The Los Feliz gourmet meat and fish grocer with a cult-like following has opened a shop on Montana Ave. with hopes of creating a fresh neighborhood of McCall’s fanatics.
According to new Co-owner Michelle Sarraf, McCall’s today stays true to the original owners’ vision of being a chef’s pantry, meaning it carries a carefully cultivated collection of ingredients to build an entire gourmet meal from scratch. Accordingly, the new Santa Monica location offers McCall’s classic collection of top tier meats and fishes as well as farmers’ market fruit and vegetables; fresh pasta and sauces; and a whole range of specialty products like membrillo quince paste, white truffle olive oil and black pearl caviar.
“When McCall’s started it was like you couldn’t go anywhere in the city and find the same level of quality of meat. We were doing it like your Michelin restaurants. No one was portioning fish the way that we do, no one was cleaning the same way, they weren’t paying attention to the detail,” said VP of Operations Olin Schneider, who first joined the McCall’s team in 2011, a year after the original store opened. “So for us it was like how do we just provide the best quality, best tasting product imaginable?”
Michelle and her husband David Sarraf took over the business from Nathan McCall and Karen Yoo in 2021. They seek to stick to the original McCall’s mission of being a purveyor of excellent meats and fish, while bringing the company to a new level with fresh offerings like grab-and-go deli sandwiches and expanded retail and delivery services.
The original Los Feliz location has a devoted following of neighborhood foodies and the Sarrafs recognized that a similar desire for high-end products exists in Santa Monica.
“We looked at several different areas and I think ultimately we kept coming back to Montana because we felt Santa Monica can appreciate what we do,” said David.
Both locations are staffed with knowledgeable butchers and fishmongers who can prepare meats and fish exactly to customers specifications, provide advice for preparation and customize what they order in each week to match individual customers’ culinary desires.
“Oh you want to make a rabbit roulade and you’ve never made it before? Great. We have the talent here that we can take that, we can prep that rabbit for you, we can show you how to cook it,” said Schneider. “It’s that high-end restaurant, fine detail and skill set that sets us apart from everyone else.”
The McCall’s team prepares their products to make the cooking process as easy as possible for the customer. According to Schnieder, the shrimp always come peeled, the branzino gutted and the salmon perfectly deboned and descaled.
The meat is sourced from farms all across the country and comes in a wide variety of cuts and custom preparations. Some of their sources include Mary’s Chicken, Beeler’s Pork, Niman Ranch, and Salmon Creek Farms. Audrey Grewe is the Santa Monica store manager and recommends customers try one of their house made sausages, such as the popular beef short rib sausage with porcini mushrooms and Gruyere cheese.
Grewe hails from the quaint town of Middlebury, Indiana, where she grew up wrapping packages of burgers, brats, smoked baby back ribs, and more at her father’s historic meat shop and smokehouse Old Hoosier Meats. She said she enjoys working at McCall’s because of the level of customer community and loyalty that is built around picking out products.
“We’re not even two months in and I’m already on a first name basis with a lot of customers,” said Grewe. “I’m excited to get to know more people and really find those people who want to come in on a weekly basis or they’re doing their monthly big cookout, they want to get something special, so they come through to us.”
McCall’s is open at 1426 Montana Ave. Ste 7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.