A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Kyle Iseke at D'Arcy's Meat Market Ltd. It really was a pleasure listening to Kyle express genuine enthusiasm and excitement about D'Arcy's and the local products they feature.
After finishing our time together and photographing some of the really unique decor (check out that chalk wall, created by a local artist, and the red door in the back!), I sent him three simple questions about D'Arcy's via email. In the past I've written my local features as interviews, but I really feel like this one is best heard in Kyle's words, which you can read below.
Can you give me a bit of history on D'Arcy's? How it got started?
In 1991, D’Arcy’s Meat Market Ltd. was founded by D’Arcy Iseke after taking over Johnson’s Meats which was incorporated in 1961 by Dave Johnson as a small butcher shop servicing the community of St. Albert, Alberta. D’Arcy’s son, Kyle, worked there full time and eventually took over running his father’s meat shop. Growing up in the retail meat-cutting industry, Kyle loved the work introduced to him by his father.
In 2005, D’Arcy’s Meat Market hired Danielle an acquaintance of Kyle’s, to work part time. Although not how they initially met, Danielle and Kyle fell in love and were married in February of 2009. On June 1st, 2009 Kyle Iseke bought D’Arcy’s Meat Market Ltd. from his father; the same shop he had worked in alongside his father since the age of 12. Embarking on two new journeys together, a new life as a couple, and new business owners, the couple has devoted their efforts to continuously improving the quality of both customer service and local meat & poultry products they supply to their loyal client base.
On any given Saturday, their busiest day, Kyle and Danielle can be seen working together to serve the patiently waiting customers who dedicatedly return week after week for the best tasting steaks, pork roasts and sausages amongst a plethora of other best in class meat products.
Kyle Iseke graduated with honors and highest in class from N.A.I.T. with a Certification in Meat-Cutting. Many do not know that Kyle chose meat-cutting after three years in engineering. Deciding to be true to his passions, Kyle walked out in the middle of an engineering class to pursue a career as an entrepreneur and retail meat-cutter so he could be in control of his own destiny.
In the words of Kyle, “…it wouldn’t be possible without the help of my wife, Danielle. She has been so supportive. We really have a ‘team’ approach, especially during the busy season. This allows us to always deliver more quality products and services.”
“Our children will know their grandfather started [D’Arcy’s Meat Market].” says Danielle. “…it is our legacy for them.”
Can you tell me again where the meat and products are sourced from?
We primarily source our meats based on how high quality the farms and animals are. We look for proximity to St. Albert, flavour, tenderness, and sustainable ethics. Some examples include: Heritage Berkshire Pork from Busby and Gibbons, Premium Dry Aged Beef from Jeff Nonay in Legal, Wild Boar from Hog Wild in Mayerthorpe, and free range poultry from Ridge Valley Poultry Farms. We also choose to carry conventional meats in our store as we’ve found often times partnering with one or two farms can lead to shortages. When we do bring in conventional meats we still make sure it is a high quality product, examples of this include some of the Hutterite Poultry and Eggs, Wagyu, and Canadian Prime Beef. These larger farms and conventional meats can still be delicious and tender if we pay attention to their quality. Customers get a broad range of very high quality choices and can choose what they would like to purchase.
Finally, is there anything you might want to tell readers about D'Arcy's or a butcher like yours that they may not already know?
I feel a lot of people believe that a butcher is an expensive option, however most butchers around the city have tons of great deals and freezer packs available that can help families save money and eat great! I want customers feeling comfortable asking us all kinds of meaty questions, including where is the best value meat in the store. After all you can get a Prime Grade Top Sirloin Steak right now for around $5-$7 which will be the best sirloin steak of most peoples lives!
I'd love for you to stop in at D'Arcy's and take in the sights. (it really is a sight! Their counters looked incredible the afternoon I visited, and I spent most of my visit pondering whether I had already prepped my grill for the season.) Ask questions about their products and enjoy the fabulous service, the wealth of knowledge and the pride they take in what they provide.
A thank you again to Kyle and everyone at D'Arcy's for all of the hospitality and the welcoming atmosphere. It truly was a treat to visit you and we'll be back soon.