Story  by Laurent Veilleux
Photos by Alexander Wiseman

The Grinder neo butcher shop has recently opened, just one block away from the restaurant of the same name. Easily recognizable by its massive windows overlooking Notre-Dame and Richmond streets, you will discover a linear yet simple design where each element has been thought and customized to present aged meat with unusual elegance.

The cold rooms, consisting in the design centerpiece, expose the aged meat pieces to passers-by while being equipped with anti-glare, quadruple-glazed windows to allow absolute control over the internal temperature.

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The one-piece, 24 feet long counter accentuates the shop’s depth while giving a chic and sophisticated aspect to the master butcher’s workspace.

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The unique luminaire overhanging the entire counter’s surface is composed of laser cut copper washers, specifically tailored for the Grinder butcher shop.

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Raw white brick walls have been left untouched to communicate the building’s history, as well as creating a unique contrast with the more modern overall environment.

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A meeting and interview with owners Jean-François Corriveau and Charles Bizeul (also the master butcher) will have you learn more on the first butcher shop of its kind in Montreal :

What was the trigger for the project?

J-F : It’s Charles Bizeul, who has been our chef at the « Hachoir » restaurant from the very beginning, who felt very attracted by this field. Also, with our three restaurants (the Léa, the Hachoir and the Grinder), the possibility of aging and preparing our meat by our own butcher shop brings our retaurant’s menus to a higher quality level, while keeping very reasonable prices for our customers.

The second trigger has been the space itself, right beside the Grinder restaurant, which seemed like a perfect location for a butcher shop.

The idea of owning a butcher shop with hidden cold rooms that would prevent customers from seeing their meat did not interest me much. However, when Charles spoke to me about the Victor Churchill butcher shop in Sydney, which presents meat pieces like jewels in a jewelry store, it really caught my attention and I thought that this kind of butcher shop could really have a place of its own in Montreal.

Apart from the Victor Churchill butcher shop, are you aware of other butcher shops that use the same distinctive way of presenting their products?

J-F : I know they are not the only ones doing this. In New York City and across Europe, you might find butcher shops like this one. When I discovered the concept, I could really visualize at the corner of Notre-Dame and Richmond streets, right beside my restaurant. Our Grinder restaurant’s customers would pass by our Grinder butcher shop […] I thought that it would make a great combination with the restaurant.

How did showcasing the meat in large window displays influenced your butcher shop’s design?

J-F : It all started with the cold rooms and window displays. My first idea was to make the cold rooms visible from the street, so that was the first design element to be decided and everything else revolved around it.

Who designed the space?

J-F : I designed it myself. However, other people helped me as well.

Did the architecture firm « Zébulon Perron », which designed the Grinder restaurant, participated in the butcher shop’s project?

J-F : No, but it’s obvious that Zébulon has taught me a lot while designing the three other restaurants, so some of my ideas clearly come from him. If I wouldn’t have worked with Zébulon before, I would never have been able to do it, I must admit it! […] wood, metal, copper, these are all elements and materials that Zébulon thaught me to work with, so these ideas surely come from him, but I managed to design the space by myself.

What exclusive products can we expect to find at the Grinder butcher shop?

C : We have many high quality local products such as Quebec’s lamb and pork. We also have Quebec’s Wagyu beef […] Moreover, in the buck category, we have really high quality Prime 1855 Black Angus beef from United States. All the meat we stock is aged during a minimum of 30 days, apart from our pork, lamb and skirt steak.

Are your products available online?

J-F : Yes. Today, selling online is a must! I understand that people might not buy our products online without knowing who they are buying it from in the beginning. I think that people will get used to our butcher shop, to Charles and the other butchers. Because we often end up buying the same things, a person who is lacking time or who is too busy working at the office will buy its known products online. The idea is to make the process of buying meat as easy as possible to the customer and to prevent her or him from having to perform grocery shopping during lunch times. We will be able to have the orders directly delivered to the customer’s office, in a small cooler with dry ice, in order to have the customer heading straight back home after work for a great BBQ!

grinder butcher shop montreal

Photos by Alexander Wiseman

Laurent Veilleux
Retail & Commercial Environments
Laurent specializes in business and e-commerce strategies. He loves to meet with the creative minds, developers and entrepreneurs behind retail spaces and commercial real estate.