After my first meal at Hamburger Mary's, I went next door to Marczyk Fine Foods to poke around and see what was going on behind the market at Marczyk Fine Wines, since this was the first Sunday when it could sell liquor. The clerk seemed happy to be working on a Sunday. It was quiet, he told me. Mellow. That gave him plenty of time to arrange displays, clean the place up after the weekend rush, chill out. I bought a bottle of Chimay (the true Champagne of Beers, made by OCD Belgian monks or something and as powerful as drinking straight cough syrup) and a bottle of red, then drifted through the market, picking up a little something here, a little something there: eclairs and a citron tart from Katherine's French Bakery; a box of Dutch stroopwaffles; a tin of French hard candies, cherry-flavored, that remind me powerfully of summers and cherry trees back home. Then, as I passed the meat section, I saw a notice that Marczyk's was now carrying French Charolais beef.
This was crazy. As far as I knew, no one in Denver was trying to sell the ridiculously expensive, huge, muscular and sway-backed white French cattle. Like Kobe (but better), Charolais is a kind of name-brand breed — something that people who know beef understand to be special and worth the price because of the leanness, the gorgeous wine color of the meat, the flavor that (when properly aged) is just unbelievable.
A few days later, I got Pete Marczyk on the phone, and we spent a long time talking about beef. He told me that he started getting in his stock a few weeks ago, through a local ranch called Colorado's Best Beef, but because of the size of the ranch (small and family-owned), the only way he could order the Charolais was a half a cow at a time. "So the first thing we did, we bought half a cow," Marczyk explained. "And that's a whole half a cow. Lips, bunghole and everything in between."
Marczyk Fine Foods/Marczyk Fine Wines
770 East 17th Avenue
Thankfully, the side (which weighs over a thousand pounds) was broken down into sixths. Already dry-aged for two weeks at the ranch, it's aging longer in Marczyk's own locker. And while the price is steep ($44 a pound for tenderloin), it's also very much worth it. And the only place I know of to buy it locally is at Marczyk's.
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Then again, it might just be easier to stop in here on a Friday night and buy a burger at one of the regular summer block parties.