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