“Eat better meat [but eat it] less often." That’s what Kate Kavanaugh and Josh Curtiss, co-owners of the month-old Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, ask of their customers. "It might sound strange for a butcher to say that but it's about eating meat responsibly,” Kavanaugh says. For these two, that means sourcing animals from within 250 miles of the LoHi shop. Currently, Western Daughters gets their pigs (and chicken eggs) from Cotton Creek Farms in Merino and their cows from Koberstein Farms in Holyoke, and soon the shop will carry bison and lamb, and hopefully elk and chicken.
All of the meat—which Kavanaugh and Curtiss skillfully cut and artfully display—is hormone- and antibiotic-free from animals that roamed free on pasture and ranchland. "We visit the ranches. We're in the unique position of seeing animals from inside and out," Kavanaugh says.
The duo, who are from Denver but met in Arizona, apprenticed at Fleisher's in upstate New York. When they left Arizona to make the move east, they knew they’d eventually land again in Denver. The Mile High City symbolizes more than just a hometown to Kavanaugh: In the late 1800s, her great grandmother left Philadelphia with five daughters in tow and traveled to Denver by covered wagon. The West offered the promise of a new life.
And so it went for Kavanaugh and Curtiss; they returned to the Plains to open Western Daughters. (For a glimpse of the shop’s namesake, look for the black-and-white photograph displayed on top of the beef case.)
So, what does Western Daughters stock? Since Kavanaugh and Curtiss butcher whole animals, tell them what you need and they’ll make it happen: When I had a recipe that called for pork neck cut with the grain into half-inch thick slabs, Kavanaugh put some aside from me. She and Curtiss cut me pork shoulder (thinly sliced, against the grain), pork spareribs, and a handsome pork chop. There’s also house-made sausage, roast beef, dry-age rib-eye, osso bucco, and teres major—not to mention homemade stocks and a variety of gourmet foodstuffs ranging from pickles to goat’s milk caramels.
Despite being only 720 square feet, Western Daughters is the type of place you’ll want to get lost in. Go, browse the cases, talk to Kavanaugh and Curtiss, and take home something delicious for dinner.
When to shop: Western Daughters is open Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bonus: Follow Western Daughters on Instagram for a beautiful detailing of the shop's philosophy.
3326 Tejon St., 303-477-6328