Main Street Meats & Real Food Market a Ventura legacy

Sharon and Isaiah carry on a legacy. Photo by Michael Gordon

by Jennifer Tipton

Located at 3049 E. Main St., this landmark has long been known as Ventura’s original and most loved butcher shop.

Opening in the 1920’s it was originally known as “Triangle Park Market” referring to the nearby intersection of Thompson, Main, and Telegraph Rd. Briefly leased as a restaurant it opened again as a butcher shop known as “Bud’s 101 Market”, back then Main Street was Hwy 101!

Frank Rea took over in the 1950’s and it became our beloved “Frank’s Market”, with son Mike as successor.

In 2012 Frank’s Market suddenly closed and Ventura held its breath … where we will get those amazing spencer steaks? Rumor was Frank became ill … truth is Mike simply retired.

A local rancher with over 17 years of experience, Sharon Palmer bought the business and after extensive remodeling re-opened as “Main Street Meats” in 2013.

Three of her kids, Jazmin, Shannon and A.J. work for their mom. Other employees include Aldo, Alexa and Isaiah with Future Farmers of America learning the trade.

The meat all comes from local ranchers and is organic, no dyes, no artificial preservatives or hormones, never been packaged or frozen. Much of the meat is dry aged which is the natural way to care for fresh meat, just as the butchers of days past used to hang it. “The problem with local grocery stores,” according to Sharon, “is the meat is cut and packed and never allowed to do what it’s supposed to do.”

Customers can order preferred cuts (like those spencer steaks), but the meat case has a variety of choices such as gorgeous steaks, chops, ribs and some incredible specialties – teriyaki beef short ribs, chicken artichoke feta sausage or sundried tomato, spinach and goat cheese stuffed chicken. There are a variety of custom burgers not found anywhere else such as the bacon burger with beef and bacon ground together. The ultimate burger is a combo of ground tri-tip, brisket and sirloin and all meat is ground fresh daily. Bulk Boxes are available ranging from 20-40 pounds with choices of beef, pork or the forager (combo) pack.

Sharon also does specialty side dishes for holidays, there was “Man Candy” for Father’s Day.

There’s also a full deli with assorted sandwiches etc.… and smoked tri tips, chickens, ribs and turkeys available to purchase. Selections change frequently.

Specials are offered every weekend. By entering your cell phone number, you’ll receive text messages notifying you of the current deal. Deals include $10 off a $50 purchase or a free tri tip with purchase of a bulk box and additional 5% discount if you pay cash. Sharon says, “Fees for small merchants are high, I’d rather give my customers that discount.” Checking in each visit earns future discounts of $5 to $10.

Main Street Meats also calls itself “a Real Food Market” and rightly so because there is local produce and products including Blue Ridge honey, Ventura’s Coffee and Earls Gone Wild BBQ sauces and marmalades. Sharon says, “You’ve got to be part of the neighborhood and support small businesses.”

She also shared, “To me, if you don’t give to the community, how do you expect the community to give back to you?”

Sharon gives generously to the City Center, Future Farmers of America and the Ventura County SELPA project, which provides disabled kids a chance to work in the market every Wednesday.

Main Street Meats & Real Food Market carries on the legacy of Frank and Mike Rea.

For more info check the website: MainStreetMeatsVentura.com.

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