While working together 15 years ago in the printing business, Bill Harris and Greg Karkas discovered that they shared a mutual interest: meat. Not only did they enjoy engineering weekend barbecues; they shared a mutual interest in shopping for meat.
We've always liked a good meat market, an old-fashioned thing, said Karkas. They loved visiting old-style neighborhood meat markets, where quality and customer service were high priorities.
Five and a half years ago Harris and Karkas created their own neighborhood meat market, a block west of downtown Brentwood, and named it Brentwood Fine Meats.
The world of meat can be characterized by four grades: (in ascending order) Good, Select, Choice and Prime. Everything here is Choice or up, said Harris, noting that what shoppers get at most big-box stores is Select.
We have a good, loyal following that comes for our tri-tips, our marinated meats and our chickens, said Harris. The store has an open refrigerator case full of tri-tips marinated in a variety of flavors. Our most popular marinade is our Vineyard one, which is wine based, Harris said. The market also carries a selection of marinated chicken from Fulton Valley in Sonoma, which raises free-range chicken. According to Harris, A lot of people know us for our chicken. It cooks up real nice and juicy.
The market's cold case carries several types of cuts of meat, including pork, beef and chicken. We have a standardized cut for all of our meats, said Harris, but we also do custom cuts.
Brentwood Fine Meats also does custom orders. If you want something we don't carry regularly like lamb or veal, we can order it and get it to you within a day or two, said Harris. The market also carries fresh never frozen fish on Fridays.
The business has recently expanded into the space next door, providing a bigger kitchen and dedicated deli counter. We've always offered sandwiches, but the seating is new, said Karkas as he showed off the dining tables in the new area.
In addition to featuring cold sandwiches made with deli meat by Saag's and Molinari, the menu has expanded to include several salads and hot sandwiches, including tri-tip, plus hot dogs and burgers. The burger is about the freshest you can get, said Harris. The meat is ground fresh daily and the patties are hand formed to order.
For the upcoming holiday season, Brentwood Fine Meats offers Willie Bird turkeys. Like the store's chicken, these turkeys are free range, fresh and never frozen. Spiral cut ham from Prime Smoked Meats in Oakland is also a favorite. We also sell a lot of roasts this time of year, added Karkas, noting that their roast cuts include prime rib roasts and standing rib roasts.
Brentwood Fine Meats is also active in the community. The two major events it supports are the Cancer Walk (for which the store donates all the meat) and the Super Bowl Sunday BBQ Cook-off for the Police Activities League (PAL). In addition to their work with the local school district, Harris sits on the PAL Board and Karkas is a member of the Brentwood Rotary.
Brentwood Fine Meats, located at 3877 Walnut Blvd., Suite A, is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and is closed Monday. The phone number is 925-513-0595. For more information, visit www.brentwoodfinemeats.com.