Old Time Meat and Deli in Southwest Champaign is probably the most unassuming space in the area. Not just in location, but in atmosphere. It’s not until customers speak to the friendly and knowledgeable staff, feast eyes on the fantastically fresh meat and seafood, and spot the numerous little add-ons, treats, and surprises spread throughout the store that one realizes it’s a mecca of fabulosity. Yes, I know, that’s not a word, but it describes this local shop pretty perfectly.
I have been purchasing the majority of my premium meats from Old Time for the past 10 years. Without a doubt, my most frequently prepared item has to be the grass-fed beef.
For this particular home-cooked meal, I chose two beautiful cuts of meat: the premium filet ($17.99 for an 8oz cut) and the premium New York strip ($22.99/lb).
The color and marbling on both cuts let me know this was going to be a delicious choice. Everyone has their own way of cooking steak. Whether it be pink and bloody or hockey-puck style, it all makes the world go ‘round, am I right? I chose to pan sear our steaks in a cast iron skillet with butter and garlic until cooked to medium rare. In my humble opinion, the flavor of the meat shines through when prepared at a cooler temperature, but hey, do what makes you happy.
While the sign on the storefront may state that it is Old Time Meat and Deli Shoppe, many people aren’t aware that Old Time also sells fresh seafood. My husband is the cook in our home, and he chose to start our evening with an appetizer of incredibly fresh, already cooked shrimp ($18.99/lb. for 16-20 cooked shrimp), dipped in St. Elmo’s Steak House extra spicy cocktail sauce ($8.99).
Conveniently, this sauce can be purchased in store along with many other rubs and marinades. We decided to go surf and turf style for our main entree by adding scallops, also pan seared in a cast iron skillet ($38.99/lb.). The taste and texture were fresh and paired beautifully with steaks. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the twice-baked potatoes (around $5 per potato). I think the sweet baby Jesus himself created these beautiful little nuggets of perfection. Perfectly seasoned and chock full of cheese, green onion and bacon, they are literally melt in your mouth delicious.
While Friday night’s meal may have been difficult to top, our Sunday morning breakfast was amped up by two lovely little bratwursts: apple and mango habanero ($6.49/lb.). Wow. We could literally smell the apple as we unpackaged the meat. We cooked the sausages on our gas grill, but they can also be pan seared. There was that unbeatable snap as we bite into the sausages and a nice spicy kick from the habanero brat. Pair that with some perfectly cooked eggs and a little maple syrup for some sweetness, and we had all those breakfast chains beat when it comes to flavor.
Supporting local business is always important when it comes to patronage. I hope that if you have yet to visit this quiet spot, that you will do so immediately. The quality of the product is unbeatable as well as the great customer service. As a note, all prices of meat and seafood are subject to change based on market value and sales.
Follow Old time Meat and Deli on socials to keep up with their weekly specials.
Old Time Meat and Deli Shoppe
2018 S Neil St
M-Sa 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.