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2 restaurant suppliers offer meat, cheese to Las Vegans

With some supermarket shelves picked clean by anxious Las Vegans, wholesale food suppliers are facing the opposite dilemma. Companies that provide Strip restaurants with perishable items such as meat and cheese are suddenly confronting unwanted inventory as many of their customers close their doors, scale back hours or simply try to adjust to reduced business.

Two of those suppliers are trying to address both problems by offering their goods to locals who may have trouble finding meat or cheese in their local grocery stores.

Freedom Meats normally sells steaks, pork, lamb, chicken, veal, sausages, smoked salmon and more to some of the finest restaurants in town. Their clients include Stripsteak, Jean-Georges Steakhouse, The Mayfair Supper Club and Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen. Normally, they have $2 million to $5 million worth of meat in their warehouse at 2955 Westwood Drive, about a mile northwest of the Fashion Show mall.

On Monday, the company made that inventory available to the public, and began taking online orders for pickup or delivery through a new website, blackboxmeats.com. And on Tuesday, due to immense response, blackboxmeats.com stopped accepting pickup orders, to prevent large groups from congregating on the loading dock. The company is still accepting orders for delivery, with a $25 delivery fee.

“We’re doing this because this city has been so good to us, and we felt it was the right thing to do, given the circumstances with all the supermarkets not having product available in the community,” the company’s president and CEO Jeff Pugh says.

“We have a lot of items that are in inventory that we’ve been selling to the Las Vegas Strip. And currently, with the situation, they’re not buying. So why would we not offer it to the local community?”

Offerings on the site range from staples such as 10-pound packages of boneless chicken breasts for $35 and 10 pounds of ground chuck for $32.50, all the way up to luxuries such as a four-pack of 8-ounce prime beef filets for $96. If you’re looking for something more exotic (Japanese A5 wagyu, perhaps), Pugh says to call the company at 702-901-7227 to see what’s available. Orders will be available for pickup or delivery the same day, with a $25 flat fee for delivery. (For same-day delivery, orders must be received by 3 p.m.)

Michael Stamm is in a similar position, but his inventory consists mostly of cheese. His company MGP Specialty Food sells gourmet cheeses, as well as some meats, to many of the city’s top restaurants. He normally keeps $600,000 to $700,000 in inventory on hand, and he says a large portion of that needs to move quickly.

“We have to move a good $50,000 to $60,000 worth of inventory, because we don’t know how long the shutdown is going to be. It might be even more (than that).”

Stamm is offering everything in stock through MGP’s sister business, a retail store/restaurant called Cured & Whey, 6265 S. Valley View Blvd. Markdowns will be 30 percent to 50 percent.

“We’re doing online ordering. We’re doing deliveries. We’re doing curbside pickup. We’re putting packages together of three to four cheeses that are combination of hard cheeses, soft cheese and some meat.”

That means customers can pick up items such as Tipperary Irish Cheddar for about $8 a pound, with half-pound segments of more exotic offerings such as Four Fat Fowl triple brie available for under $14. He also has $15,000 worth of French cheese that arrived last week, and more in transit.

There’s no minimum purchase for MGP, and the recommended shelf life on most cheeses is three to five weeks. Stamm is also offering select meats, from pork chops to charcuterie. And he’ll soon add $2 staple sandwiches like ham and cheese or PB&J for lunch and complete family-style meals for dinner.

To place an order, go to curedandwhey.com, or drop by the store. All online orders will be available for curbside pickup or delivery through Uber Eats.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5250. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter and Instagram.

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