Want your steak cut quick? George Racicot is not the butcher for you.
But if you’re looking for an artist of meat, step right in.
Racicot has run the Village Butcher shop on Elm Street in downtown Woodstock for 45 years. Wander into his store and you’ll find everything from fat sandwiches to fine wine, cold deli sandwiches to ridiculously big chocolate chip cookies.
But the meat. That’s where the adventure lies.
Don’t walk into Village Butcher and expect coolers stacked with row after row of pre-cut meats. There’s some of that, but the real beauty comes when you order exactly what you want. A friend of mine recently asked for two ribeye steaks and then marveled as Racicot spent 15 minutes trimming fat with a Michelangelo hand.
“Very slowly,” he says with a laugh when I ask him how he carves. “It’s sort of like an art thing. We form the meat. We want to make the people take home something that’s going to eat well but also looks good.”
Racicot is a small man, 76 years old, wiry. He and his wife, Linda, run the shop with a cadre of cheerful coworkers. He doesn’t say much, but ask him about the meat they prepare for customers and his blue eyes spark.
“When they open the package, they’re excited about it,” he says. “It’s not just a chunk of meat.”