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Thistle Meats of Petaluma Welcomes New Chef-Owner

Thistle Meat's Grilled Sausage Stew.

One of the Sonoma County’s top butcher shops, Thistle Meats of Petaluma, has a new owner/chef and meat artisan — Travis Day.

Diners in Sonoma County crave its pasture-raised, grass-fed meats, and to salute the custom butchers (like Thistle Meats) who craft those meats into premium nose-to-tail cuts for top chefs and home cooks alike.

In addition to focusing on the premium meats Thistle has been known for since it opened in 2014, Day has expanded its café menu, and also is instituting “Sunday Supper” chef collaboration dinners. 

Focusing on whole animal butchery, the shop continues to source grass-fed, pasture-raised meats and to offer a charcuterie program featuring handmade pates, salumi, terrines, and other house-cured proteins. The centerpiece butcher counter is stocked with smoked, marinated, seasoned, and/or preserved meats, and humanely raised fresh pork, poultry, beef, and lamb.

Day is also working on an expanded new menu of prepared foods including sandwiches, salads, and soups.

“I’m excited to carry on what Thistle Meats has already brought to Petaluma,” Day said. “We will continue to support the local farms and small producers that have supplied to the shop over the years, while I also look forward to bringing my restaurant experience to the shop.”

Day has worked in well-known kitchens including Boneta Restaurant in Vancouver, and Central Kitchen, Commonwealth, Oro, and Salumeria in San Francisco. His culinary experience is broad, too, since he has traveled to more than 20 countries, including Japan, France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and New Zealand. 

As a chef, Day made a name for himself particularly with salumi, crafting cured meat platters and boards for numerous Bay Area restaurants. Before making the move to San Francisco, Travis spent more than two years in Napa at The Fatted Calf, where he worked with acclaimed butchers like Aaron Gilliam, and learned the art of whole animal butchery.

For the new menu, customers can choose from an array of daily prepared dishes, such as a salad of roasted, fermented carrots with snap peas, pea shoots, and smoked duck in burnt ginger dressing, or a chicken salad sandwich crafted with herbs, lemon, marcona almonds, and bacon jam. There are also gourmet groceries like bread from Red Bird and Della Fattoria, and local cheeses from Andante and Cowgirl Creamery, and homemade pickles.

Just a few of the local producers on the Thistle line-up include True Grass Farms in Valley Ford (pork), Green Strings Farms & Cline Vineyards in Petaluma (lamb), Monkey Ranch in Petaluma (lamb), Liberty Duck in Petaluma (duck), Marin Sun Farms in Petaluma (chicken), Rockin’ S Rabbit Farm in Cotati (rabbit), and Jones’ Rabbit Farm in Santa Rosa (rabbit).

Details:Thistle Meats, 160 Petaluma Boulevard N., Petaluma, 707-772-5442

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