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May 31, 2014

Smokehouse keeps cuts fresh and local

By Cathy B. Koplen Contributing Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Processed foods have become suspect and many people believe that locally raised, organic foods are better for all aspects of life.

Michael Solyn and Caitlan Grady live that philosophy and have recently opened Stamford Smokehouse to share their idea of good food with the community.

“People are willing to pay a little more for food that is fresh and locally raised,” Solyn said. “We are part of this community — we buy our food from local farmers and sell to the community. We live here with the people who benefit from this idea of eating fresh local food.”

Solyn and Grady opened Stamford Smokehouse at 103 Main St. in Stamford, in a former bagel shop. Prior to their store front they have been making hotdogs, sausage, bacon, pastrami and corned beef, as well as smoking briskets, pork and ribs — perfecting natural recipes for foods that are known to be chemically processed.

“The storefront was an added bonus,” Grady said. “Right now we sell to walk-in customers and farmers for their own consumption. But what we really want to do is to offer a service that will allow the farmers to sell their own homegrown sausages and meats. To do that we need to be USDA inspected. Right now we are state inspected, but to wholesale, we need to be federally compliant. Then we can sell across state lines.”

Grady said they are assessing the upgrades needed to be federally compliant and they are investigating some local grants.

“There is a real value added to the community when people eat the things they grow on a scale big enough to feed the community,” Grady said.

The couple uses local ingredients including maple syrup and locally grown herbs for their rubs and sauces. They smoke many different types of meats and offer a variety of all natural hot dogs, sausages, as well as barbeque beef pork and ribs. In addition, they make all of the sides offered at the restaurant.

“I am transparent with my recipes,” Solyn said. “We have the experience to be able to smoke the meat to perfection. That is the secret. Our ingredients are pretty simple and pretty much found locally.”

Grady and Solyn have been in the food industry for several years. Solyn studied in both Italy and China upon graduating from culinary school. They two met while working for a chef in New York City.

“I had to go to SUNY Cobleskill for a certification,” Solyn said. “That is a great place, they have everything right there — and it is beautiful! When I came up I thought, how can you not want animals here? It is a perfect place for farmers. When I got back to the city, Cait saw my SUNY Cobleskill T-shirt and told me about her hometown of Stamford.”

They started dating and Grady took Solyn home for a visit.

“I fell in love,” Solyn said.

Stamford Smokehouse is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except for certain occasions. They sometimes run out of food because they prefer to make just enough for a day of sales so that the food is fresh every day.

“People should call first to make sure we have what they want,” Grady said. “We also post on our Facebook page when we are out of something or if we are going to be closed.”