MANCHESTER — The hazy days of summer should include smoke from the barbecue.
A new butcher shop is opening up downtown by the team that owns Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse in the same building.
Co-owner Clark Graves expects summer to be the busiest time for the butcher shop, located in a former crepes shop, at 62 Lowell St.
“Our intent is to offer a lot of the cuts of meat we use in the restaurant, not cuts you can buy at Market Basket or Hannaford,” he said.
He said the shop’s biggest competitor is the Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery in Raymond.
Tuckaway’s general manager, Bobby Marcotte, said he welcomes competitors.
“We’ve got our own following,” Marcotte said. “We do our own thing. We don’t worry about competition.”
Graves and his son, Ben, bought Gauchos not even a year ago and say they are seeing a 20% gain in year-over-year sales.
“We’re probably treading water,” running about even financially on an operational basis, the elder Graves said.
The Graveses are counting on restaurant patrons who are hankering for Gauchos’ cuts of meat to cook at home.
“We have a lot of customers asking where (they) can get that,” said Clark Graves. “The answer is you can get it right here.”
Gauchos Wine and Butcher also is selling about 20 different wines, mostly from South America, as well as various dressings and sauces.
Teriyaki and barbecue steak tips sell for $12.99 a pound. Ben Graves said he and his father researched meat prices at other butcher shops in an effort to be competitive.
Tuckaway charges $14.99 a pound for its marinated steak tips, or $13.99 for purchases of at least five pounds. It offers eight varieties at any given time, with steak tips generating 40% of the total butcher shop business, Marcotte said.
Other items at Gauchos include smokehouse maple chicken ($4.99 a pound) and Brazilian sausage ($6.99). Seafood will be available soon.
Lowell Street sees “a tremendous amount of foot traffic,” Clark Graves said.
“People who work or live downtown will be our No. 1 customers,” said Ben Graves.
Clark Graves said the butcher shop could eventually account for up to a quarter of the overall business.
At Tuckaway, Marcotte said the summer months sees the butcher shop account for 60% of the total business. Over the course of the year, it’s “almost 50-50” between the restaurant and the meat shop, he said.
At Tuckaway, “the idea was always to be a butcher shop and a steakhouse,” Marcotte said. The butcher shop opened in 2012, three months before the restaurant.
Clark Graves concurs with that model.
“It made sense. It was a pretty good tie-in with the restaurant,” he said.