Northside bids farewell to Jim’s Meat Market


By Oona Mackesey-Green
Northside News

At the end of 2017, a beloved Northside business closed its doors. For over 40 years, Jim’s Meat Market served meat, deli and bakery items that held a special place in the hearts and on the tables of Northside residents. While the popularity of Jim’s Meat Market may have stretched beyond the Northside, their tenure anchored nearby neighborhoods through decades of changes. While grocery stores came and went, Jim’s remained a reliable destination for Northsiders. We will let these community goodbyes to Jim’s speak for themselves. We wish we had news of a relocation to share, but at least for now, it’s farewell. Farewell, and thank you to the team that made Jim’s an irreplaceable Northside business for so many years.

“The old saying ‘you don’t fully realize how much you miss something until it’s gone’ is certainly true about Jim’s. Loved their Amish turkeys, stuffed pork chops, chicken cordon bleu, steaks, brats etc. Our grandson loved their tater tots and was really sad when we drove by yesterday and he said, ‘Where’s Jim’s?’ Where else did you get personal service with a smile? Our son and daughter worked there in high school. Miss you John, Claude and staff. Hope you open somewhere else.” — Cheri and Dennis Schmidt

“Jim’s Meats has held a special place in my heart because they helped the Northside during the food desert years when Roundy’s bought and closed the Kohl’s grocery store, before Pierce’s opened their store.”— Heather Couch Cameron

“My first purchase there was a special order crown pork roast for Christmas dinner,  I had no idea it would be so big or expensive (I was dirt poor at the time) but it was fabulous. That was over 30 years ago.  It has always been tradition to get a roast of some type for Christmas there for me.  Also the brat selection was the best! Jim’s always reminded me of the butcher shop in my hometown when I was growing up. Friendly faces and greetings whenever I went there.  That small business charm will be missed. I wish them all the best.” — Sue Marks

“I will miss the friendly staff, always smiling, always helpful. So sad to see a local store go.” — Jodi Herbig

“I will miss their helpfulness and courtesy.  Food wise: the twice baked potatoes, brats, marinated steak kabobs and a summer favorite — Texas Grillers rubbed with their special seasoning. Now where will I get the fresh Thanksgiving turkey? So sad to have them leave.” — Debbie Thacker.

“I will miss the friendly staff and the amazing food whether it’s cooked for you or fresh meat.” — Dorian Swenson

“I’ll miss the zesty pineapple brats and of course the friendliness of the staff.” — Toni Rosemeyer

“Many years ago, when I was a student at Shabazz High School, my friends and I would pretty frequently pile into one of our cars and go to Jim’s for lunch. Always delicious, super affordable, nice employees. We loved the place, and I’ll miss it. Thanks for the memories, Jim’s Meat Market.” — Garth Olmanson

“Excellent shrimp basket/dinner!” — Catherine Willett

“We started going to Jim’s not long after we moved back to Madison. I liked that it had the same vibe as the small town meat market I have always gone to in my mom’s Wisconsin hometown. I was curious how they negotiated their unassuming, no-frills style in the increasingly hipster-foodie town that Madison is becoming. My third trip answered it. When I walked in, there was a couple giving a man I now know as John the third degree on meats. Were these cage free/cruelty free/grass fed/grass finished/organic/happy/well-educated meats? He patiently tried to answer, but it became evident that not having a pedigree chart for the burger was costing him. He finally smiled and said, ‘All I can tell you is it’s the meat I feed my family.’ And I thought, what more could I need to know? His combination of patience, friendliness and frank honesty made me a die hard customer until the very end. Oh, and the filet mignons for $8 were boss, and I bought as many as I could justify freezing.” — Renee Walk

“Good food, friendly staff and always willing to help.  Had suggestions if you asked and gave cooking instructions.  Always service with a smile.” — Pamela Timm

“Jim’s has been a tradition in our family for many, many years. My grandmother (who is 87) started going to Jim’s right when it opened. She passed that tradition on to our entire family. It was the only meat market we loved and we were visitors two or three times a week. They will be missed greatly. This community lost a neighborhood staple.” — Kelli Romine

“Always service with a smile in addition to the top notch meat.  They would cut to order too and give cooking instructions! I will miss the friendly folks who worked there and their store. I will no longer buy gas next door.  Hoping they can find a new location for their excellent enterprise.” — Joan Kemble

“Not only will I miss the friendly service, I’ll miss picking up delicious fried chicken for summer evening boat rides and impromptu family dinners at the beach.” — Leah Viola

“We have always used Jim’s Meat Market as our go to place for quick meals.  We have lived in this home on the Northside for a very long time, back to the days when Jim started the meat market when John was his helper.  It is so sad to see this happen.” — Marlene Hurst

“We will miss Jim’s Meat Market. We were regular customers to Jim’s for over 30 years. We got to know John and Claude and we became friends. We loved their friendliness, their honesty, their helpfulness and the quality of their products. We will indeed miss them.” — Kathryn Woodson

“The quality of meat was great. We particularly enjoyed visiting John/Claude at the holidays when they were super friendly and fun and they had THE best prime rib roasts. During the year, pork sausage of so many kinds for stir fries, pasta sauces, meatloaf, you name it. And the selection of chicken and brats was never ending. We shall miss Jim’s and hope that one day John will find a way to return to open another meat market for us on the Northside.” — Alison Lindsay Mares