“The Wine’ing Butcher” is a succinct name, but it offers no indication of the myriad products and services provided by the new butcher shop next to Hooper’s Crab House on Ocean Gateway.
Perhaps a full kitchen, made-to-order takeout menu, catering, holiday meal assistance and personable, tailored service are just too much to fit on the marquee for the 2,800-square-foot butcher shop that has other locations in Virginia and New Hampshire.
Co-owners Dion Ho and Andrew Arguin, two lifelong friends, said they came up with the idea after Arguin encountered a similar concept in New England, where he was working at the time.
The pair joined to open shop in New Hampshire before expanding and, now, have brought their idea home.
“Dion and I have been friends since high school,” Arguin said. “We grew up in Dover. Ocean City and Delaware beaches were kind of our proverbial stomping grounds. Dion has owned a house in Ocean City going on five years now.”
Arguin describes The Wine’ing Butcher as a gourmet food market that is rooted in a butcher shop. They’re heavy on the meat side of the business, he said, but also offer an assortment of wines and beer that pair well with their menu offerings.
“The goal is for the community to shop with us — keep it fresh and simple and be able to get a complete meal,” Arguin said.
It doesn’t stop at meat and alcohol, though, as the store boasts side dishes, desserts and an assortment of cheeses. The pair say that they pride themselves on having something for everyone, be it someone on lunch break, cooking for date night or planning a family feast.
And they’ll strive to pair a customer with the cuts that will work best for their culinary capabilities and methods.
“We don’t care whether it’s a single person that just wants to come in and get some great food, a weekend warrior barbecue, aspiring chefs or families that want a good meal,” Arguin said. “We cater to seasonal and holiday events. That’s where we shine especially. But we are a day-to-day butcher shop. Come in, get proteins for the day or week … We’re interested in educating the community as much as anyone. We try to source locally, regionally, throughout the country and world depending on what we’re looking to bring in.”
Added Ho, they don’t really have a “typical” customer.
“There’s a lot of different walks of life in Ocean City in general and we cater to everybody,” Ho said. “We even have vegetarians who come in the store for the prepared foods. We try to cater to the vacationers and the locals. Those are the main client bases we want to hit.”
The Wine’ing Butcher makes many of its offerings in-house, including bacon and sausage. They prepare many of their sides and desserts themselves as well.
They can brine, fast-cook and deep-fry their meats as well. Simply put, if it can be done, The Wine’ing Butcher will try to make it happen.
“We try to make sure that we provide the freshest quality for our customer base and that we keep things simple,” Ho said. “That’s the key — making life easier for our customers whether they’re on vacation or a family doing sports every day and don’t have time to prepare food but are looking to cook. We don’t pigeonhole ourselves with trying to make one thing over and over again.”
It’s an attitude that is embodied by the Ocean City staff as well.
“We take care of our customers,” said general manager Lauren McWilliams. “We try to treat them like family and make sure that they’re all aware of what quality meats we have, that we make everything here in-house. Everything’s made with love — it’s all homemade.”
Arguin and Ho said they also offer a catering service but are looking to the New Year to ramp it up.
“Once we get into the new year, we’ll push (our full catering menu) out,” Arguin said.
“Anything at the store you see or want we can do in a catering type environment … On the menu, we can do sandwich platters, sub platters. We do and have done all these different things ala carte, off the cuff. It’ll transform into a more formal menu after the new year.”
The hours for the Wine’ing Butcher vary, but typically they open at 10:30 and close by 5 or 6 p.m., Arguin said.