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Primal Cuts: Defining Bend’s Food Culture

Primal Cuts: Defining Bend’s Food Culture

The local butcher shop offers so much more than just the best sandwiches in Bend.

When chef Jake Williams took over Primal Cuts Meat Market in 2017, the butcher shop was already one of the most successful local spots in Bend. People loved the shop for its high-quality meats and sandwiches, and Williams wanted to keep it that way when he took over ownership from the visionary founder of Primal Cuts, Bryan Tremayne.

Primal has since grown, expanding their menu and specials, but the core concept of Primal Cuts remains the same: to create a welcoming, warm spot that offers the absolute best locally-sourced products. Whether it’s chardonnay from the Willamette valley or high-end steaks from central Oregon, Primal has always been devoted to providing its customers with the best food possible, bar none.

Primal Cuts offers an impressive selection of locally-sourced beer, wine, and kombucha.

We grabbed a few sandos and sat down with Kimberly, manager and long-time employee, to talk about what makes Primal Cuts such a special place. One of the specials on that particular day was the pork miso sandwich, a subtly spicy, Asian-influenced sandwich with pork, kimchi, and a whole host of other good stuff. The pork miso is just one of chef Jake Williams’ astounding number of specials, each of them nearly better than the last.

As the specials were being swapped out around noon, Kimberly told us that “Jake probably creates over 300 specials a year. They’re swapping out the specials now because we’ve sold out of current specials, so now we’re adding some new options for the rest of the day.” For those unfamiliar, that’s awesome. Two specials in a day is impressive enough, but seeing the first two sell out and be replaced by two new ones is something that most restaurants don’t even think about doing.

The specials aren’t the only thing that make Primal Cuts so unique, though. Jake and Kimberly have worked side by side to change Primal’s culture, creating changes to make the space much more inviting for women. Kimberly in particular has worked hard on this, adding wine by the glass a drinking option and making Primal a more comfortable place for women.

All the staff at Primal is extraordinarily knowledgeable about their craft, and their first and foremost priority is to make sure that each and every customer feels welcomed and invited – too many butcher shops get reputations as being rude, and Primal aims to do the exact opposite.

The best meats in Oregon on display.

Though the sandwiches draw many people in, the true core of Primal Cuts’ business is their meat selection; after all, meat market is in the name of the shop. Lead butcher Ethan is a master of his craft, having worked in some of the biggest local grocery chains in the Pacific Northwest.

Each cut of meat is overseen with care, and “a local, grass-fed steak is going to taste a lot better than a cheap grocery store steak. It’s all about the way the meat was raised and where it comes from that makes the difference.” She’s completely right about that, and though meat at Primal is certainly going to be more expensive than your generic grocery store steak, the difference in flavor is priceless. Sourcing their meats in the Pacific Northwest – specifically Oregon when possible – Primal offers the highest quality of meat around. If you’re looking for a great steak, look no further than Primal.

House-made kimchi and sauerkraut are available (and amazing), in addition to a variety of cheeses, smoked meats, and an entire freezer section with plenty of options for home cooks wanting to step up their game. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the true factor that drives the success of Primal: the staff.

From expert butcher Ethan to chef Jake, among a host of other skilled employees, Primal’s expertly knowledgeable staff is one of the main reasons Bend locals continue to visit the spot. “We have great people that work here,” Kimberly said, and “since we’re not open late, [skilled chefs and butchers] who are tired of working late nights find Primal a great place to work.”

From its expert employees to its fantastic sandwiches and drinks, Primal is one of the most inviting and exciting spots in Bend; if you’re looking for a great place to stop in for a sando and a drink or pick up a great steak, look no further than Primal. They’re located right off of Galveston, and they offer the best sandwiches in Bend. We think that’s probably enough to convince you.


1244 NW Galveston Ave, Bend, OR 97701

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