A neighborhood meat market takes on new life in Philly’s Port Richmond

0

A woman walked into the sunny space of KP’s Fine Meats one recent morning and inspected the refrigerated cases. A liver sausage? she asked.

“This is the fourth customer to ask for it,” co-owner Kevin Penney said. “We will have that next week. I can promise you that.”

Penney and his partner/fiancée Amanda Grady have transformed this Port Richmond shop – the former home of Jim’s Meat Market, open since the 70s – into a full-service butcher shop offering everything from tomahawk steaks and marrow bones to Dietz & Watson deli meats. They opened the doors in February and have been gaining traction with neighbors ever since.

KP’s Fine Meats is the concrete manifestation of Penney’s delivery service, launched in 2020 in the wake of nationwide meat shortages. The South Jersey native, who worked for years at Arnie’s Gourmet in Cherry Hill, has established accounts at wholesalers including Ashley Foods, Samuels Seafood and Esposito’s. He fulfilled orders in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and beyond — sourcing the products, making custom cuts, and shipping them to customers all across the East Coast.

“Everyone had their ‘meat guy’, and that was me. And it’s become a title that I’m very proud of,” Penney said.

He first worked in his and Grady’s apartment, which made him close. “It was a lot of me working from home and him making sausages behind me while I’m in a meeting,” Grady recalled.

“I have my ServSafe [certification]!” Penney chimed in.

As Penney’s business grew, he moved the operation to the kitchen of a shuttered restaurant in Old Town. During this time he expanded his repertoire to include local farms like Keizer’s Pheasantry, Smith Poultry and Neighbors Farmstead. Business was driven by word of mouth and Instagram. Grady, who works full-time in business and marketing, pushed him to formalize his dealings.

“It was hard for me to switch it to taking orders through a form and not texting,” she said.

When the Old City restaurant announced plans to reopen, Penney began looking for other profitable kitchen spaces to rent, but was unsuccessful. Then her real estate agent told her about a retail space for sale on the corner of Memphis and Clearfield streets, a five-minute drive from the couple’s apartment. When they first looked into the space, passers-by asked if they were going to reopen the meat market, which had operated like a bodega for the past few years. They missed Jim’s, they said.

“That’s when I realized it was perfect,” Penney said. They closed the storefront last May and spent months renovating and remodeling the space. The deli cases and the bandsaw are the same.

The couple took advice from Jim Denning, who ran the shop for about 40 years: “Make sure you sell steak frites,” a staple for cheesesteaks. Penney cuts thin slices of daily fresh round inside roast for the steak and fries, which sells for $9.99 a pound. KP’s also offers a “Philly-style special”: Chip steak, sliced ​​cheese of your choice, and four hoagie rolls for $16.

This package is KP’s Fine Meats way of bridging the gap between customers shipping Delmonicos to Florida and those asking after liver sausage. The store offers specials like duck prosciutto and French rack of lamb as well as Martin’s sausages and chicken wings (“We can barely keep them in stock”).

“I think having the Wagyu and the charcuterie in the same place is really a metaphor for what we’re trying to [do]“, Grady said, adding that KP is in the process of getting EBT approval. “We were very attentive while we were doing renovations talking to everyone as they passed and [asking]’What would you like to see in this neighborhood?’”

As a result of this outreach, approximately 60% of KP’s business comes from walk-ins from the neighborhood and elsewhere in Philadelphia. Delivery, offered within a 20-mile radius, and wholesale do the rest. Wholesale accounts include Middle Child Clubhouse, Liberty Kitchen and Filipino food truck Tabachoy, which will soon open its own physical spot.

Penney and Grady, who got engaged earlier this month, are excited about the future. They’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of more refrigerated cases — one for dry-aged beef and another for a budding homemade deli program — and they’ve even considered a second location. But the main goal for now is to become as inescapable as Jim’s Meat Market.

“It’s great to be here,” Penney said. “We certainly got lucky.”

KP’s Fine Meats at 2329 E. Clearfield St. is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Order for pickup, delivery or shipping to kpsfinemeats.com.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.