"We sold about 700 turkeys this year, fresh turkeys," said Steve Cartinella, manager of Blue Ribbon Meat Company. "We also sell a lot of prime rib, whole ham, geese and lambs. Not everyone likes turkey. We also have fried turkey that is pretty good."
Cartinella has been working as a butcher on-and-off since 1974. He has been managing the Blue Ribbon store front since it first opened.
"Blue Ribbon was first opened in 1946 as a wholesale vendor and it's still a family-owned business," said Cartinella. "The storefront opened three and a half years ago."
Spices, like pepper and paprika, line the wall inside the cutting room, where Blue Ribbon employees slice meat off the bone into smaller pieces. The storefront is lined with meat that is ready to order.
Blue Ribbon offers other family favorites like bacon, pork chops and hamburger meat. It also offers more exotic meats like Argentinian chorizo and pates.
"We grind new hamburger meat every day," said Cartinella. "Our meat is guaranteed fresh, probably the freshest you can get. We don't add any additives to the hamburger meat, either."
Many of the lamb products come from the animals raised at the University of Nevada-Reno farm.
For those looking for organic or grass-fed products, those meats can be special ordered.
With the closure of Butcher Boy's and the lack of area competition, business has been doing well.
"Each year, we do more and more, get more and more popular," said Cartinella. "We sold more turkey this month than we did at this time last year. We have a lot of great customers. Some just walk here. Others drive all the way up from the south side of Reno. But we're still trying to get our name out. A lot of people have never heard of us before."
They have a devoted fan base, with customers raving on the butcher's Facebook page about the freshness of the food. "They are so much better than the grocery store," one reviewer said. "You have to try their giant bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos!"
"People like us for our prices," said Cartinella. "We are relatively less expensive than places like Costco and Scolari's. We carry choice beef. It's a better quality of meat you can find in most places."
The employees at Blue Ribbon beam with pride of their customer service.
"This is a place where we know your name," said Cartinella. "'Hi, Mrs. Smith. Here's your beef. Thanks for coming in today.' That's how things are done here. We give you great cuts of meat and great customer service."
For the rest of the holiday season, Blue Ribbon Meats is accepting pre-orders.
"Stop in and see what we have to offer," said Cartinella. "We are going to give you some of the best meat you ever eaten."
For more information about Blue Ribbon Meat Company, call (775) 358-8116.