbs. [The braciola] roasted in the oven in marinara sauce is comfort food at its best.
I see that you are already selling turkeys for Thanksgiving. Where are you sourcing them from, and what's the deadline to order?
Our turkeys are from King and Sons Poultry from Bradford, Ohio. Their poultry is fresh and delicious. The turkeys are free-range and antibiotic/hormone free. Orders have to be in by Nov. 3.
Let's say a customer is bored with turkey. What is a good Thanksgiving alternative that you offer?
For Thanksgiving, I have to be honest I’m not a huge turkey fan myself. It’s really all of the accompaniments that make it so good. … There are many people who just are not a fan of turkey. I just tell them, you want something festive and fun. Again, I would mention the porchetta. It’s very festive. Just like the turkey, you roast it and then you carve it and it’s a big ceremony. … Turkey is kind of bland, [but] porchetta has lots of flavor.
You recently launched a carryout menu as well. What are some of the prepared foods customers can expect to find?
We do a new menu every week. We have a salad on every week. We always have a pasta dish. We've done the classic Italian bucatini Amatriciana. Last week, we did a butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage. This week is gnocchi with beef ragu.
We supplied the beef for the burger at the [Bexley] pool. ... So, we put that on the menu here all the time. For everyone that went crazy for the poolside grill burger, they can still come here and get one.