Buffalo Grove butcher shop serves up the whole cow
Arlington Heights resident Marti Jarosz has shopped at Dorfler's for about 12 years. On Friday he picked up the chicken and garlic-Parmesean bread for dinner. | Ronnie Wachter~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:20AM
BUFFALO GROVE — Keith Walger is thinking about bovine anatomy again.
He finds it interesting, and he is thinking about teaching a class about it, because he thinks many in the public will find it interesting, too.
Walger, the owner of Dorfler’s Meat Market in Buffalo Grove, has spent his career trimming his own steaks and other cuts of beef. Though the work is clearly not for vegetarians or the faint-of-heart, he maintains that there are plenty of beef fans out there who would want to learn how to find the round steak or the filet, and how to cut it.
“What differentiates us from chain stores is that we get in the whole cow,” Walger said Friday while preparing for his business’s 35th anniversary. “We do all our own cutting and trimming, which makes a big difference from the box stuff grocery stores get. We pride ourselves on doing all our own cutting.”
Dorfler’s will celebrate its 35th year in business Dec. 3. It has had only two owners and two locations in its history.
Ron Dorfler, who opened the store on the southeast corner of McHenry and Buffalo Grove roads, and Walger, who bought it from Dorfler in 2000 and found that he needed more room. He went around the corner, from a 14,000-square-foot space to the 45,000-square-foot location at 1182 McHenry Road.
Having planned to become a chef when he joined Dorfler’s staff as a sophomore at Wheeling High School, Walger brought his interest in a wide variety of foods to the business’s current menu. Dorfler’s now receives daily shipments of fresh fish in its 12-foot freezer case, and what had been a five-foot deli at the old spot now spans 16 feet.
“Just moving along with the ages,” said Walger, who recognizes that many of his customers have less free time and need complete, ready-to-go meals.
On Friday, longtime customer Marti Jarosz said she was in between. She has the time to cook a full chicken Parmesan, but appreciates that Dorfler’s now has garlic-Parmesean bread ready to go as well.
“His guys are the best, and that I think, is so important,” Jarosz said. “These guys have been working here as long as I’ve been coming here.”
Two of those guys are Don Weyrick, the meat cutter, and Dale Badgerow, the manager, whom Walger recalled working under as a teen.
The group’s years of experience could make for a serious class on cattle anatomy. Walger speaks with fervor about why the round steak looks like a great piece to throw on a grill, but does not work well there. He explained that it is too tough to cook over a grill, because it is the most-used muscle in a cow’s body.
If one has time to spend on a slow-cooking session, though, Walger recommends the blade or round-bone shoulder muscles, which go into pot roast.
“I’m getting hungry right now, just thinking about it,” Walger said.