SYCAMORE – As DeKalb County residents prepare for warm-weather barbecue grilling, Dan Brown hopes they will visit the new meat counter at Browns’ County Market.
“We have 30 feet of super-fresh, top-quality meats,” Brown said.
In February, Brown drove to New York state to pick up three 10-foot-long glass meat cases to display fresh-cut meats in the family-owned Sycamore supermarket. The market has always had an on-site meat cutter, but Brown said that the recent trend in supermarkets has been to “keep meat cutters out of sight.”
“We have been thinking about this for almost a year,” Brown said. “Browns’ has always had a good reputation for meats and we thought this would kick it up a notch with the full-serve meat counter.”
Brown estimates that since the store opened in 1945, more than 40 groceries have opened and closed in Sycamore. In the face of competition from new area supermarkets, Brown wanted to make his store’s meat offerings stand out.
In the new counter, customers can specify which piece of meat they want. Breaded chicken breasts, which didn’t sell when wrapped in cellophane and displayed in the self-serve counter, are now among the meat department’s best-selling items, Brown said.
“We have five kinds of marinated chicken breasts and six kinds of breaded chicken breasts and some of them stuffed,” he said.
All of the steak and other fresh meat is cut in a back room at the store, and items like the breaded chicken breasts, hamburger patties and kabobs are prepared fresh at the store every morning. Employees at the meat counter can offer customers cooking tips and wine suggestions to go with their purchases, Brown said.
Jonathon O’Donnell has been a customer at the store for more than 20 years.
“I think it’s the best thing they ever did in here,” O’Donnell said as he selected some Italian sausage from the meat case. “They needed to do something to compete with Jewel and Hy-Vee.”
“It was a great idea because I love meat,” O’Donnell added. “The pork chops are wonderful.”