This project was successfully funded by a loan from Steward Regenerative Capital.
Butcher’s Table brings an Old-World butcher shop and wood-fired restaurant to Helena, MT to showcase Old Salt’s meat products and food from regional producers.
Guided by Cole Mannix’s vision, Old Salt Co-op is a collaboration among Montana ranches that are committed to prioritizing connection to agricultural landscapes and quality food. Cole’s ranching expertise is bolstered by a talented staff, including Andrew Mace—chef, former consultant, and current culinary marketing director—whose extensive restaurant background is shaping the co-op’s wholly-owned dining experiences. The Old Salt brand markets meat direct-to-consumer through their fast-casual burger restaurant, Old Salt Outpost, and coming soon, an in-house meat processing facility and a second restaurant, Butcher’s Table, which will serve as a flagship butcher shop, culinary, and retail space.
The Butcher’s Table restaurant and butcher shop will open in the fall of 2023. This Steward loan will be used to purchase the facility. Renovations are scheduled to begin in the summer of 2023. Direct-to-consumer retail is core to Old Salt’s model because it captures a higher margin for primary producers, generating more livable wages for agricultural stewards and delivering a higher quality product to consumers. But the co-op’s commitment to culinary experiences is also about more than the bottom line. Old Salt was founded to increase community connections to quality, local food. Old Salt Outpost and Butcher’s Table represent key community spaces where Montanans gather around a shared table and celebrate the bounty of their land and the people who care for it every day. While these restaurants provide valuable sales outlets for the co-op’s products, for many diners, they represent an even more valuable point of connection to the regional foodshed.
Old Salt’s model is built on the idea that when producers have an alternative to a commodity system that makes their decisions for them and reduces their profits to razor-thin margins, then producers will also have more resources and capacity to invest in the ecological stewardship of their lands. The co-op intentionally steers away from buzzword branding, which is constantly shifting and can cause division in agricultural communities, in an effort to build connection and investment in sustainable regional food systems.
“Obviously salt fits with meat pretty well,” Cole Mannix says of the Old Salt brand name. “But another reason for the name is the idea of, when customers and producers engage more thoughtfully in the food system together, then we can enhance lands like salt enhances a recipe—like salt of the earth. It’s really about people participating in enhancing land and community rather than being extractive.”
Producers participating in the Old Salt Co-op:
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