Bare Bones beef and Cheddar, potatoes

The beef and Cheddar sandwich with beef-fat fried potatoes and garlic mayonnaise at Bare Bones Butcher.

Let’s just start with the beef-fat fried potatoes.

There are plenty of reasons to visit Bare Bones Butcher, 906 51st Ave N., but the potatoes are unbelievable. Bare Bones takes golf-balled size Yukon Golds, boils them until they’re tender and hand splits them so that each piece has lots of craggy edges. Then they deep fry them in beef fat until they achieve a perfect crunchy exterior.

They serve them in a brown paper bag that will show great evidence of beef fat stains alongside a container of garlic mayonnaise for dipping. More than once, I’ve gotten an order to go and intended on taking them home. But the lust for these things overcame me and I pulled over to a parking space and ate them in the car. All of them. They’re that good.

So under the category of “what to order” the beef-fat fried potatoes are at the top of the list. But there’s plenty more to love. Bare Bones Butcher is a nose-to-tail butcher shop, meaning that they break down whole animals sustainably and humanely raised and then offer almost everything for sale. I’ve never seen an actual nose in the butcher case, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

And if you care for a first-class sandwich to go along with your potatoes, this is the place. The shop uses their premium meats in the sandwiches. That automatically elevates them to spectacular.

The menu starts with standard sandwiches “almost always” on the menu. The reason for the uncertainty is that same nose-to-tail standard. There’s not an unlimited supply of any of the meats and if Bare Bones runs out on any given day there is no more until the butchering begins again.

The shop has a first-rate cheeseburger made with two hand-ground patties, American cheese, Duke’s mayonnaise (of course), yellow mustard and house-made pickles. The El Cubano features roasted mojo pork, braised ham hock, yellow mustard, house pickles, Swiss cheese and garlic mayonnaise, a much fancier version of the traditional Cuban. And don’t miss the pastrami melt with house-made pastrami, pickled cabbage, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing (otherwise known as 1,000 Island).

Under the special sandwiches not always available are a bulgogi beef featuring braised Korean-style beef bulgogi, Korean pickles and sriracha mayonnaise; a bologna sandwich made with house bologna, American cheese and what they call their special sauce; and a roast beef and Cheddar with roasted red pepper sauce that takes your basic Philly cheesesteak to a whole other planet.

You will wait for these sandwiches because they’re made to order, but that will give you time to browse the pantry and refrigerated take-home options that include their excellent braised greens and no-beans meaty chili, premium cheeses, imported tinned fish, condiments and very rare-to-find locally 00 flour. Double zero flour is what the cool kids use to make authentic Italian pasta and pizza dough. Prior to Bare Bones carrying it, I ordered it online. That does not make me a cool kid. Just obsessive.

You can also watch the butchers work through a giant glass window looking into their butchering space. That will inspire you to pick up something from the butcher case. I am personally obsessed with the bacon and sausages.

Oh, yes. The shop also sells its beef tallow also known as beef fat. You might be tempted to try making the beef-fat fried potatoes at home. Have at it, but they won’t be as good as the ones Bare Bones makes. That is a universal truth. I don’t know why. But just buy the potatoes. And eat them in the car.

Catherine Mayhew is a former restaurant critic for The Charlotte Observer, cookbook author and master BBQ judge. Follow her @thesouthinmymouth on Instagram to see what she’s eating and email her at with suggestions on your favorite restaurants and food trucks.

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