Zach and The Meat Department

1 07 2013

Zach and the Meat, originally uploaded by psuba98.

This is Zach. He’s in motion at The Meat Department on Danforth Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. After watching these guys all day I have a suspicion there are a few of them who might end up suffering from repetitive strain injuries.

I was shooting with them for a few hours on Saturday and it was fun. I got to watch the guys in the back (John was not one of my fans,) and I captured some trimming, the scrap bucket, the band saw in action, and the mysterious room in the back where one alchemist was making various rubs and marinades for some of their own stuff.

Jose and Corin ran the counter with Jose taking the DJ duties seriously, and if you went from the front of the store to the back there were two competing genres of music, heavily contrasted at all times. The back, some pounding rockabilly and hard core country mix, driven out of an aging boombox (possibly covered in meat juices,) and the front of the house, some pretty rockin beats and occasional club mixes.

Everyone was friendly (customers and staff,) the atmosphere was welcoming, and the bbq’d steaks I had later were…very tasty! Was it all organic, hormone-free and whispered to sleep by a kid from 4H? No, but I know Zach is passionate and knows where every bit of protein comes from and the meat is of the highest quality, some of it aged in house, and I appreciate it. You can tell these guys care about their customers and their products.

Mostly shot with my 85mm, and the D4 was clacking along occasionally turned up to 11. It was difficult shooting as the place was a blur of motion (and not everyone was excited to see me with a camera,) but I have shot in busy restaurants before and I’m not bad at staying out of the way — it is more of a challenge when everyone has a sharp blade in their hands but I got away unscathed.

The board behind Zach was their board of who get’s to eat for free and who they refuse to serve. . .quite entertaining. Lots of neighbourhood people coming by and they were solidly busy while I was in there. I watched Zach cut meat for a few hours, others worked on chickens, washed trays and utensils, carved up special orders, and at any given time 3 guys were steadily butchering, trimming, prepping meat.

The Meat Department is a great place to go, watch, relax, ask about your food, enjoy a beverage, and soak up some of the local ambiance. I will return weekly. Yes, I am a carnivore!