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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cheap Eats: Shield's Meat Market

Knowing the people who grow and sell your food is not a matter of culinary elitism. It’s about cultivating and maintaining a sense of community, something that’s increasingly difficult in this age of convenience. A little love goes a long way when it comes to food. And that’s why it’s such a joyous occasion to discover a gem like Shield’s Meat Market (1554 N. Decatur Road, 404-377-0204). Geoff Irwin’s old-fashioned butcher shop has weathered the storms of “progress” since 1947. The market’s latest location in Emory Village (it used to be in downtown Decatur) is hidden in plain sight, as the signage is quite similar to the adjoining CVS.

The store is stocked with everything you need for dinner: spices, canned Italian tomatoes, a small selection of wine in a range of prices, assorted freshly baked breads from Alon’s Bakery and a pristine selection of produce and cheeses. First-time visitors may wonder, “Where’s the beef?” Don’t fret. Most of the meats are stored in the back and cut to order in the room marked with the funny sign: “Nobody gets in to see the wizard! Not no body, not no how!” Shield’s does this not only to ensure that the choice cuts of corn-fed beef are as fresh as possible, but also cut to each customer’s exact specifications.

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(Photo by Jennifer Zyman)

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