Butcher & Bird Kielbasa with kimchi

Butcher & Bird opens in SALT Kakaako

The new neighborhood butcher shop is a meaty addition to urban Honolulu
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When I was little, my mom would take me to the neighborhood butcher in Chun Hoon Market every week as she picked out cuts of meat for dinner. We were such regulars there that I called the butcher Uncle Burt. And beyond simply taking her order, he would give her tips and new ideas on how to cook and what to make.

Over time, supermarkets with pre-packaged meats made our visits to Uncle Burt a distant memory. When was the last time you talked to someone who knew how to break an animal down, and provide useful advice you could take home about the meat they provided? Chuck Wakeman is about to change that with his new Butcher & Bird, which just opened on the second floor of SALT in Kakaako.

Jessie and Chuck Wakeman of Butcher & Bird.
Jessie (left) and Chuck Wakeman of Butcher & Bird. He's the butcher, of course, and she's the "bird" since she is an aerial dancer.

You wouldn't know it by looking at him, but Wakeman has been a butcher for 17 years. He wanted to learn how to cook to further his food knowledge, so got a job at the Whole Ox in Kakaako (remember that place?) in 2012. Six months later, a friend got him a job on the opening team for Vintage Cave. "Talk about a learning curve," Wakeman recalled. "I was eager to learn, and Chris (Kajioka) knew that I was a food professional in some capacity, so it worked out."

The cheese case at Butcher & Bird
One side of the deli case at Butcher & Bird.
Some of the meats at Butcher & Bird.
Some of the meats at Butcher & Bird.

It was that training at Vintage Cave that gave Wakeman a more sublime perspective of creating flavors and textures that provide a more elevated dining experience ... and what makes his place different from any other butcher shop (and Uncle Burt). 

wakeman making sausages
Wakeman actually making sausages while we waited for our order.

There's a case full of meats and cheeses for home use, but since a lot of you don't have time to cook — especially at lunchtime — Butcher & Bird is making meats to eat, as well. When you go to Butcher & Bird, you'll see that he and his crew are actually making the sausages that they're serving. He also has his own curing room (pending department of health approvals) so you'll see more things on the menu as time goes on. Oh, and that menu ... remember, Wakeman learned to cook at Vintage Cave. He's serving sausages, but these aren't like ordinary hot dogs. They're handcrafted sausages, each with their own blend of spices, all with toppings and pickles that are made in-house, so you'll see the difference in the professional quality. Just a word of caution: every bite is a big one, so if you're on a date, grab a knife and fork.

These are some of the items on the soft opening menu, but as you read this there are already new sandwiches and bowls being added. They also just started serving dinner.

Bratwurst with Sauerkraut
Bratwurst with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard ($12).
chorizo with street corn relish
Chorizo with street corn relish pickled jalapeno, picante crema, and cilantro ($12). This one is mildly spicy.
One of my favorites, the classic pork sausage with bacon jam, avocado puree, sliced tomato and cilantro ($12). I like the very simple, straighforward, familiar flavors remixed in a more refined way.
Italian sausage with bell peppers, onions, marinara and mozzarella ($12). I think the concept of flavors here is pizza in a bun, and that works.
Kielbasa polish sausage with kimchi
Kielbasa Polish sausagew with housemade kimchi dill pickle relish, pickled mustard seeds, and green onion ($12). This is definitely a knife-and-fork experience!
Italian combo
Butcher & Bird will have sandwiches, like the Italian combo ($13) — I'm just showing you the meat they use since the actual sandwich isn't as photogenic. They use Creminelli salami, sopressata and coppa with provolone. Okay, this one is actually easy to eat if you're on a date.
Chocolate chip cookies
Jessie shows Hawaii News Now's Grace Lee, their cookies as big as your face! Browned butter chocolate chip cookies are made in house. These are semi-soft and not too sweet.

Butcher & Bird is currently open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, but hours may adjust after their grand opening this Saturday, June 16. Validated parking is available on the street or in the adjacent SALT Kakaako parking structure.

Butcher & Bird
324 Coral St. #207