Earlier this year, Jeff Bauman and his brother, Marc, signed a lease on a small storefront at 2009 West 32nd Avenue with the intent of opening a charcuterie and butcher shop. But after a myriad of construction and electrical issues stonewalled the process, the brothers, who are the grandsons of a butcher, gave up on the space and began the search for new quarters. They found a spot within close proximity to the original store, and on Friday, Jeff and Marc unveiled the Pig & Block Charcuterie at 3326 Tejon Street. "After much trepidation, we decided to go for it one more time, and when this space became available, we signed the lease," says Jeff, who was insistent on staying in the Highland neighborhood. "I consider this one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in the country, and the people who live around here are intelligent when it comes to food," he adds.
For the past two years, he and Marc have pimped their cured meats and salumi at the Pearl Street and Highland Farmers' Market, and Jeff, a former golf pro, who was laid off in 2009, also did time behind a meat counter at a specialty market. But it was his grandfather, a butcher for 27 years, who taught him the tricks of the trade. Butchery, he notes, "runs in our blood."
The charcuterie/butcher shop, which also sells gourmet dry goods like salts, preserves and pasta, specializes in meat -- but not just dry-cured meats and salumi. "Charcuterie is a lot more than just dry-cured meats -- it's head cheese and terrines and galantines and pâtés and all of that old stuff," explains Jeff, who went to France last year and stayed with a French butcher. "Not only do I want this to be the neighborhood meat shop that people can trust, but I also want to teach people all about charcuterie."
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The inventory will change, but at the moment, Jeff and Marc have stocked the cases with Vintage all-natural beef from Tonali's Market, salami, speck and chorizo, fresh sausages, including a beef-and-pork Argentine-style sausage, duck confit, mortadella, coppa, lardo and lomo, bacon, La Quercia prosciutto, soppresata and filsette, along with olives and cornichons and a handful of cheeses, pâtés and terrines. "Most of the things we carry are either made in-house or from small companies, and we're going to carry some stuff from Il Mondo Vecchio, too, but I gotta go hang out and figure out what I want," says Jeff.
In the meantime, the shop is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- at least for now. "I gotta be here as much as possible. I've got lots of meat to sell," quips Jeff.