|Popular butcher opens own venture
after store closes
Store closing turns butcher into entrepreneur
The Wyoming Advance - August 3, 2004
By Tim Disselkoen
He's back, by popular demand.
David Haraburda earned a reputation as a neighborhood butcher at Bob's Foodland. But when the Wyoming business closed to make way for a Family Video
store, he found himself unemployed.
As the neighborhood grocery store neared its end, Haraburda heard from many customers that his service would be missed. One by one they left their names,
addresses, and phone numbers in a book in hopes he would continue his business. By the end of his final day at Bob's, that list had grown to 150 names.
"I had an established customer base and figured I couldn't miss," Haraburda said. "The customers really pushed me into it."
So he opened David Delski's Prime Meats in Chateau Centre just over eight months ago. He chose the name as a tribute to his Polish heritage.
His grandmother was quite a cook, he said, and catered many Polish weddings on Grand Rapids' West Side. It was there that Haraburda got his start in local
butcher shops. He moved on to become meat department manager at Kroger grocery stores.
"I've been in the meat business since 1970," Haraburda said.
When Kroger left the area, he found himself back in the neighborhood stores. It offered him an opportunity to offer his recipes, which have proven quite
"The cooking part is in my blood," he said. "I do recipes from around the world."
He offers apple pecan breakfast links, souvlaki, boudin blanc sausages, homemade lasagna, chorizo, and Cajun-style Tasso pork, among his many specialties.
Customers have enjoyed his variety, and some pack a cooler as they come from Grand Haven, Battle Creek, and beyond just to stock up on his meats and
"It was his variety that really caught my eye at first," said Mark Quist, of Wyoming. "He has tastes you just can't find in most supermarkets."
Whether it is garlic bologna, prime rib, or other offerings, Quist said it's nice to have a place that offers some of the fancier creations, but with leaner, healthier
cuts of meat. A long-time customer, he was so excited about the opening of this store that he even volunteered to help move in equipment.
Haraburda said he accepts nothing but prime or choice cuts of meat. Quality is important, and he does the little things that make a difference in the end
product. He creates recipes daily, and even cuts the meat in the cooler, so it is never exposed to warm temperatures.
"I'm a quality nut," Haraburda said.
That is evident in the finished product, said customer Ken Amlotte, of Wyoming. Now in sales, he has 28 years of experience in the meat business that began
in a meat market up north and led to managing the meat department for a grocery chain. He has been a customer since Haraburda came to his neighborhood
store more than a decade ago.
"He handles the fine cuts, he does excellent trimming, and of course it's guaranteed," Amlotte said. "He puts out a great product. I feel like I know meat, and
I go to Dave."
When Bob's closed, he didn't know where to turn for meat, he said.
Wife Norma Amlotte echoed the praise. "He's kind of the old-time butcher," she said. "I think Dave does some wonderful things."
That praise, and good visibility in his new location -- at 44th Street and Burlingame Avenue -- has led to a strong opening.
"It's been gangbusters already," Haraburda said.
His commitment to cleanliness is apparent, and he invites customers to wander and look around the store. A piece from his grandmother's legacy, a
preparation table from her kitchen, complete with her picture, adorns a corner of the business.
That's not the only hint of family at the store, however. His mother stops in to make her renowned potato salad, his son makes the sausages, his daughter
handles the books, and even a niece helps out.
"We are a family joint," Haraburda said.
He said his ground chuck -- truly ground steak -- is a popular item. He also offers jerky, kabobs, golembki, ostrich, buffalo, and the popular black tie steaks,
packaged in a tomato-based marinade with vegetables.
"When we have company, we always have the black tie because it's so great," Norma Amlotte said.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed Sunday. For more information, call 301-6949.