Meat the Neighbors

It says a lot about a business and its owners when customers are willing to underwrite an expansion effort. That is exactly how craft butcher Adam Nussbaum and business partner Tate Emerson grew a small back-of-house meat-cutting operation into Meatheads Union, a full-service butcher store in downtown Wooster.

Almost 150 passionate customers (and a few family members) wanted a personal “steak” in the business and helped push Nussbaum and Emerson over their goal on the crowd-funding platform Barnraiser. The duo was able to make a number of investments in their businesses, eventually taking over the space that formerly housed Spoon Market, which has since relocated just around the corner.

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Nussbaum brings more than 20 years of meat-cutting experience to the shop. The first taste of his life’s work came from a start at Westwood Market in Wooster, a highly regarded mom-and-pop shop known for authentic old-world-style sausage, where he learned his craft. Nussbaum understands that his customers are intentionally returning to traditional ways of doing things. They’re interested in how things are made, and they don’t mind a little extra effort to find the quality they’re looking for.

Nussbaum originally planned to study history, and he sees how his appreciation for the past translates into his work. “I knew this was a vanishing trade, and I just sort of took hold of that aspect and ran with it,” he says.

The shop sells hand-cut beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and house-smoked salmon. They grind beef to order and sell Nussbaum’s signature Funny Grandma meatballs. The shop is probably best known for the dozen or so house-made varieties of fresh sausage, including sweet red pepper and onion, bacon blueberry, and a buffalo blue cheese and chicken. Made from local meats, a handful of real ingredients, no fillers, plus all-natural casing, the sausages are the main event.

Nussbaum also makes a creative array of hickory-smoked sausages that just beg to adorn a charcuterie board—that is if you can get them home without tearing into them.

“We’re fortunate to be part of the rebirth of Wooster—it was great timing for us,” Nussbaum says. “People are watching the Food Network and they see things that they want. They’re becoming educated about why having that one-on-one relationship with the neighborhood butcher matters.”

Emerson says that they’ll continue to add products that customers are asking for and offer up some surprises along the way. “The shop now offers a daily hot lunch option—grab a sausage sandwich with homemade kraut or a Funny Grandma meatball sub,” he says. “You’ll see a special blood sausage around Halloween, and turkey and cranberry sausage and smoked pheasant this fall.”

Meatheads Union is located at 147 S. Market St. in Wooster. Learn more about Adam “The Butcher” Nussbaum and the whole Meatheads team at MeatheadsUnion.com.