After running the meat market at Berkeley’s Café Rouge for six year, Scott Brennan is launching his own business. Photo: courtesy Scott Brennan

Until two months ago, Scott Brennan was running Café Rouge‘s highly regarded meat market on Fourth Street — butchering whole pigs, whipping up foie gras and head cheeses and holding Monday night classes aimed at demystifying the topography of a goat carcass.

Now Brennan is venturing out on his own with a new business, The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie, where he will be making and selling his handcrafted charcuterie and selling it through local farmers markets. The only thing standing in the way of his launch is finding a kitchen.

“I am still searching for a shared kitchen space that is right for me. The East Bay is preferred, but I am open to start anywhere so long as the space is organized,” said Brennan.

Brennan’s motivation was threefold: he relishes getting out in the community, he’s ready to go it alone, and he looks forward to being able to separate the production side from the customer service side. “It’s always a struggle when you’re trying to work and help customers at the same time,” he said.

As the new business’s name implies, Brennan will be promoting the “fifth quarter” of the animal — liverwurst, beef tongue, lamb’s tongue, pork liver, as well as the more standard charcuterie such as paté, terrine, rillettes, and fresh sausages.

“After working at Café Rouge I have developed a good rapport with local ranchers and farmers, and plan on using an abundance of locally sourced ingredients,” he said. “Some of the best goat I have eaten comes from the McCormack Ranch in Rio Vista, I plan to continue using goat to make some interesting flavors.”

Brennan is taking the farmers market route because, he said, it is a good way to test the market and build a business and customer base without too much capital outlay. In that regard, he is following in the footsteps of another Café Rouge alum, Taylor Boetticher, who founded charcuterie company Fatted Calf — which now has retail stores in Napa and Hayes Valley — after starting at markets such as San Francisco’s Ferry Building Plaza.

Brennan is also tapping into a trend for responsibly sourced and managed meat, as well as for all things charcuterie. Local chef Paul Bertolli, a veteran of Chez Panisse and Oliveto, opened the Berkeley salumi company Fra’ Mani in 2006. On Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, restaurateur Jon Smulewitz’s second eatery, Adesso, revolves around its homemade charcuterie. And, just last week, Berkeleyside reported on the imminent opening of The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, the brainchild of former Chez Panisse chef Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica.

Brennan sees himself as part of this movement focused on sustainability. “Once you develop a relationship with a farmer they are like family and you want to do the right thing and use the whole animal,” he said.

Ironically for someone who is now happily immersed in the more “delicate” parts of the animal, Brennan said he was a picky eater when he was growing up. He changed his views, he said because after a time he got tired of “making goat sausage every day” and wanted to experiment.

“I started making pancetta and bacon and pickled tongue and they were delicious,” he said. “Part of what I do is educational — I want people to try things so they realize how good they are.”

You can follow Brennan’s progress on The Fifth Quarter’s Facebook page.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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13 Comments

  1. Great thing, you fox in Berkeley have your butcher shop and we are her in San Francisco have ours.  Check out Olivier’s Butchery

  2. For a time, the photo popped up automatically when you came to the Berkeleyside page.
    Even if you didn’t click on the link to read the story, you still saw the photograph.

  3. I find nothing offensive about the photo.

    If you don’t want to see pics of dead animals or meat, then you probably shouldn’t be reading an article about a butcher…

  4. Possibly for some of the same reasons that a lot of people find graphic pictures of surgical procedures upsetting. More likely because in most first world nations (particularly in urban areas) the average citizen remains at an extreme distance from the source of their food throughout their lifetime. For many people, “food” is something you buy in a sterile package in a nice clean store, not something that comes out of the dirt or from dead animals.

  5. I eat meat.  I’ve hunted various animals (squirrel, rabbit, pheasant, dove, etc.), and gutted and dressed them.  I still think the photo of the butcher holding up a dead baby pig is offensive and creepy.

  6. I don’t mind the pictures at all.  I always wonder about meat eaters (and I am one, although I don’t eat a lot of meat) who don’t like to face what they eat.  All I can say is, if you don’t like this, then don’t shop at 99 Ranch where you can not only find all of this, but tubs of blood.

    Me, I can break down a whole goat’s leg.  I have jointed a whole rabbit (shown in photo above), and no part of an animal scares or disgusts me. It’s often FAR cheaper to buy whole sides of meat or whole animals and butcher/break them down rather than getting preciously de-boned, plastic-wrapped stuff that bears no resemblance to its source.  Believe me, you pay for that privilege – and the meat isn’t always as tasty.

  7. C’mon Berkeleyside, you can do better than pictures of dead animals!  I can’t imagine that to be tantalizing or enticing even for those who choose to eat meat.  Enough with the gourmet butcher.  If the definition of gourmet is a connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate — and the definition of butcher is one who slaughters and dresses animals for food or market; one that kills brutally or indiscriminately, I find the whole term an oxymoron.  Remember your diverse audience.  You are offending at least two of us.

    I’m beginning to not want to read your articles, for fear of the photos!

  8. Guest: I’m sure this photo is disturbing for many people, vegetarians and vegans included. There was another photo which we didn’t use because — believe me — we would have been flooded with complaints. The issue raises interesting questions though for meat-eaters: why find pictures of what you eat upsetting?

  9. Wow – Berkeley seems to be the mecca for interesting and excellent meat products lately!  I wish Scott all the best!

  10. The ghost of Lenny’s Meat Market is roaming our neighborhoods.  The new meat market in North Berkeley on Cedar and now this?  So much is possible, including a tasty liverwurst.