The new food businesses popping up on the edge of the South Wedge and Swillburg neighborhoods have seen a lot of press in the last few weeks in the D&C and City Newspapers and justifiably so based on what I’ve tried so far. This time we’ll be tackling McCann’s Local Meats which lies in the new Edge of the Wedge complex in the back of the parking lot near the corner of South Clinton and Gregory Avenues.
McCann’s is a butcher shop and sandwich shop all in one beautiful warehouse like package. This of course is because the space used to be a warehouse in its previous life before it turned into this palace of meat cutting. Usually I’d dive into more details, but the podcast I recorded with Kevin McCann will be coming out Friday and we talked in great length about the format of the shop and the neat equipment being used to create everything in sight.
What I do want to mention is that McCann’s is a local butcher focusing on processing and fully utilizing whole animals from around the Rochester area including beef, pork, chickens, turkeys, lamb and goats. They are utilizing dry aging, sausage making, charcuterie techniques and also cuts of meat that aren’t what you’ll run into in the grocery store. Sure you can usually still find Strip or Ribeye steaks, but if you venture off the beaten path you’ll find some interesting pieces that provide some great value and flavor like the Denver steak or the oyster steak.
I’ll leave more of the description of that part of the operation for the podcast as well and instead change directions and talk about some of the specific dishes I tried at McCann’s over the last few weeks. Currently, there is no official menu for sandwiches, but there are daily specials and anything you see in the case can be turned into a sandwich in one form or another. We have tried a decent selection of options so let us waste no more time and get going!
On the first visit the wife and I made to McCann’s we went for a sliced beef heart and tongue sandwich and a bulgogi special. Both the heart and tongue were cured, smoked, beefy and tender when sliced thin. Tongue may be be my favorite of all beef cuts whether it is in a braise, sandwich or taco and it is well represented here. McCann’s carries a nice mustard that tows the sharpness line well and works with the beef nicely. The bulgogi is marinated and then formed into a patty for service turning it into a super tender burger. That is topped with a lightly creamy dressing with lettuce and cabbage. Definitely something I’d try again.
The next daily special we sampled was a burger simply topped with an aged NY cheddar, mustard and pickles. The burger was cooked as ordered and thanks to the coarse grind the texture had that steak like feel to it while still remaining tender. Nicely salted with solid funk from the cheese. This was using their standard burger mix and if you want to try something fancier you can opt for their dry aged version as well. The fries that we got along with the burger were fried in beef fat and were truly fantastic. Dark, lightly crunchy and rich in all the best ways with nice flakey salt.
Maybe my favorite of the sandwiches I’ve sampled so far was the BBLT – a traditional BLT with beef bacon substituted instead of the traditional pork version. This cured beef short rib had the same style cure as the bacon you know and love but has a distinctly beefy finish in the best possible way. With a crispy and chewy texture, this was the best combination of what everyone wants in their different bacon textures. I’ll definitely be getting this one again.
If McCann’s was nothing more than a butcher shop I’d be a regular. If it were just a sandwich shop I would push it to everyone I knew. As a combination of both plus all of the future products and the positive impact of using local animals, this is somewhere that should be a hit for years to come. If you haven’t gone to McCann’s yet, it should absolutely be your next restaurant stop.