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From a Port Richmond corner long known as a butcher shop, a fresh face is offering fresh meats to the neighborhood. Kevin Penney, 26, opened KP’s Fine Meats at the beginning of February.
With a selection of what he calls “mindfully-sourced” products displayed in classic butcher cases, KP’s is now operating at Memphis and Clearfield streets. The spot was most recently known as Jim’s Meat Market — and before that, Joe’s Meat Market, and before that, another family-run operation.
A retail storefront was the logical next step for Penney’s growing online business.
Like many people, he was laid off from his job as a butcher at a grocery store in Fairmount when COVID hit (he declined to say which one). But it didn’t stop customers from texting him.
“I’ve always conducted businesses in a way that’s a very intimate experience,” Penney told Billy Penn. “When people come to get their meat, you get to know these people, and there’s sort of a butcher’s trust that comes along with it.”
That “butcher’s trust” led to direct connections with many meat lovers. He said he’d often give out his personal cell phone so people could check with him to see when the dry aged beef came in or when to expect a shipment of chickens. The relationship became even more valuable during COVID.
“People were still reaching out to me when the world was shutting down,” Penney said. “People were looking for stability and a steady supply of meat.”
In November 2020, he launched KP’s Fine Meats as an on-demand butchery, relying on Instagram and an email newsletter for orders. The operation expanded through word of mouth, and out of a rented kitchen space in Old City, Penney said he butchered and packaged meats for hundreds of families.
At one point, he offered delivery not just in the city, but throughout South Jersey and the Western suburbs, at one point going as far as Collegeville.
“I’ve been in the food industry since I was 15, so I’m used to the grind of it all,” said Penney, who cited experience as an apprentice at Arnie’s Gourmet Butcher Shop and Culinaria in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “It’s long hours and you’re on your feet but you feel alive.”
These days, free delivery is available in a 20-mile radius of the shop, open five days a week at 2329 E. Clearfield St.
While working to renovate the space, Penney and his team discovered business cards that added to the serendipity of the location. According to those and other documents, they pieced together the meat-filled history of the store.
“From what we can tell, the building first opened as a butcher shop in 1919,” KP’s posted on Instagram. “The family who opened this first shop owned it for three generations. Then the family sold the shop to Joe. …In 1973, Joe sold the shop to Jim [who] sold the shop to Kathy who operated it as Jim’s Meat Market up until we purchased it in 2021.”
KP’s focus is on fresh ingredients. In addition to locally raised chicken, pork, and beef, KP’s Fine Meats also offers a variety of imported products, like Japanese and Australian wagyu and Iberico pork from Spain.
In the coming months, customers can expect house-cured salami, prosciutto, pancetta, lardo, and culatello, thanks to in-house salumier Joe Trinkle.
“We’re excited to continue Jim’s tradition,” Penney said. “It feels like a good place to call home.”