Two female entrepreneurs who happen to be butchers made their mark on Cleveland's food scene last year when they opened up their storefront, Saucisson, in the city's Slavic Village neighborhood. Since their success in a primarily male-dominated field, the two have graced the radars of chefs and industry leaders outside of our city's food mecca - most recently from the Travel Channel.
Melissa Khoury and Penny Barend are pioneers in their own right after opening a business in a neighborhood considered the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. Soon, they will be recognizable to a national audience on famous chef Andrew Zimmern's show 'The Zimmern List.'
So yeah we just hosted @chefaz and his film crew for some filming of Zimmern’s List on the Travel Channel...don’t worry we will let you know when it airs! #iheartswine #ladybutchers #chefaz #andrewzimmern #travelchannel #holycrap #bestweekever #butchershop #cleveland pic.twitter.com/DAe2uhQLYC
— melissa khoury (@iHeartSwine) August 3, 2018
Zimmern, known to travel to all corners of the world in a quest for off-the-beaten-path markets, shops and hole-in-the-wall joints, found himself at Saucisson's headquarters.
"He stopped and waited in line like a customer. Ordered a sandwich. It was great," said Khoury.
Khoury said it's hard to say what will be featured in the episode because the film crew and Zimmern were there for four hours. Come September when the filming is done, they will have a better idea on what Clevelanders can expect.
Just last week, the pair were jet-setting to New York City to cook at the renowned James Beard House as part of an invitation by Dinner in the Dark— the latest foodie fascination that brings six chefs together to cook at a special restaurant.
What a great pleasure & honor it was to cook in this House!! Thank you @beardfoundation for inviting us and allowing us the honor to cook for you!! #iheartswine #ladybutchers #jbf #jbfditd2018 #porkscrapple pic.twitter.com/CXFhnPKm10
— melissa khoury (@iHeartSwine) August 1, 2018
"It was amazing to be around your comrades because often we don't see one another since we are all in our respective kitchens," Khoury said, mentioning other chefs who joined her from Salt and Green City Growers, to name a few.
Since opening in a neighborhood that is still considered "up and coming," Khoury and Barend were thrilled to see more eyes will be on Slavic Village—a neighborhood that has historical roots and recently made a destination again thanks to efforts by local businesses and leaders to turn a new leaf.
"There's a buzz about the neighborhood. New businesses are popping up such as Brittany's Record Shop and new ownership of Daisy's Ice Cream Shop," Khoury said while pointing out what she thinks is one of the nicest streets in Cleveland.
Fleet Avenue is considered Cleveland's first green street, designed with a bike lane and a special design for stormwater to be retained to green areas along the sidewalks.
From humble beginnings working as chefs to showing a famous TV personality around one of Cleveland's hidden gems, it's an exciting time to be food entrepreneurs like the "The Lady Butchers" of Cleveland.
"The more and more we get to know people over here, the more we realize this could really be an amazing neighborhood," Barend said when News 5 interviewed her last year. "This could really be an amazing neighborhood again. There is so much potential here."