Friday, February 28, 2020     Volume: 20, Issue: 52

Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Main Street meat


The first time I walked into Woody’s Butcher Block, the new upscale meat market and deli counter that opened in Santa Maria in November, I wasn’t sure if I had the right place.

Stepping onto the hardwood floors and looking around at the warm décor and tidy provisions displays, I thought this had to be the handsomest butcher shop I had ever seen.

Head honcho:
Tim Woodbury owns and operates Woody’s Butcher Block, the new premier meat market and deli counter on East Main Street in Santa Maria.

The “head honcho” himself, owner Tim Woodbury, greeted me and the other lunchtime customers in the shop. He enthusiastically pointed out all the shop’s unique meats, homemade sausages, seafood, deli sandwich options, and upscale spices and sauces for sale.

Woodbury knows his stuff; he spent nearly three decades selling to the restaurant industry and training chefs and cooks how to cut meat.

And only the best meat is good enough for Woody’s Butcher Block.

“We expect to build a customer base of people that enjoy consistent quality,” Woodbury said. “The way that we’re buying, the specifications that we’re abiding by, will give us consistently a great piece of meat. So you come to buy something from us and it was great, and you come and buy it from us again, and it will be great again.”

Woodbury’s standards are very high. He selects beef from the top 20 percent of meat available. Woodbury says the remaining 80 percent is sold at big box stores and grocery chains.

Woody’s carries traditional cuts of steak like New York strip, filet mignon, rib-eye, and classic T-bone, but also unique meats.

Woodbury’s “forever favorite” is a culotte steak, cut from top sirloin.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. It has the flavor of a sirloin, which is unique by itself,” Woodbury said. “For all these years, when I’d buy top sirloin and cut them up at home, I would set those aside for me and Mama. The rest of the kids can eat the other stuff, but that’s the steak that we’ll eat.”

Meat time:
Pictured left to right are a sirloin culotte, a T-bone, and a hanging tender.

That is, until Woodbury sank his teeth into a cut of beef called a hanging tender: “Now I’m torn. It’s unique in the respect that there’s only one per animal. It comes right off the sternum. It was also known for many years as ‘the butcher’s steak’ because he was the only one that had the patience and the knowledge to clean those up.”

Woodbury describes the hanging tender’s tender bite as somewhere between a great steak and pot roast.

“We’re buying them at a Certified Angus Beef grade,” Woodbury said. “So the marbling is wonderful, and the specs are very tight.”

Woody’s also sells flat-iron steak.

“You’ve seen them in restaurants,” he said. “It’s very tender. It’s just an absolutely marvelous piece of meat.”

Woodbury tells customers to marinate the flat-iron overnight with thinly sliced fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Then grill it to medium rare: “And they are just like butter.”

Woody’s also carries Kobe-style tri-tip and Wagyu beef ribs. Woodbury’s son Joshua Bachrach, who manages Woody’s Butcher Block, has prepared Wagyu beef ribs on an oak pit and “he tells me it was the best beef ribs he’s had in his life. They are so heavily marbled that they are absolutely wonderful,” Woodbury said.

Woody’s sells several varieties of sausages made in house.

“You’ll notice anything that we make in the shop has big flavor,” he said.” I’m huge on big flavor.”

Steaks and sandwiches
Woody’s Butcher Block is at 700 E. Main St., Santa Maria. Woody’s is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a complete deli counter menu and more information, visit The shop’s phone number is 354-0213.

The raspberry habañero pork sausage is their spiciest: “We warn people, ‘That’s spicy! You ought to be careful. Don’t rub your eyes after you eat it,’” Woodbury said.

Woody’s also produces chili verde pork sausage; Caprese pork sausage with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella; and a Santa Maria sausage made with ground steak, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, serranos, cilantro, “and then to make it ‘real Santa Maria,’ we add beer,” Woodbury told me. “It’s our quirky representation of Santa Maria-style barbecue in a sausage.” 

Woody’s carries duck, leg of lamb, rack of lamb, and seafood, including salmon, swordfish, Mahi Mahi, and Western Australian rock lobster, “which is just about the most desirable lobster tail around,” Woodbury said. “If you’re a lobster aficionado, you’ll know that this is the lobster tail you want.”

And don’t leave Woody’s Butcher Shop without taking some sandwiches for lunch. They use only the highest quality meats and cheeses. Portions are generous, and the breads are delivered fresh from Edna’s Bakery in San Luis Obispo.

“I’m really proud of our deli meats,” Woodbury told me. “The roast beef starts off as prime-grade Certified Angus Beef before it’s roasted. Our prosciutto comes from Parma, Italy—a really, really nice prosciutto.”

The most popular sandwiches are the Italian Stallion (shaved ham, mortadella, capicola, salami, and prosciutto topped with Provolone cheese, onion, hot peppers, lettuce, tomato, and oil and vinegar on an Italian sub roll for $8.75), and the Chicken Chipotle (tender chicken breast, double smoked bacon, Jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and chipotle mayo on a ciabatta roll for $8.25).

I really like Woody’s roast beef and cheddar sandwich: medium rare roast beef, aged cheddar with caramelized onions, and horseradish cream sauce on a ciabatta roll ($8.25).

Whether you walk out of Woody’s with a sandwich, sausage, steak—or, if you’re like me, all three—let them know how much you appreciate the quality food.

One customer recently called Woodbury on the same night she ate one of his steaks, telling him, “This is the first time in my life that I just closed my eyes and rolled my head back and just savored the meat.”

“And if that’s not fun to have somebody throw at you,” Woodbury recalled proudly. “I look forward to going to work every day.”

Sun food and wine columnist Wendy Thies Sell appreciates quality food and returns for more. Contact her at

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