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Grocery Stores

Royal Beef

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on May 29, 2011

Royal Beef TorontoRoyal Beef just celebrated its 25th anniversary, due in no small part to Carmen Estrela's ability to connect with the people around her.

"Hello there, hun!" she says to me as I approach the counter, and we quickly get to chatting. Her hands never resting for a second, Estrela tells me she started the business with her late husband, Paul, back when they were in their twenties after Paul came home with a pink slip.

Royal Beef Toronto"He had been working as a butcher for Dominion--now Metro," she says. "Well, we had two little babies at home and a great big mortgage, and after 16 years as a butcher, now he was being asked to stock shelves."

"No," she says, throwing up her hands. "That wasn't going to happen."

Royal Beef TorontoAlways wanting to open their own butcher shop, the pair took over a little 300-foot space around the corner from where the store is presently on Danforth near Woodbine, and tried to make it work.

Royal Beef Toronto"It was sheer determination and stupidity," she says. "There were like four other butchers in the area, and here we were tucked away around the corner." But clearly, they were doing something right.

"He just had a passion for it," Estrela says of her husband's work behind the counter. "It was a crazy love affair with the knife and the beef. Really, I should have been jealous."

Royal Beef TorontoEstrela considered giving up the business when her husband passed away, but the people in the community wouldn't have it. "All I kept hearing is, 'Carmen, you can't go!' You know, some of these customers I've seen since they were in strollers, and now they're coming in bringing their own babies."

Royal Beef TorontoOf course, Royal has seen many changes over the years, and is just introducing a new line of hormone and antibiotic-free chicken and beef. "This is what we need for the young families in the area," Estrela says. "And I promised on my blog I would bring some in."

Royal Beef TorontoEverything is clearly labeled, from the hormone and antibiotic-free chicken wings ($4.99/lb) to the also hormone and antibiotic-free inside round ($4.99/lb). Royal's additive- and preservative-free sausages and burgers are made in-house, as are its breaded veal cutlets, shish kebabs, and more. As well, Royal has long been known for its certified Angus beef.

Royal Beef Toronto"I want you to come here and get everything for dinner," she says. "Maybe pick up a pasta," (Royal has a whole variety of pastas, including rice pasta and gluten-free) "some cheese" (courtesy of International Cheese and others) "and meat, of course." Chances are, if you're in the mood for a lot of conversation, Estrela can make sure you get that too.

Royal Beef TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

9 Comments

jason / May 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm
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That is some fine looking bacon.
Jorge / May 29, 2011 at 09:18 pm
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This place is fantastic. Love all their delicious meats and their awesome flank steak. Their spicy olives are as good as the ones you can get at the downtown California sandwiches.
Awesome little place in our great neighbourhood.
J D / May 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm
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I bought the jalapeno cheddar berkshire sausages they were grilling at their open house and cooked them in beer. real good.
Paul / May 31, 2011 at 09:53 am
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Just leave me some tri-tip. It's an amazing cut of cow flesh.

Ashley / June 4, 2011 at 01:37 pm
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Love her and this store! Only the best food here. Very friendly place to shop!
Tony / June 4, 2011 at 01:42 pm
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Always have wonderful experiences at Royal, love their steaks, and the new chicken!
Stephanie / June 3, 2012 at 07:44 pm
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Best butcher in the world. And they have a lot of authentic artisan and gourmet foods there too! Paul and Estrella are sweethearts, my family is so glad they have been in our neighborhood for so long.
linda / September 8, 2012 at 02:59 pm
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thee best butcher shop in the whole city great meat and the finest cutomer service i have ever had and the only place i will ever buy my meat from
professional editing / January 15, 2013 at 06:49 pm
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The meat here looks great.

professional editing

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