Electric City Butcher
Electric City Butcher

When Michael Puglisi visited his cousin living in Fondachelli Fantina, Sicily in 2012, the executive chef returned with an idea for a revolutionary culinary addition to Downtown Santa Ana.

“My cousin runs one of two butcher shops in his town,” says Puglisi, co-owner of Santa Ana’s Electric City Butcher with partner, Richard Lu. “In my cousin’s community, they raise all of their animals for consumption, so there’s a straight line of sourcing. The animals go from the farms to slaughter and then directly to my cousin’s shop where he prepares and sells them.”

In February 2015, Puglisi decided to take the same approach in Santa Ana. He opened a responsibly sourced, whole animal butcher shop providing custom, cut-to-order meats and charcuterie.

“All of our meat at Electric City Butcher comes from small, family-owned farms throughout the state,” says Puglisi. “The animals are raised in a humane manner on California soil. They go to processing (slaughter) and then come to us. That means our guests are just fourth in line—after us—to have the meat in their hands.”

Such a direct connection to meat is a rare occurrence here in the U.S. “Most meat found in the supermarket or butcher shop exchanges many hands,” says Puglisi. “It’s often been cryovaced and frozen and may be weeks or even months old by the time it makes it into consumer hands.”

The direct sourcing found at Electric City Butcher means a different experience than your usual butcher and requires that you keep an open mind.

“Because we start with whole animals, our inventory is limited to what is on the animal,” says Puglisi. “Many people are surprised to find there might only be six pounds of tri-tip on one 1,000-pound cow. We take pride in educating our guests about cooking and enjoying new cuts of meat that they might be less familiar with.”

Whole animal consumption means that at Electric City Butcher they use the entire animal. “We render our fat and make broth from the bones, as well as sausages, pates and sauces,” says Puglisi. “We even use the liver and skin to make dog food. This means we produce so little waste that we can take out one bag of garbage a day.”

Victoria Betancourt lives and works in Santa Ana and buys meat from Electric City Butcher a couple of times a week. “I don’t go anywhere else for my meats,” she says. “The care they take to source pasture-raised, California animals and the knowledge they have about meat and its preparation is incomparable. The aged meats I get from them taste so incredibly delicious, it’s truly addictive.”

Recently, during a visit by Betancourt’s son, who lives in Europe and is a gourmand, she treated him to filet mignons from Electric City Butcher. “The filets were so wonderful that we went back the next day for something else,” she says. “Our experience cooking together and enjoying the meats created memories that will last a lifetime.”

Electric City Butcher is located in Santa Ana’s popular 4th Street Market near Alta Baja Market. “We’re in a great, readily accessible community, and I like that it’s a historic area,” says Puglisi.

In addition to providing humanely-raised and sustainably farmed meats and poultry, they give back to the community through a partnership with the MaxLove Project, which serves child cancer survivors. Puglisi and his team make restorative broth for hospitalized cancer patients. Proceeds from broth sales also support the project.

Electric City Butcher
201 East 4th St, Santa Ana CA 92701  /  714-474-9096

Article Published in the
Sep / Oct 17 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Don Cribb Photo by Nicholas Iverson
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