The “Lady Butchers” of Saucisson talk hard work, friendship and sausage

Cleveland's Slavic Village is home to the "Lady Butchers" of Saucisson, a local butcher shop dedicated to making a difference.

Saucisson (5324 Fleet Ave), named after the French-style sausage, is a neighborhood butcher shop in Cleveland’s Slavic Village. Operated by co-owners Melissa Khoury and Penny Barend in 2013, the shop is dedicated to providing unique and hard to find meats, all prepared in-house.

Beginnings

Cleveland native Khoury inherited her love of cooking from her Grandmother and Mother, but it was in the Southern kitchens of her culinary schooling that she gained a love and knowledge of butchering skill. Barend is from San Diego, and learned under the instructions of old-school meat mavens who instilled a code of using every piece of what you’re given.

The two met in Orlando Florida, at Primo by Mellissa Kelly, a fine dining establishment within the JW Marriott Hotel. Khoury was working in the kitchen, and Barend was visiting as a stage (meaning working a shift almost as a job interview). The kitchen was located under guest rooms, and when a hotel guest fell asleep with their bathtub running, water began to pour from the kitchen ceiling onto the line. Barend spent the night, as Khoury remembers it, “with a bucket over my head, catching water while I cooked between her legs.”

With that dramatic meeting leading to fast friendship, and when Khoury began plans for making Cleveland the home of her butcher shop, she invited Barend to come alongside. They now create a seemingly endless variety of products weekly, from steaks to sausage to beef jerky to dog treats.

A passion for the work, and the neighborhood

Both chefs have a passion for their jobs, and are committed to providing only the highest quality, hormone and anti-biotic free animals that have been humanely raised. The search for a local provider led them to New Creations farm in Chardon, Ohio. New Creations is a family-run farm that has cultivated a relationship with Saucisson, giving the duo whole animals that will be expertly butchered to maximize every part of the animal, without waste.

The shop is a storefront and state-inspected meat processing plant in one building. Open to the public Thursday through Saturday from 11-7 (Monday through Wednesday are butchering and prep days), they sell not only cuts from the butcher cases, but also pressed sandwiches, soups and salads. If that wasn’t enough, they also host a monthly brunch.

You can visit their Facebook page that features the weekly specials and events here, and see “The Lady Butchers” talk about their passion for food and the neighborhood in our video profile.