THE SCOOP: Mark Henry, right, has opened a charcuterie shop and deli in the exciting new Ivywild School redevelopment. The Meat Locker, an artisan retail butcher shop, is located across the hall from The Teachers' Lounge, where hunky sandwiches, soups and salads are served. Eventually, Henry also plans to provide eats for the Bristol Brewing taproom located on the building's north end. This spring, he introduced himself to Colorado Springs by partnering with Chef Kevin Campbell of Full Circle Cuisine
to present a special charcuterie and cheese "pop-up" dinner at Motif Jazz Bistro. He's been generating buzz ever since.
THE BACKSTORY: Henry's immersion as a creative carnivore began during a recent 2 1/2 year stint with the popular Blue Star restaurant. He and his fellow chefs were disappointed by the quality of the charcuterie they were getting and decided to make their own. "I liked it, and so we just kept going with it," he says.
Henry leaves no ambiguity about where his loyalties lie: he extols the virtues of supporting local farmers on the menu he prints daily on rustic butcher paper and hangs up at The Teachers' Lounge.
"The goal is to go everything local," he says.
He was quick to jump in and help when one of his suppliers, Joyful Noise Farm, was impacted by the tragic Black Forest Fire.
Another key supplier for him: Ranch Foods Direct. It's not surprising that Henry is a big fan and shops the store frequently. Asked to name a personal favorite, he pulls a chuck-eye steak from the meat case, applauding it for being as tender and delicious as a prime cut, at a fraction of the price.
"I do a lot of barbecuing at home and make my own sausages," he says. "(Wife) Amy gardens a lot. That's where it all got started for me."
Henry initially came to Colorado Springs in 2004 when he was stationed at Ft. Carson. He followed that up by attending the local Paragon Culinary School.
UP NEXT: Henry plans to continue sourcing beef, pork and other meats from Ranch Foods Direct while working with the store's butchers to hone his meat cutting skills. He also hopes to visit Callicrate Cattle Co.
to bring his experience "full circle."
THE MEAT LOCKER 1605 S. Cascade Ave. (Ivywild School)