From the outside, Evan’s Meat Market looks like a boutique butcher shop. Step into the subway-tiled Highland Park store, and customers will find a neat display of tenderloins, chuck roasts, ribs, and filets. Farther down, there are mouthwatering cross sections of capicola, roast beef, and pastrami. Behind the counter, a wall of fridges is packed with to-go Cajun sides such as house-made gumbo and chicken salad. Packages of frozen biscuits have directions written on them in permanent marker: “Heat at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes.”
Behind the prime cuts and the personal touches are owner Evan Meagher, store manager Brer Wyant, and head butcher Mike Lawson, all of whom aim to put a friendly face on the neighborhood shop. “It used to be where you would know your butcher, they know your name, and you know where things are coming from,” Meagher says. “You’re not another number. That, to us, has a lot of meaning.”
Meagher opened Evan’s Meat Market in January and immediately started encouraging people to learn about meat, try new recipes, and get a taste of Cajun cooking. Having grown up around butcher shops in Lafayette, Louisiana, Meagher says it wasn’t unusual for him to make a weekly stop for cuts of meat and a po’ boy sandwich.
He wanted a place for Dallasites to do the same. But instead of offering only raw meat and po’ boys, Evan’s also stocks frozen cooked foods, ready-to-heat seasoned proteins, and to-go sides in addition to brined, cured, and smoked meats and sausages prepared by Lawson. “It’s not just for anniversaries,” Wyant says. “It’s really just part of your everyday shopping.”
What’s most important for the trio is working together to build personal relationships with customers. The examples are numerous. One man left with pork belly and came back with homemade porchetta for them to taste. Lawson once spent eight hours smoking short ribs for a customer’s special order. He’s also been on the hunt for beef cheeks and organ meat to satisfy other requests.
The proteins are sourced from Fort Worth Meat Packers and Box M Sustainable Meat Co., which are based in Texas and Oklahoma. Meagher imports the bread for the po’ boys from Langlinais Baking Company in Lafayette, which is where he spent a summer working his first job. Po’ boy French bread is slightly different, Meagher says, and Langlinais does it best: the bread is crispy on the outside but airy on the inside, which gives the sandwich its signature po’ boy “squish” when you cram the cold cuts, lettuce, tomato, and other toppings into one bite.
The goal is to create a community for people to learn—and eat—together in Highland Park. “I want to remain local,” Meagher says. “I think it’d be a hard time to try to replicate this somewhere else. The three of us working together, that’s what makes it a special place.”
This story originally appeared in the May issue of D Magazine with the headline, “Pleased to Meat You.” Write to [email protected].