Where's the Beef?

Turns out, it's in Mentor.

Krizman Farmers Market homemade sausage Cleveland dining hotspots
Ask Scott Krizman where he gets his prime beef, and he'll probably tell you, "Cows." But that's just a warm-up for this wisecracking 42-year-old. A fifth-generation Slovenian meat-cutter, Krizman proudly shows off his 6,000-square-foot Mentor market, which overflows with locally grown produce, made-from-scratch bakery, top-quality meats, and more than a dozen types of homemade sausage.

Open since early 2005, Krizman Farmers Market (8748 Mentor Avenue, 440-255-3313) may be small, but its seasonal offerings look mighty fine. Among the recent crop of produce, we spotted peaches from Perry Township, cider from Patterson Fruit Farm, and mums, pumpkins, and cornstalks from western PA. Giant cabbages are a hit with Krizman's Croatian clientele; Geauga County apples are destined for plenty of homemade pies.

Clean and tidy, the meat case is stocked with prime steaks, thick roasts, and giant pork chops, stuffed with Great-Grandma Krizman's homemade dressing. But Krizman's pride and joy is his homemade sausage, an ever-changing lineup that includes such varieties as spinach and feta, sun-dried tomato, and Buffalo-style chicken sausage, with Tabasco, cayenne, red pepper, and blue cheese. Krizman also crafts his own hot dogs, and -- in a 60-year-old smoker -- he hickory-smokes lengths of lean, meaty kielbasa and melt-in-the-mouth andouille.

It's all part of ensuring the survival of the old-fashioned butcher shop. And with its tilt toward homey ethnic fare, he thinks the market is a good fit for Mentor, "a community that still likes to sit down to a real home-cooked meal."

Still, for the DIY-challenged, the market offers a small deli, featuring Boar's Head cold cuts, Amish cheeses, $4.99 lunch specials (anything from stuffed peppers to grilled Italian-sausage sandwiches), and heat 'n' eat options like homemade meatloaf.

Market hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Visit www.krizmansfarmersmarket.com for directions.

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