Meat meets quality

Don Caraway returns to old-fashioned methods of meat cutting with Don’s Butcher Shop

Don Caraway began cutting meat in 1968, still using methods he learned through his three-year apprenticeship to become a journeyman. *Photo by Nicole Davis

Don Caraway went through a three-year apprenticeship to begin his career as a meat cutter in 1968, learning the best ways to cut all types of meat for optimal quality and freshness. Seeing the way the industry has changed throughout the years, he decided it was time to open his own butcher shop and return to those proven methods.

Caraway, a Franklin Township resident, started cutting meat in 1968 with Kroger Co., where he worked for 31 years. His wife was a nurse, and Caraway eventually decided to go into that field himself. He worked as a nurse for 15 years before returning to cutting meat at a few different companies, always having wanted to open his own shop.

Don’s Butcher Shop opened on Nov. 9 at 8028 S. Emerson Ave., in the plaza across the street from Franciscan Health. The shop offers 100-percent fresh, grain-fed beef, pork, amish chicken and fish. The meat is cut fresh every morning. Anything remaining at the end of the day gets discounted and put in the freezer, or donated to Gleaners Food Bank.

“We try to get everything processed minimally,” Caraway said. “We hand-cut all of the chicken. We try to do everything like we did in the past. With all the things I did with anatomy and nursing, cutting meat, bodybuilding some, I learned the muscles and where they’re located. A lot of meat cutters don’t know where a brisket is located or sirloin tip. With experience in all three things, I know where that muscle is to get the best cut and right angle at cutting meat.”

Caraway said by summer they hope to offer beer and wine that pair with the meats. He’s also working on adding more varieties of meat, such as goat, lamb and fresh seafood. He will offer specialty cheese and fresh produce from local farmers and some additional grocery supplies.

Why did you open this business?

I was in the business about 40 years cutting meat. What I see out in the community right now, it’s changed so much and is not agreeable to a customer. I wanted to open my own business to service the customer because customer service is the main thing. We only sell choice beef which is the best and I’ve cut for 40 years. We try to cater to the customers with any cut they might want. I started with hanging beef, so I can break beef and know where everything comes from. Customer satisfaction is the main reason I left nursing and opened a meat shop. It’s not for the money, but I make a living and the customer is usually pretty happy.

What did you do to prepare for opening your business?

I had to find a site first and remodel it, get the board of health in here to inspect everything. They gave me state and county no problems at all with cleanliness, sanitation. I worked since February last year until November to get the place ready to go, then ordered the meat from a company called Ideal Choice Beef. It’s a real good company with choice beef and pork that has not has the salt water added to it.

Who is your ideal customer/client?


How do you plan to be successful?

Customer service is the only way to be successful. Try to give what the customer want and have a friendly atmosphere.

What would we be surprised to learn about you or your company?

If I would be out of something, I have a one-day window to get it in.


Don’s Butcher Shop

8028 S. Emerson Ave.

Indianapolis, IN 46237

(317) 851-8172