West Ashley gets a proper butcher shop with the relocation of Burbage Meats

by Bill Davis | News Editor

Wappoo Rood just got a good bit more delicious with the opening late last month of Burbage Meats, a full-service butcher shop that migrated in from Ravenel.

The only other full-service butcher shop in West Ashley at Doscher’s IGA on Savannah Highway will be gone within the year, as the venerable grocery store’s building is being razed next door to the Whole Foods.

It took two years of looking to find just the right spot, a former catering kitchen, directly across from sweets nirvana Grey Ghost Cookie Co. bakery and retail spot, according to co-owner Scott Hodges, a former realtor who married into the Burbage family.

After his wife Felicia’s father, Marion Burbage, died following decades of serving a loyal customer base in Ravenel, Hodges said that new DHEC requirements made the family store of 68 years too expensive to renovate to current health codes. It was time to hit the road.

The new location at 1033-A Wappoo Road still features full breakdowns of hogs and cows at a time when butchery is becoming a lost art.

Sister-in-law Melissa Burbage is dying to get back into her own “cold room,” and start whipping up family recipe classics. She spent two years “in exile” working in other grocery stores’ meat rooms to make ends meet until the shop reopened, while Hodges managed a major restaurant supplier’s meat and seafood department.

“We are going to do it all: head cheese, liver pudding, or country pudding,” says Burbage, nodding at the fully stocked commercial kitchen with monster pots on the wall that the caterers conveyed in the move.

“We’re going to be making my grandmother’s original pork sausage recipe, that they started making in their home kitchen,” she says, adding that it became so popular so quickly that the family had to have a small slab built up on the driveway for slaughtering pigs.

Burbage doesn’t like to brag, but she says she can link 400 pounds of sausage an hour. Top that!

“Daddy always said, ‘Somebody always has to have a place to live, and they got to eat, as long as you’ve got both, you’re in business.’”

That’s not to say that Burbage will be solely a trip down a sepia-tinted country lane, as Hodges insists they will also offer exotic meats – venison, elk, bison, and rabbit – as well as “unique” cuts of beef like a tri-tip roast.

“Look at that marbling!” extols one new customer on social media, picturing a bone-in ribeye.

Eventually, the store will offer take-and-heat dinners, says Burbage. Until that’s up and running, Hodges says they will stay local in just about everything else, featuring a host of locally made products on their dry shelves.

Katherine Frankstone, owner and chief baker at Grey Ghost is ecstatic to have Burbage as their new neighbor and is looking forward to collaborating with the new/old shop.

Frankstone loves the local focus being fostered along their stretch of Wappoo, as her bakery sits next door to the sustainable Roots and Shoots Nursery.

Keeping it super local, this nursery started out in the West Ashley backyard of owner David Manger. Additionally, they only sell local plant varietals instead of introducing invasive species to their neighbors’ yard.

This is exactly in keeping with plans hatched in City Hall-led public meetings in recent years to turn Wappoo into a local artisans’ row, a place where local entrepreneurs could relocate to.

The cornerstone of that effort was supposed to be Rio Bertolini, an artisanal pasta maker tightly jammed into a makeshift space close to Savannah Highway.

The pasta maker was successfully turning out a half-ton of fresh pasta every day and supplying 200 restaurants and farmer’s markets throughout both Carolinas.

The venture was so successful that owner Brian Bertolini took the plunge and bought the former Crull family hardware store down the road closer to St. Andrews Boulevard. At 13,000 square feet, it was more than ten times the size of the cinderblock pill box he’d been operating out of.

But permitting snafus between the county and the state made that impossible, and he decided to just lease the space to Grey Ghost. Bertolini was so put out two years ago, he considered moving to Asheville, or another city in the region that worked better with small businesses.

Instead, Rio Bertolini has recently moved to North Charleston. He could not be reached by phone for comment.

But at least it was a local call.

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