At Rudolph's Meat Market: Keeping Old-School Butchery Alive One Tip Roast at a Time

Categories: Interviews

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In 1895, Austrian immigrant Martin Rudolph opened Rudolph's Meat Market in Deep Ellum. Almost 50 years later, Cyrill "Sid" Pokladnik, who was an employee, bought the butcher shop, and it has remained in his family since. Pokladnik's five grandchildren all take part in running it now.

I recently spoke with grandson Brandon Andreason to talk about the lost art of butchery and how the Dallas market has changed over the past several decades.

How long have you worked here?
Since I could walk. My grandfather started working here in 1927 and went on to buy it. My mom worked here as a child and then my dad was here for over 30 years. My brothers and sisters have all worked here too. It's just been passed down from one generation to the next.

Have you ever wanted to do anything other than this?
I've just always really enjoyed this, so, no, not really. Being here is cool.

Has the locavore movement affected your business much?
For about the last four or five years we've seen more people that want to buy from the mom and pop shops -- local rather than shopping at the big chains. But still, the majority of people just want convenience. People get off work and don't have time to run down here. And I really do appreciate our loyal customers who do go out of their way to shop with us. That really is asking a lot. We have customers that travel from all over to see us. But unfortunately, for the majority, it's just about convenience. They need it right now. It's hard to come down to Rudolph's.

There used to be butchers in every grocery store, but they much harder to come by these days. Why is the trade becoming extinct?
There are a lot of reasons why, but mainly to keep costs down. Keep it cheaper. Grocery stores can't afford to have a quality-trained butcher that knows how to really cut meat. It's a lost art. Everyone is trying to save money and in a hurry. Even at the slaughterhouses -- they cut it, package it, handle it several times, repackage things and throw it out in the case.

As buyers, are we less educated now than we used to be?
Totally, and that goes back to the previous point that grocery stores don't have good butchers anymore. The consumers don't have anyone there to educate them about things. They just throw it out there and expect people to know where a round steak comes from or a tip roast, what's ground round versus ground chuck. You don't have the opportunity to ask somebody, and that's the beauty of being able to come here. We educate people at the same time.

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Rudolph's Meat Market

2924 Elm St., Dallas, TX

Category: General

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Will Bogie
Will Bogie

I have known the Andreson-Pokladnik families as long as I can remember. My best friend is Richard Andreason and we have known each other since we were three.  I've known Brandon since the day he was born. 

I have a lot of great memories associated with Rudolph's. At almost every holiday dinner we had a Rudoplh's ham, turkey, steaks or brisket. When I got married Richard and Brandon called me and said they wanted to donate the meat for my wedding.  We ended up having an engagement party / barbeque at a friend's house for about 50 people. When my father died Rudolph's prepared meat and cheese trays for the reception after the memorial service.  When my mother went to pay them Brandon refused to take her money saying " Mrs. Bogie, if I made you pay for that my mother would kill me."  They did the same thing when my brother died.

My family has eaten Rudolph's meat as long as I can remember.  My brother worked there as a teenager and I used to watch him and the other butchers when I was just a little kid.  Now my son goes in and does the same things I did. 

The two best stories I have are about Rudolph's took place decades apart but they tell the story of the quality of the meat.  In 1973, when I was about 5, Richard ate dinner at my house.  He took one bite of the pot roast and proclaimed to my mother "You didn't get this at my daddy's shop."  My mom admitted it was agrocery store roast and later said, if a 5 year old can tell the difference it must be something special.   Thirty-one years later, during the Christmas of 2004 I was living in Chicago and my mom had Rudoplh's send me a care package as a Christmas present.  Among the offerings was a ring of their Polish Sausage (Rudolph's makes it's own sausage).  I took it to friend's house who was having a barbeques and I had him cook it and then I left it out for other people to enjoy.  After about ten minutes a friend of mine, Joseph Chambers, came up to me and said " I understand you know about the sausage."  I said I did, and he wanted to know where I got it.  I told him and he could not believe it came from Dallas.  He told me "I have lived in Chicago my entire life.  I have eaten Polish Sausage my entire life.  This is the best Polish Sausage I have ever eaten!"  I was never more proud of my hometown in my life.  

Margie Hubbard
Margie Hubbard

Rudolph's is the best!  I love the variety of stuff they have.  Don't forget to check out the freezer case.

MB13
MB13

 should note that they will serve sandwiches there as well, great place to stop for a quick lunch

Guest
Guest

Love Rudolphs! It's not far from me and I shop there often. Some of the best meat in Dallas.

jon from tjs
jon from tjs

support indie food shops!  rudolphs rocks. 

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Good job.

Maybe you could do a series on local butcher shops.  I was in McKinney last week discovered two up there right off the square, was fleeing an overdose of potpourri and dress shops. Hams and Local Yokel both looked great.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

I think the "meat shop" you are looking for Grumpy Demo is at Cedar Springs, and Oaklawn-just sayin'.  Or, you can do like you normally do, and park with the lights on, at Reverchon.  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Thanks LDD, Im going to stop by this butcher someday after work and get some good steaks!  Did you take anything home after the interview?

LaurenDrewesDaniels
LaurenDrewesDaniels

I interviewed him prior to noon and wasn't going home until after 5pm. I should have bought a cooler. Buying meat is probably my single greatest shopping angst. My family does a  lot of hunting and I used to get a steady supply of meat butchered in the small town I'm from. But, they don't do that so much anymore. 

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

LDD, two great stories in two hours?  Guys, girls and t+anny's, they should make this the LLD blog.  OK, I love Rudolph's, but, since I hate going past 190, I usually stick with Hirsch's.  I used to love Deep Ellum, then the place just filled up with Urban Hipsters, and sucked the vital life blood out of it.  Remember the 500 Clubs, 2826......ahh the good ole days; welp, I guess that's why we grow, and move to Plano.  Recently voted (Forbes) the safest city in America!  But I guess that doesn't matter when you are tryin' to keep yer edge, or busy BEING EXTREMMMME!  Methinks the people that age the fastest are the folks that fight it; ala:

-People who at 40, get tons of tat's and piercings-People, who at 50, die the hair pink, or blue-Wear the fedora, to hide the bald spot-Beyond 40, have a pony tail-or long, flowing hair-People who are over 30, that hand out in Deep Ellum.

FunFact:-Blind Lemon Jefferson used to "hang out" in Deep Ellum-Robert Johnson recorded in DE

ps-And all the yuppies say who is Blind Lemon who, and who the crimby is Robert Johnson?

Kergie Out.

Laurence
Laurence

Sounds like you're too cool for Deep Ellum... or not cool enough.  Anyway,... enjoy Plano.

p.s. Robert Johnson recorded at 508 Park Ave.

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