Sometimes the best dining experiences are about being open minded. A cooked-to-order tenderloin of beef with a green peppercorn demi-glace isn't something most people expect to find at a deli, but that's exactly what one of Jason Rainey's regular customers at Butcher's Market and Deli enjoyed recently.
Rainey, a former sous chef at Dataw and Spring Islands, ran Islands Meat Market in Beaufort for five years before opening his shop in Bluffton last March at Berkeley Place on Buckwalter Parkway.
Rainey and his fiancée, Diana, provide old-fashioned service and enjoy getting to know their customers on a first-name basis. Last month he added dinners to his repertoire of freshly made-to-order lunches, served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
With a menu featuring about half a dozen sandwiches on hand-baked breads and a rotating assortment of homemade specialty brats - beef and blue cheese, Philly cheesesteak, bacon cheeseburger - lunch runs about $8.50 to $11. The Classic Hot Pastrami and Swiss on Rye with spicy mustard is the most popular, with the Shaved Certified Angus Rib Eye Steak with Smoked Gouda a close second. Both come with house-made coleslaw or potato salad.
On the retail end of the business, Rainey's best-seller is his homemade hot or sweet Italian sausage. "We clean it, grind it, season it and stuff it into natural casings ourselves," he said.
He also offers veal shank for osso buco, ground or stew veal, and veal stock. His all-natural, grass-fed aged beef is raised on a farm in Brasstown, N.C. In addition, Butcher's sells Certified Angus beef products.
Rainey said the new dinner menu is a work in progress, driven by requests from his regular customers who stop by after a movie to stock up on items from the case.
"A customer will see something in the case, and I can take it from the case to the grill to the table," said Rainey, who served up the tenderloin beef tips with green peppercorn brandy sauce over white rice for $23.
A 12-oz. grass-fed ribeye, pan seared to order and accompanied by jumbo, hand-cut steak fries and sautéed fresh spinach, is $35.
Organic, all-natural chicken, a bacon-infused tenderloin burger, fresh halibut, or braised Moroccan lamb shanks are additional possibilities, $15 to $35.
The dinner menu evolves from what's fresh, and can just as easily be enjoyed at home. A large smoked pork chop on the bone with a savory sausage, spinach and cheese stuffing, $18, oven heated for about 20 minutes at 300 degrees, offered a flavorful surprise with every mouthful.
For the holidays, customers can call ahead to order roasted, smoked or fried turkeys with gravy and all the trimmings, standing rib or crown pork roasts, and trimmed-and-tied beef tenderloin roasts.
Butcher's Market and Deli is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Call 843-815-6328.
Freelance writer Pam Gallagher was a copy editor at USA Today and a staff writer and fashion editor for the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press.