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A cut above

Photo by Doug Little

FoodFare puts quality and customers first

If you’re in need of the perfect steak for your backyard barbecue, FoodFare has got you covered.

The meat counters at all five of its Winnipeg locations are staffed with their own butcher, something you won’t find at the big box competition.

“There’s always somebody available to cut you a thicker steak,” says Munther Zeid, co-owner of the Winnipeg-based independent grocery.

“As long as the sun is out, barbecue season is every day in the summer. It gets busier on Thursdays and Fridays because people are heading out to the cottage and want to take a good cut of meat with them. We don’t let them down,” he says.

What’s available at the big box competition, however, is already “pre-cut and pre-packaged the way they think you want it,” he says.

A butcher is different from a meat cutter because they can break down the animal and they know exactly where every piece is, such as the prime rib and the T-bone, and what they mean from a taste and texture perspective.

If you need a real-life example, look no further than Blake Baerr, a butcher at the Corydon and Lilac store. He has worked there since 1982. You know, back at the same time when Michael Jackson released his “Thriller” album. Zeid says having a butcher is part of the company’s culture, which is very much the traditional grocery store.

“In today’s world, so much of the business is self-scan, self-pay and self-bag. You do everything yourself yet prices are still going up. It doesn’t make any sense. If you’re going to scan it and bag it yourself, there should be an added value for you but you’re not getting a special discount or any special points. You’re paying the same amount as the guy a couple of tills over who is getting serviced,” he says.

“People at our stores still value service. They want to be taken care of. They don’t want to scan their items, they want somebody to bag their groceries for them and they may want somebody to take them out to the car for them.”

FoodFare’s meat departments feature a wide variety of beef, pork, chicken, bison and marinated kebabs.

Zeid recently invested in a dry ager for customers who are particular about how their meat is aged. The machine, located right in front of the meat counter at Zeid’s west Portage Avenue location, cost about $16,000.

“We invest for our customers. We’re trying to get more shelves for it so we can keep up with demand. You put your loin or prime rib in there and when it comes out, it has unbelievable taste and tenderness. Some people are very particular about the age of their meat. Some want 28 days, some want 40 or 50 days,” he says.

Zeid said barbecuing can be intimidating if you’re looking to cook something a little more adventurous than hamburgers. The good news is, you don’t need to be a chef to make a great roast anymore. The Internet and a variety of food apps for your handheld device have made sure of that.

“You just need a place that provides you with a quality cut. Then you follow the instructions on your app or online and you’ll have a five-star meal,” he says.

FoodFare employs about 200 people, most of whom live in the same communities as the stores where they work. If Zeid has his way, expansion is on the horizon.

“We’ve been asked if we’ll open down Main Street or Pembina Highway or in St. Vital. We’re hoping to do No. 6 and No. 7 soon,” he says.

Learn more at

839 Cavalier Dr.
247 Lilac St.
115 Maryland St.
905 Portage Ave.
2285 Portage Ave.


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