Bunzel’s Meat Market has been the butcher shop of choice for countless residents of Milwaukee’s West Side for four generations. With an emphasis on quality and personalized service, the family-owned butcher has developed a resounding reputation for being one of the best spots in the city to source a wide variety of staples, from brats and chops to custom-cut roasts.
But this past week marked a milestone for the butcher shop, which moved into new digs at 9015 W. Burleigh St. after 22 years operating out of its former location at 84th and Burleigh.
According to owner Chip Bunzel, the new location not only provides triple the amount of space as the old shop, but also allows the business to consolidate its butchering facility, retail space and catering division under one roof.
"It was really a matter of outgrowing our former location," he says. "And our aim is to offer people a bigger, better space with the same family-owned butcher shop feel."
When we visited the new shop on Monday afternoon, we witnessed a variety of scenarios which evidenced that sentiment, including happy customers standing in line to order meat cuts for their evening meal, friendly regulars chatting with cashiers and even runners helping shoppers carry their grocery items to their cars.
But those aren't the the only reasons to pay a visit to the new Bunzel’s. Here are 10 things we found on our visit that make a trip to check out the new store worth the effort.
1. Tons of space
The new location not only features a larger footprint, but also wider aisles, longer cases and plenty of shelf-space for add-on items like sauces, canned goods and snacks. There’s definitely more to love in just about every way.
2. Meat, meat, meat
Pork, beef and chicken abound. Best of all, the butchers are well-educated and can offer handling and cooking tips for anything and everything you might buy.
3. An expanded produce section
Bunzel’s has never aspired to be a full service grocer; however, the new location has expanded upon its stock of items that complement its meats. That includes a nice selection of fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs, along with numerous convenience items like fresh salsas and organic salad mixes.
4. Double smoked bacon
Yes, this Bunzel’s offering deserves its own mention. If you’re a fan of smoke, this will be the bacon of your dreams. Wrap it around your filet mignon, and you won't even need a grill.
5. A bakery
Yes, a bakery. A distinct new addition is the bakery case, which features items from Chef Joe Schulte, former co-owner of Cafe Perrin and chef at Broadway Bistro and Bakery. Current selections include bars, brownies and cookies, and will be expanded to include morning buns and breads in the coming weeks.
6. A deli
From freshly sliced cheeses to prepared food items, you’ll find a nice selection at the Bunzel’s deli.
7. Bunzel’s sausages
Sure, they had these at the old shop. But we're pretty sure the selection is now even better. From bratwurst to breakfast sausages, you’ll find what you need at Bunzel’s. And if you’re adventurous, there is always a new flavor to try.
8. Grilling supplies
Out of charcoal, wood chips or lighter fluid? No problem.
9. A huge collection of hot sauces
If you’re looking to add a bit of zip to your meal, there are plenty of options from which to choose. Shelves upon shelves of hot sauces – including some with names like 100% Pain and Dr. Assburn's – are at your disposal. You can also buy a bottle of pure capsaicin (in vegetable oil) if you dare.
If pictures communicate a thousand words, the new Bunzel’s is a virtual book. Family photos adorn the walls, reminding customers not only that there are human beings behind the business, but also that family is central to their history and mission.
Bunzel's is open Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.