On the Road: Recapping a Parisian Getaway with Country Butcher

It is hard to believe there was ever a time that Country Butcher did not grace the outskirts of  the Kennett Square borough. Yet, it was only 31 years ago (32 years this May!) that Dan Boxler and his wife, Dorothy, stepped out in faith to make the dream of opening their own business a reality. Both coming from Italian families in southern Chester County, Dan and Dorothy knew the importance of the quality, all-natural foods that graced their family tables.

Boxlers, Owners of Country Butcher

“Back then, no one was selling prime meats,” Dan remembers. Dan’s dream was a European-style market, with locally raised meat. Country Butcher opened as a butcher shop, offering prime meats and Herr’s potato chips. “The Herr’s chips display is still in the same place it was when we opened!” Dorothy remarks with a laugh.

Over the course of three decades, Dan and Dorothy expanded their butcher shop to include a deli with prepared foods and a cafe. Their recent trip to Paris was a good opportunity to see if Country Butcher’s European-style market is on par with European trends and standards. Town Dish had a great seat as the Boxlers shared about what they experienced on their French excursion.

Why did you choose Paris?

Our son Anthony encouraged us to go. It’s why we opened a European-style market. We wanted to visit the food, the shops. We wanted to see if they still maintained the quality of food. Is it still homemade? What are the current trends?

Dan & Dorothy with son Anthony & his fiancée Sarah

And what did you learn?

Really, it confirmed for us that we are on the right track. When we came back and looked at our store. Where they have just the butcher shop, just the pastry shop, we are like several Parisian stores in one.

Paris Butcher Shop

When you sit down and eat the food in Paris, it is simple. We try to encourage that here with our tastings. It doesn’t have to be very complicated recipes. Start with good ingredients: nice bread, a piece of cheese, a bottle of wine and some charcuterie. It’s not the quantity, but the quality of the product you are eating.

Dan in Parisian Butcher Shop

How are meals different in Paris?

In Paris, they take time to eat and appreciate. Here, we don’t have the time. In the United States it’s all dollars, how fast you can turn over a table. When you eat in Paris, you can sit there all night long and not be rushed or feel like you are being pushed out. The meal is important.

Boxlers in Paris

And that’s what we try to stress in the store. That was always instilled in us growing up: sitting around the table, talking and eating as a family. That’s being lost now, because we’re more interested in fast food, going from here to there.

Country Butcher's Dan in Paris

What struck you most about the food scene in Paris? Did you try anything you’ve never had before?

It felt like we were back in history 50 years. The quality of food, the sharing with friends and family. We were sitting at a cafe one night, and an accordion player came up to play. It’s those types of things, the atmosphere and experience. It’s simple but quality food. It was real food. That’s what we say, we sell real food.

Cheese in Paris

Sandwiches in Paris

They also had great sauces. We had a wonderful filet, but it was in a wine reduction sauce with chestnuts and mushrooms. It was absolutely amazing. It wasn’t overdone, very clean and authentic flavor. You won’t get a thick steak there, it’ll be a thinner cut. They use great combinations of sauces and ingredients that enhance the meat so you don’t need the larger quantity of meat. You’ll see more chicken and duck, less pork and beef.

Salad with open faced grilled cheese

Tell us about the new chicken dish that was inspired by your Paris trip.

We came up with a little something for our poultry case. We call it Parisian Pockets. We take a chicken breast and we tie it. We then stuff it with a pecan cranberry stuffing. Stuffed meats were something you would see in Paris. You cook the chicken tied and then cut it before serving, so the chicken holds its shape. It’s a beautiful presentation.

Boxlers with New Chicken Dish

New Parisian Pocket

Stop by Country Butcher to pick up their Parisian Pockets for the holidays at 145 S. Walnut Street, Kennett Square. You can also find them on Facebook and the web.

Photo credit: First image credited to Amy Strauss, Paris photos courtesy of Dorothy Boxler, Boxlers with Parisian Pocket and closeup credited to Stephanie Anderson.