Now I don’t pride myself on being the best shopper and definitely not on being a competent chef, but I’m sure that a package of pork chops isn’t supposed to turn to mush after being broiled. Combine this with the fact that their deli seemed to only be six feet across and the only respite was prepackaged Oscar Mayer, these final straws at the local County Market launched me off campus in pursuit of better meats.
My journey took me around the city and eventually led me to Old Time Meat and Deli, located just south of Kirby, for a solution to my aching soul and stomach. Upon entering the quaint market, I was greeted by two gentleman behind the meat counter before I was able to truly take in the expansive counter which ran the length of the store, containing within it everything I had been looking for. The deli alone offers several cuts of meats and cheeses from the staple ham and cheddar to the reformed gouda or prosciutto. On top of having chicken breasts and fish filets – both fresh and frozen – the butcher has everything beef including petite sirloins, New York strip, porterhouse, and filet mignon for those special occasions; all of which are USDA prime or choice cuts. If you aren’t in the know, only 2% of meats can be classified prime or choice (choice being the upper echelon of beef goodness) and come from Omaha Nebraska. Old Time Meat and Deli prides themselves as the only carrier of these meats in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Old Time Meat and Deli also prides themselves on having an owner with his hand in Dutch Valley Meats, which grinds and packages all the brats and allows for unique creations like cheddar jalapeño brats, brie brats and several other which alternate by every visit. They also have an in-house smoker which allows for anything you purchase to be smoked at no charge, and assures all your meats are teeming with flavor. They also hand make their twice baked potatoes and potato/crab/mustard/whatever you want salad to round off any dinner.
It’s difficult to find a reason to complain about the market that has that neighborhood feel which you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. It is a bit out of the way but the journey off campus for quality meats is well worth the time expenditure. The prices may seem a bit steep but you pay for the highest quality cuts and the knowledgeable assistance from the staff who’ll guarantee you leave knowing the best way to prepare your meal.
Address: 2018 S. Neil St., Champaign, IL
Hours of operation: Monday – Saturday 10AM – 6PM, closed Sunday