Food

The North Shore’s Modern Butcher Shop is moving closer to Boston in 2023

The “beefed up” new location in Danvers will have an expanded menu of sandwiches and snacks.

The Modern Butcher sausages
Sausages from the Modern Butcher. Photos provided by The Modern Butcher Shop

A new sandwich counter and butcher shop coming to the North Shore is the place that roast beef built. 

The Modern Butcher Shop, currently located in Newburyport, is moving to a larger store in downtown Danvers early next year. The whole-animal butcher shop will double its square footage in a location between the North Shore and Boston, as well as expand its lunch menu and offer bar seating for the first time.

“It’s everything we are, just beefed up,” co-owner Lisa Nichols said. 

Considering the Modern Butcher’s North Shore roast beef sandwich, a weekly special available only on Saturdays, is a hefty stack of American cheese, mayonnaise, and alternating layers of thinly sliced rare beef and barbecue sauce, a “beefed up” experience from the shop is an exciting promise (and Nichols adds, “no pun intended”). 

The Modern Butcher North Shore beef sandwich
The North Shore beef sandwich. – Photos provided by The Modern Butcher Shop

Nichols and her partner, Warren Means, debuted the Modern Butcher Shop in February 2019, after a couple years both apprenticing with Sutter Meats in Northampton. Originally from Danvers and Wakefield respectively, the couple wanted to bring whole-animal butchering to a community more accustomed to “marinated ​​steak tips and boneless, skinless chicken breast,” Nichols said. The Modern Butcher processes at least one whole cow, two pigs, dozens of chickens, and more on-site at its shop every week.

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The menu grew from necessity: Sausages, rillettes, and pȃtés all make use of cuts that are a tougher sell. House-made charcuterie increasingly became a draw to the tiny store — and a Sandwich of the Day special took on a life of its own. Nichols had launched this lone lunch item during the shop’s first summer. Featuring the likes of oven-“fried” boneless chicken thighs, or inch-tall stacks of deli meat, the Modern Butcher’s saucy, behemoth, daily sandwich specials steadily became a driver of sales and social media attention. 

“We went from doing 20 to 40, to now we’re doing about 125 sandwiches” a day, Nichols said. On a Saturday, the one day per week when the Modern Butcher serves up the North Shore’s most famous foodstuff, that sales figure is closer to 250. “We outgrew [the Newburyport location] way faster than we ever would expect,” she said. With the new space, the business can continue to grow, and more of the community can access locally sourced, sustainably raised meat. 

The Modern Butcher Shop rendering Danvers
The Danvers butcher shop spans 2,500 square feet, compared with less than 1,300 square feet in Newburyport. – Renderings by Peckham Design and Construction

The Danvers shop will have a three-seat charcuterie counter, as well as about 10 other bar stools for dining in. It’s a setup conducive to connecting people with their food, Nichols says. “People want to watch” when animals are being broken down in Newburyport, she notes. “Now, they can hang out, have a beer, and talk to one of us about what Warren’s cutting.” The Modern Butcher will continue to offer classes in its new location, as well. 

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Along with the rotating Sandwich of the Day, the new location’s dine-in menu will include a handful of (less gigantic) sandwiches available every day, such as the Italian Job (ciabatta with hot capicola, salami, pepperoni, fried mortadella, provolone, tomato, banana peppers, a spicy pepper spread, salt-and-vinegar potato chips, garlic mayo, and mixed greens), and stacks featuring house-made meats such as ham, pastrami, and beef belly bacon. There will also be a new selection of snacks and charcuterie boards featuring house-made terrines, whipped lardos, and meaty mousses. 

“First and foremost, we are a whole-animal butcher,” Nichols said. “We want the new space, especially with the food menu, to showcase that.”

The Modern Butcher Shop has a liquor license hearing in Danvers in January. Nichols, a career restaurant server, bartender, and local beer influencer, hopes to serve canned craft beer and natural wines by the glass. “I’m really excited to have something awesome on the North Shore,” she said of the beverage program she’s planning. The left side of the shop will be home to a growing retail collection, including produce from local farms, artisan cheeses, small-batch sauces and spice rubs, and grab-and-go meals and charcuterie made in-house.

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A former Dunkin’, the new location at 36 Maple St. has street parking as well as nearby municipal parking lots. Danvers “made sense for us because we get a lot of [customers] from Boston, so it’s a middle point from Newburyport,” Nichols said, adding that her hometown’s “downtown has so much potential to be great.”

The Modern Butcher Shop is currently under construction and is on track to open in early March. Follow on social media for sandwich FOMO and news about the move.

The Modern Butcher deli meat sandwich
A deli meat sandwich. – Photos provided by The Modern Butcher Shop

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