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Grocery Stores

Custodio's Meats and Eats

Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / Posted on January 17, 2014

custodios torontoCustodio's Meats is yest another sign that Roncevalles is rapidly changing, as many of the older generation of predominately Polish businesses have made way for a new generation of hopeful upstarts.

You'd be hard pressed to recognize it as the old Mrs.Huizenga space, transformed by 100 year old grey washed barn board and exposed brick on the walls, a stream of chandeliers and pot lights shining down over on the display fridges. Change, they say, is inevitable, and this is one I can get behind. Locally owned and operated, committed to the community, and offering a fine product, Custodio's Meats and Eats has plenty to compliment.

custodios meats and eatsEnter the long space and after being greeted by a friendly cashier, dust up your feet with the toss of sawdust on the floor, a nice old-world touch. Walk all the way back and you'll usually hear the whine of a high-powered blade hard at work, as butchers break out the local sourced meats into choice cuts.

custodios meatsThe display cases to the back and right house these fresh selections, while the stand-up and open fridges to your left have an assortment of vacuum-packed, portioned, fresh or prepped food, stocks, soups and sauces.

custodios meatsOne of great things I noticed about Custodio's was the unusual selection. Often a butcher shop can get you sweetbreads if you ask ahead of time, but rarely do you see them actually on display. Offal was front and centre at Custodio's, a welcome sight for a city that counts amongst its cookbook writers the one that penned "Odd Bits."

custodios meatsEvery fridge or display case had at least one surprising treat -- vac-packed fresh porcini mushrooms or whole Muscovy ducks in the stand-up fridge, lamb, chicken or beef demi glazes ($6.99), or a tray of whole roast squash ($12.99 lb) and whole roast chicken ready for home ($14.99 lb).

custodios meatsA wide variety of soups, including Parsnip and Truffle ($12.99), English style Lamb Shepherd's Pie ($18.99) or Braised Steak and Mushroom pie ($19.99) are ready to go. Custodio's is paying heed to the desire for comforting, luxurious food while respecting the busy lifestyles of the neighbourhood folk.

custodios meatsThese family style dinners take the worry out of what's for supper. Plus you can pick up some fresh bread, butter, bacon and eggs and call it breakfast too. Despite competition in the neighbourhood, I think Custodio's Meats and Eats is going to fit right in with the new face of Roncesvalles, as they ingratiate themselves to the locals with their fine cuts and hard work.

custodios meatsPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

30 Comments

Lo / January 17, 2014 at 11:41 am
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Nice write up! Jason and his staff are awesome, super friendly, and know their stuff! Everything I've tried from there has been fantastic. Recommend their stocks, cabbage and ham-hock soup. Roasted one of their whole chickens last night, and it was both juicy and flavourful.

This place is definitely a welcome addition to the neighbourhood, and offers variety outside of the resident Rowe Farms shop.

Denise / January 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm
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I've hit this shop a few times and I've never been disappointed. Their fresh cut meat is like no other and their ready to go meat pies are a must try! I definitely will return to this shop. I'm glad it's in the community.
Chris / January 17, 2014 at 01:03 pm
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Yeah. These previous comments don't sound like friends/family of the owners at all. Ha. All the praises of great food without mentioning the huge prices.
dvc replying to a comment from Chris / January 17, 2014 at 01:47 pm
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Hey Chris, just a local Roncey resident here. Have you been to that shit hole that they call Loblaws at Dundas & Bloor? Then you will understand why you have to pay more to get better quality fresh local food. Simple as that! Custodio's is a welcomed new addition to Roncesvalles Village. Go on! treat yourself, i dare ya!
Chris replying to a comment from dvc / January 17, 2014 at 02:38 pm
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Hey DVC. I'd rather go to the old school butchers like super kolbassa or benna's. That's what gave this street it's charming vibe and decent price. This new influx of overpriced meats can be found anywhere. All the charm that used to be roncy is fading away quickly. I agree that these shops provide a decent product, but the prices can't sustain themselves. It's fine to treat yourself once in a while, but it isn't a go to find every week.
chester replying to a comment from Chris / January 17, 2014 at 03:55 pm
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I'm not gonna say this place is crap. Its good quality but well over priced. Being the in the industry when new butchers start out they get the higher cost from farmers because their new and haven't established volume yet. So they transfer those prices onto their customers. Benna's and Kolbassa have been around forever so they have established relationships which means better pricing.

I'm shocked I've never seen Blogto do an article on the St. Lawrence Market. National Geographic has voted them best food market in the world 3 years running. I only get my groceries from there. I don't care if its an hour out of my day its so worth it for price, volume and selection.
mj / January 17, 2014 at 04:04 pm
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Over priced. Also, not to generalize them (too;) much, but there's really no difference in this place and Rowe Farms two addressees down. It looks the same, is presented the same... Things even appear to be packGed the same. When I went in I didn't see anything that excited me.
John / January 17, 2014 at 04:11 pm
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wow nice to see the rich can afford such high prices. $15.00 for a chicken I can buy it cooked with a large side dish.
Hipster dont work for there money.
Becca / January 17, 2014 at 04:23 pm
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Looking forward to stopping by this place when I move into Parkdale next month! Lovely looking selection of takeaway meals and the roast chickens looks great. And I love that charming storefront!
Susan / January 17, 2014 at 05:20 pm
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When I went in today they had some expired pies out (3-4 days past expiry). I went to rowe farms instead.
independent / January 17, 2014 at 06:23 pm
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This place looks fantastic! showcases a great passion for premium quality food. As for the pricing attack im reading people need to understand independent shops do not have the buying power of large chains or older establishments. Over time and years of support this gap is bridged and you build a great relationship with someone who actually cares about you as a customer! if you want to keep dumping your cash into Loblaws pockets be my guest but do so in a non judgmental way for the smaller guys. I am dumbfounded at complaints of a $14 full chicken being to pricey... yet thats the average going rate for a cocktail in this city, all relative but quit the complaining embrace that times have changed overhead prices for small business are higher than ever and a earnest attempt is being made to provide families with wholesome products. Hats of Custodio's ! rock on guys wishing you many years of success!
Jeff / January 17, 2014 at 08:26 pm
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Yessir! Competition keeps us all on our toes. I'm grabbing the kids and heading over tomorrow morning. Squash - sounds like someone sat on dinner.
james oliver / January 17, 2014 at 08:46 pm
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regular groceries re-branded as upscale and you can charge double. wtf is wrong with people?!?!?!
abc123 / January 17, 2014 at 08:47 pm
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Sobey's chicken is $9.99
Joe Shmoe / January 17, 2014 at 08:49 pm
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sobey's roast chicken is $10
Dan / January 17, 2014 at 10:12 pm
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I visited and this place and it felt like a complete total Rowe's Farm clone… one of which can be found a stone's throw away. I don't feel like it's a valuable or sensible addition to the neighbourhood.

As mentioned, the prices are very high but the quality does look great.

All said and done, when I want to treat myself I will probably stay loyal to Rowe's.
Christian / January 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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I've tried them twice now and the quality is excellent. The best pork chop I can remember and a fantastic dry aged steak. I'm always amazed by those who compare a boutique butcher's locally sourced products like their chicken to someplace like Sobey's with their hormone laden, factory farm offerings.

Rowe Farms quality isn't as good and the prices just as high. Way better selection at Custodios.
Adam / January 18, 2014 at 01:25 pm
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Christian said it best - Rowe farms is a good addition to the street but is a different store experience to Custodio's, with most products packaged on foam trays. Prices are the same as Custodio's which positions itself as an actual butcher. Whether you care about the farmer or not is your business but Custodio's offer a better overall product in terms of taste and selection.

To Chris and others re:Bennas and Super Kolbasa - I love these places just like you, but neither offers fresh meat from what I can remember. They are good businesses that serve a specific niche - either they will thrive as long as the Polish community continues to support them or they'll evolve to meet the needs of a changing neighbourhood demographic.
Luke / January 19, 2014 at 11:41 am
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Be sure to try their pickles. It's Jason's mum's pickling recipe. Best pickles I've tasted in Toronto.
Lou / January 20, 2014 at 05:28 am
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The comparison between Custodios and Rowe Farms is laughable. We have had such poor quality meat from Rowe Farms and prices are indeed the same as Custodios. Rowe Farms is not a butcher!
Try talking to the good folk at Rowe Farm. They know not what they speak. Compared to Healthy Butcher and Butcher By Nature, Custodios is right on the mark for price, selection and quality and Roncesvales needed it. Huge fan and hope that Custodios is here to stay!!
M.B. / January 27, 2014 at 08:40 pm
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Went there on the weekend, the staff was very friendly and answered all my questions about where they get their food. I just roasted a whole chicken I got there and it was delicious. and well priced at 10.50$ for a bird brought up outside on a local farm.
Lavender / February 10, 2014 at 08:28 pm
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I wouldn't compare this place to Rowe Farms. You can't walk into Rowe and get the kind of fresh (not frozen) prepared food you can at Custodio's, and Custodio's is a legitimate butcher. Big difference. I would be sad to see stores like Benna's and Super Kolbassa go, but do where do they source their meat from? Is it naturally raised? Everything I've tried at Custodio's has been fantastic. Yes, it's expensive, but I get around this by eating less meat, and it's worth every penny. For those who care about where their food comes from and the people who raise it, we now have options thanks to shops like this. I was also impressed by how friendly and helpful the staff is. Definitely a welcome addition to the hood!
Jacq W. replying to a comment from Joe Shmoe / February 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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I applaud the independent butcher shop!

Supporting local farmers and offering our neighbourhood hormone-free, ethically raised products should be welcomed and supported whether you shop there or not. Yes it costs more because the meats are not sourced from factory farms like Sobey's. Being another business on the block only shows the consumer demand and attention to where our food comes from is increasing. This makes Roncy more of a grocery destination. All businesses on the strip benefit when a new brave business opens.
Let's commend the entrepreneurs who take risks to offer us healthy and ethical options.

The prepared foods are incredible, the in-house chef knows what he's doing. And in response to a comment above, there is no way anything is staying on those shelves long enough to pass an expiry, it's too good!
Bravo Custodio's. Welcome to the hood.
Window guy / March 2, 2014 at 09:33 am
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We welcome you to the hood, about time we had good wholesome meat store and a clean place to buy from. We tried the sirloin steak last night on the barbi and wow what flavor and tenderness, just like the Keg. Then the bacon this morning and it was just like we had never really tasted bacon before, such flavor. I grew up in the Ontario, my stepfather had his own butcher shop and we ate good meats, now I am older (but not old yet) and and its like I relived my youth when I tried your products. Keep up the good work! Yes I have learnt you have to pay a little more for quality! I look forward to my next visit. Cheers!
John / March 17, 2014 at 01:35 pm
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It is a little pricy to be sure. I wouldn't shop there often. BUT, once every so often, when I fancy some ground venison to mix into my sauce, its a nice treat.

But, message to owners, if prices were a less, you would see more of me.
Amy / May 26, 2014 at 05:41 pm
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I went to Custodio's for the first time yesterday and thought they had a much better fresh (as opposed to frozen) selection than other neighbourhood options. I love that they carry both dark and white ground turkey meat, which is harder to find.

The staff were very helpful and friendly and gave me some tips for grilling what I bought.

I didn't notice that they were expensive but to be honest I am only buying meat on occasion for a small household so I may not be the best judge.
jenny / June 14, 2014 at 08:16 pm
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excellent service when I bought their rissotto....(also bought bacon so will see how it is..) Rissotto was beautiful. And staff gave me good tips on how to reheat it...I threw in a teaspoon of basil pesto from their store...that's all I needed as it was so good! Will be back..happy customer!
carl / July 22, 2014 at 12:32 am
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i have only got bad service from there, i felt the staff was trying to upsell and the guy from the photo (jason i'm assuming?) was brash and dismissive of my inquiries. i will not be returning.
Kris / September 6, 2014 at 09:24 am
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I really wanted to love this place. It looks great inside and the selection is something special but....the staff are awful. I've either been short changed or given back the wrong change every time. The last time I went in I stood at the counter for a good while 2 employees went out of their way to ignore me. I walked out and have not been back since.
Abigail / September 24, 2014 at 04:24 pm
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I visited this place for the first time last night looking for for tips on how to best make a beef stock. The guy working behind the counter was incredibly helpful and answered all of the questions I had about the bones as well as options to buy bacon that didn't contain nitrates.
The prices are high, but they are comparable to Rowe Farms down the street. I will likely flip flop between the two for different needs, but I don't think I'll ever buy grocery store meat or chicken again. The higher prices are worth the better taste in my opinion! A welcome addition to the neighbourhood!

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