Mike Phillips and Kieran Folliard launching Green Ox meat co.
For years, Mike Phillips, the man behind the 100 Favorite Dishes-worthy charcuterie at the Craftsman, has dreamed of becoming the Midwest's first artisan salami maker, and I'm happy to report that plans are in the works to make that dream a reality. Talking to Phillips today, I learned that another notable local restaurant name--Irish pub operator Kieran Folliard--had been toying with a similar idea for a while. "He was a meat guy who was thinking of opening a sausage shop before he opened the pubs," Phillips explains. The two were introduced through their mutual friend, the chef Steven Brown, and met this spring to discuss plans for a meat-making operation they're calling Green Ox.
Mike "Charcuterie" Phillips with some of his wares
Phillips will start testing recipes in the Local's kitchen as they search for a space that can function as a commissary kitchen for the pubs. He'll be making fresh sausages for the restaurant's daily operations as well as meats that cure for several months, such as copa and salami, or several years, such as hams. Phillips says he plans to start adding Irish-style charcuterie to his repertoire--collard head (Irish head cheese), Irish bacon (or "back bacon," which is dry cured pork loin), blood sausage, etc.--and that eventually he and Folliard hope to have a whole line of Green Ox meat products available for retail sale at local co-ops and supermarkets.
With so many excellent hog farmers in the region, Phillips hopes that charcuterie can be a source of pride for the local food scene. "This is a good step in creating some regional identity for Minnesota food," Phillips says. "Both Kieran and I are in step with that and really want to see that happen."
Phillips last day at the Craftsman--and the last chance to sample his cooking, for a while at least--will be August 18. "Come in and have some charcuterie and see me," he says.