Clancey’s Meats: Local Food, Loyal Customers and a Commitment to Sustainability

If you spend any time at Clancey’s Meats in South Minneapolis, one of the first things you’ll notice is that owner Kristin Tombers knows almost all of her customers by name.

She knows that John, one of the regulars, is in the market for scallops; she just has to ask how many he needs. She then greets Archie and Clark from behind the counter, preparing their orders while catching up with the two along the way.

And, on the rare occasion she doesn’t know a customer’s name, she’ll make a point to introduce herself.

“I’m Kristin,” she says to one woman looking for lamb shoulder. “What’s your name?”

The Linden Hills butchery, which opened in 2003, exudes a sense of small-town familiarity you wouldn’t expect in the city, along with an impressive array of locally butchered meats and farm-to-table vegetables.

Clancey’s serves everything from goat and lamb to rabbit and smoked fish. But it’s not just meat you’ll find at the shop; as a nose-to-tail butchery, Clancey’s also renders its animal fat, creates chicken stock from animal bones and prepares soups with leftover ingredients.

“Most everything in here is locally sourced and made from scratch,” said Tombers.

A self-described entrepreneurial spirt, Tombers wanted to start the butchery to promote sustainable food and support local farms.

“At a time when people were, and still are, moving in the direction of ready-to-eat foods, and having everything already cooked and prepared, we wanted to get back to people buying the raw proteins and getting into their kitchen,” said Tombers.

Tombers is a member of the Land Stewardship Project Board, which helps to support local farms that supply much of Clancey’s inventory. Her focus on locally sourced ingredients and the connections she’s developed with farmers is something the customers enjoy.

“I’ve shopped here for years, and one of the things I value is that (Tombers) knows the people who are producing all this great food,” said Clark Orlaska, a regular at Clancey’s.

Photo by: William Evans