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Handy Market

Grocery / Specialty
Burbank

By Kevin O'Connor

So I’m having dinner at a friend’s house in the heart of Hollywood and he drops some steaks on the grill. Not just any steak but two inch beauties that must weigh over a pound each. I bite into it and frankly it is one of the best steaks I have ever had. “Where did you get this meat?” I ask. “Handy Market in Burbank” is the reply. When I ask about the seasoning he says “just ask the butchers to season it for you… house specialty”.  Really.

He then went on to describe this little market that has one of the best meat counters in town. He routinely makes the drive. When he mentioned their Saturday BBQs I realized I had driven by this place for years (always a line out front on Saturday), just never went in. Time to fix that.

The star here is the meat market. Very personal, old-school service. Talk about a time warp. 35 years ago I used to go to Wolfe’s Market in Claremont. There, Babe the butcher (I am not kidding) would make me French Dip sandwiches. Handy Market is the same, in fact if my memory serves me correct, it is the same layout including the thin aisles. Weird. Ask them to season the meat….no problem. Special cut? OK. They make great sandwiches and have complete, packaged daily dinners at $6.99 that include 2 sides. One night its pork chops the next night meatloaf; but they also serve rotisserie chicken every nite. Several of the butchers have over 30 years experience EACH. Have them season your steaks…too good.

When I last went one of the specials was for sausages at $2.99/lb vs. $5.99/lb. I find out that they HAND-MAKE the sausages. Beware, no nitrates here. You got to cook them up in three days. I used to buy premium Aidell’s sausages @ Costco that could stay in my fridge forever because of the preservatives. I liked those but I love these. The difference is remarkable.

The Saturday BBQ is legendary. Line forms early, and though it is long, it goes quick. They cook enough so there is some the next day inside the store. Ribs, tri-tip, chicken, corn, all reasonably priced. The butcher told me that he loved the $5.99 tri tip sandwich that is HUGE and slathered in sauce.

Their produce section is refreshing that, though smaller, it more resembles a farmer’s market display than a chain. I like to see some vegetables irregular than all cloned and coated in wax. Some current savings here are 2 lbs Dole bananas or 3 lbs seedless watermelon @ 0.99 cents.

As far as regular items, prices are competitive with a Ralphs though not as big a selection. Where you save money is on their specials. These are announced in their throw-away, but unless you live in Burbank you won’t receive it. Go to their website, click on weekly specials and plan accordingly. Current examples of savings include hand made sausages at $2.99/lb instead of $5.99. Fresh center cut pork chops are $2.99/lb and a whole rotisserie chicken is $4.99. Check their weekly flyer for current deals.

The Handy Market is truly a gem and we plan on returning again and again. Got to try their dinners next.

Holiday alert: They do prepared Thanksgiving dinners with all the fixings. They will put up info about menus, ordering etc on their site next month.

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