WE LOVE FOOD blog, April 2018

Tradition meets street food

Interview with Mike Griesch who created "Metzgers"

A little over six months ago, Mike Griesch opened Metzgers in Alstertal-Einkaufszentrum in Hamburg together with Bahram Albordji and Benjamin Facius. The new concept of this meat and food bar was developed from Die Feinschmecker, the former traditional butcher shop. In this interview, Mike – originally from Alstertal in north Hamburg – tells us what makes the new concept successful, what trends have inspired the team, and what people should put on the barbecue this summer.

How did you come up with the idea of turning a traditional butcher shop into a modern business inspired by street food?

After around 20 years, we believed that our business was in need of an overhaul from the ground up and a new concept. For inspiration, we visited a lot at food truck events and trade fairs, and we also traveled abroad – especially to the United States. At the same time, we launched another concept: Wurstküche (“the sausage kitchen”). This is the name of a food bike that we use ourselves at private events. Our ideas gradually came together over time, giving birth to the Metzgers concept.

What is at the heart of the new concept?

We have a completely new design with many wooden elements and an open kitchen. Apart from that, there is a slightly reduced range of products on offer at the fresh counter. For example, we no longer sell cold cuts, but our focus is now on high-quality meat from the region. For example, our beef, veal and lamb are sourced from the Elbe River Landscape, a UNESCO biosphere reserve where animals are reared on green meadows using traditional farming methods. Customers can watch food being prepared from the counter or restaurant area – nothing is hidden from view.
Additionally, we have expanded our target group. Customers of every age will find a varied selection each day, from traditional home cooking with dishes such as kale with smoked pork or asparagus with ham to modern street food such as burgers with sweet potato fries – as well as soups and salads. Every meal is made from high-quality ingredients and sold at a fair price.

What makes the combination of food service and restaurant dishes so successful?

We offer service and quality dishes for every time of day. The lunch menu is doing especially well, most notably our messy fries. These are served with different toppings such as chili con carne or pulled pork. However, our “Steak and Grill” range is also very popular. This allows customers to choose their meat at the fresh counter and to have it prepared however they like.
Many people do not realize that we also serve milkshakes, coffee and homemade ice tea. That is something we hope to focus on even more closely in the future.

What are the latest food trends in the world of meat?

Bowls are currently very popular. The so-called “energy bombs” originally come from Hawaii and are made of rice with a fish topping, for example. We would like to include our own creation on the menu soon – with meat, of course.

What are the barbecue essentials this summer?

People should definitely try our sausages for grilling. We have around 20 different options on offer at any time, including Wagyu beef, elk sausage, poultry sausage, and wasabi sausage. There is also delicious steak with our rubs, a kind of dry marinade. Our customers will soon be able to buy spices, rubs, sauces, and stock – all clearly named after the appropriate meat.
In my back garden, the barbecue will definitely see some dry-aged steak. This meat is very tender and has a slightly nutty taste because it ages on the bone for up to five weeks.

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Mike Griesch dreamed about running his own business even when he was a young boy. However, after a year abroad in America and a short time in the automotive industry, he decided to continue the family tradition by training as a butcher. Mike then took on various positions in the family business and in wholesale before heading up production at Die Feinschmecker Manufaktur in 2015. The three partners opened the first Metzgers store at Alstertal-Einkaufszentrum in Hamburg over six months ago, and they are already looking for additional locations.