Rising Star Butcher Melanie Schoendorfer of Babe's Meat & Counter - Biography

Miami, FL

February 2021

Melanie Schoendorfer’s Italian grandparents made all kinds of meat products from scratch in Canada—prosciutto, pepperettes, Italian sausage. Her family, plus 11 years of experience at a gourmet grocery, Joanna's Marketplace, gave her a solid appreciation for butchery. (The woman does hotdog-eating competitions!) Her husband, Jason, started in audio engineering and spent more than a decade with the family business, a pet cemetery and crematory. The two met at the Starbucks where Jason worked while studying; Melanie had a job at the Canada Pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot Center. They both enjoyed a good sausage but couldn’t find any they liked once they moved to Miami. Neither had formal butchery training, so they began experimenting at Joanna’s in 2013, starting with sausage and bacon then simple sandwiches, and selling at Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market. In 2018, they jumped into Babe’s Meat & Counter full-time. The Schoendorfers increased to four farmers markets per week, secured a commercial kitchen, and worked seven days a week for years. When COVID-19 hit, grocery stores couldn’t keep meat in stock, and Babe’s demand exploded. In addition to their house-smoked and -cured meats, the Schoendorfers now push out Cuban sandwiches, Montreal-style smoked meat, roast pork, cheesesteaks, and carefully made sausages.