Grinding Away is a Family Tradition
The German sausage kitchens of Central Minnesota are certainly a long way from the Valley of the Sun, but after years of cutting meat in shops in and around the Twin Cities area, Dick Liddy had a hunch nearly 40 years ago that the skills he had honed, coupled with a strong Midwestern work ethic, could translate to success in the heart of the desert.
The story of Scottsdale’s French’s Meat Shoppe actually goes back to 1969 as a small shop opened by Don and Darlene French located at Granite Reef and McDowell Roads. After establishing themselves as a premier butcher in the area, Don sadly passed away while playing golf, and shortly after his wife was looking to sell the shop. As luck would have it, Dick had just relocated his family to the area and was ready to buy, and in January of 1977, he took over ownership of the shop.
“I inherited it with one employee and had to lay them off within the first six months,” recounts Dick as he reflects back on the struggles of those early days trying to navigate running his first butcher shop. “After letting him go and having to do everything myself, I realized that I had a real interest in the wholesale business, and was able to start securing some accounts which are still with us today.” Mainly through word-of-mouth and fostering good relationships with local restaurants, Dick was able to get things going in the right direction to the point where shortly after a decade of owning French’s, he had outgrown the original space.
Eventually the shop relocated near Eldorado Park, where it remains today. Though the majority of French’s Meat Shoppe’s business still resides on the wholesale side, they have never given up on a desire to offer an amazing product at a fair price directly to the public. All of their sausages are made to order, and they grind their beef fresh every night. They never use fillers or by-products, and the quality speaks for itself, as a recent poll of the top 20 burger’s served at metro area restaurants reveals that four of them use French’s ground beef. Shortly after relocating French’s also started to play around with a seasoning blend that they have perfected over the years in both their signature Fiesta Seasoning as well as a spicy version with Jalapenos. This year they have also started to dry-age Prime New York Striploins as well as Prime 109 Beef Ribs. Both take upwards of about six weeks but the result is a cut of meat that will stand up against any other in the Phoenix area.
One of the best aspects of French’s Meat Shop is that Dick has been able to keep it a true family business. Each of his four kids have worked there at one time or another over what is now almost four decades, and most continue to play an active role in the business today.
“One of my daughters has taken over most of the office while one of my sons works nights taking care of that shift by grounding beef and making patties,” says Dick. “My other daughter helps out with the telephones and that kind of stuff and it has all just been a really great experience.”
Dick has also had a passion to keep his company involved with the community. From that very first year they started donating hot dogs to the Scottsdale Little League, which is something they have continued doing ever since. French’s also donates hot dogs to the city for special events throughout the year, as well as chicken to some of the food missions throughout town. French’s Meat Shoppe is located on McDowell Road, just west of Hayden Road. They are closed on Sunday and Monday, but are open to the public for the rest of the week. Information on hours, products, and specials can be found by visiting their website at FrenchsMeatShop.com or by calling them directly at 480.949.8911.