No one could have predicted how successful City Butcher was going to be. Springfield, Missouri, is chock-full of barbecue joints, but when owners Cody Smith and Jeremy Smith opened City Butcher in 2014, they went in a different direction (and though the pair share a last name, they aren’t related). Instead of dousing meat in a semisweet sauce or coating it in a 30-ingredient rub, they rely on two ingredients: salt and pepper. At City Butcher, ’cue is made in a central Texas style, and it has taken the city by storm.
What started as a small artisan meats stand at a local farmers’ market quickly developed a devoted fan base. When Cody and Jeremy decided to expand with a brick-and-mortar restaurant and butcher shop, their customers followed. Often working from 4:30am to 6pm, the shop’s pitmasters make its barbecue fresh every day. Not long after opening, the shop started selling out of its brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Soon, City Butcher had to expand in order to keep up with the line of barbecue-craving customers. Cody and Jeremy readily admit there’s not much creativity in what they do: It’s all about quality. To ensure they were correctly carving meat, the pair spent hours watching Austin, Texas, chef and James Beard award-winner Aaron Franklin on YouTube and even waited five hours to eat at his restaurant. “There was a lot of reading, cooking, cutting, traveling, sampling, eating and, of course, frame-by-frame video viewing to see specific processes,” Jeremy says. What they learned was simplicity, and that’s what they credit with fueling the shop’s success so far.
“It’s all about the flavor profile,” Cody says, “and for us its smoke, salt and fat.”
★ And Cody and Jeremy are at it again: They’re gearing up to open CB Social House in Springfield. Like City Butcher, CB will boast a butcher shop, plus a lounge and upstairs restaurant with a full bar. (Photo by Starboard & Port Creative)
City Butcher in Springfield, Missouri, citybutchersgf.com
RUNNER UP: Andy Hampshire, Farmers Gastropub in Springfield, Missouri, farmersgastropub.com