A successful Fenton restaurateur, Jason Warda owns three restaurant/bars in the area: The Barn, Fenton Pub and Ponemah Lakeside Lodge. The challenge of owning three such businesses during a pandemic has been very frustrating, leading him to seek a way to diversify his businesses. After taking a trip with his family to clear his head, Warda came up with the idea of pursuing an entirely different type of venture – a meat market – something he felt was missing in the landscape of the bustling city.
“We want to offer a more personal shopping experience.”
The Fenton Meat Market opened in November of 2020, just in time for the holiday season. Located in what is commonly known as the “cobblestone building” at the corner of Wass and North LeRoy streets, the market has been a successful venture with a steady stream of customers. “Our goal was to offer good quality meats and basically everything to go with it for an enjoyable meal,” says Warda. “This is a new realm for me.”
After purchasing the building, Warda immediately renovated it with new equipment and now offers a wide variety of quality fresh meats, seafood, deli meats and cheese, bread, sandwiches and more. You will also find a variety of exotic meats, such as alligator, bison and elk.
Warda has a friend from Connecticut who advises him on his seafood purchases. And you will find just about any type of seafood or fish you could possibly want – crab legs of all sizes, shrimp, lobster tails, walleye, perch, bluegill and snapper to name a few.
In the deli, you will find Dietz & Watson brand deli meats and cheeses. “I think we have the best sandwiches in town,” the owner reports. The bread is baked fresh on the premises, including sourdough, wheat and French breads and sub rolls. “We also bake fresh cookies and cinnamon rolls every day,” Warda notes. The market offers some delicious sides, such as the very popular Barn Dip, a creamy dill dip that was Warda’s great-grandmother’s recipe.
Something you can’t get at a large supermarket is the personal service you will find at Fenton Meat Market. With two butchers on staff, Brian Towne (General Manager) and Alex Tobias (Assistant Manager), they will advise you on the cut of meat you’re looking for and how to cook it. “A lot of people are intimidated by meat,” Warda says. A staff of around 20 is also on hand to assist customers.
The market also offers grocery items and is willing to adapt to what people want. “We want to offer a more personal shopping experience,” the owner says. “Just let us know what you are looking for and we will find it.”
Warda has a lot of improvements in the works. He is in the process of providing meat from local suppliers. In the summer months, he plans to offer a farmers’ market with a variety of fresh, local produce. “We are a work in progress,” he says with a smile.