Steve Gatward was born and raised in Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England. He apprenticed for a master butcher near the town square, known for its weekend market. It was there that he learned the importance of purchasing and serving fresh meat from local farmers. In his early 20s, he moved to Australia and after traveling around, he settled in Sydney and fully enjoyed living, "down under." In the early 1990s, Steve began what became a year long trip around Central and South America. In 1991, he moved to Arizona, where he lived for almost two years. After teaching English in Taiwan, he finally decided to settle in Washington, DC in 1994. He is fluent in Spanish and continues to be an avid traveler, and even though he’s visited more than 80 countries, he travels frequently.
Steve is the co-author of two guidebooks, The Other Side of Sydney, and The Pub, Club and Grub Guide to Washington, D.C. While working for The Washington Times, Steve traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, writing and developing business, political and cultural reports. He then worked in advertising sales for both Washington Life and The Diplomat.
In 2007, Steve realized that the time was ripe to open a European-style butcher shop in the Washington metropolitan area. He scoured downtown neighborhoods, such as Georgetown, Dupont and Logan Circle and also went out into the suburbs. When he was introduced to Del Ray, Virginia, Steve knew he had found a home for his butcher shop. The town has a strong sense of community and like his hometown, has a Saturday market. In May 2008, Steve officially opened Let’s Meat on the Avenue at 2403 Mount Vernon Avenue, the former home of Cheesetique, which moved to a larger store just a few doors down.
With a family name like Gatward, which means goat herder in Irish, Steve was almost destined to be a butcher, but he wanted to open a shop that allowed him to interact with his neighbors and become a part of the community. "I created a family friendly establishment where people can come in regularly to order fresh cut meats that go straight from the butcher to the table. I also like to have the time to personally get to know my customers so that I can better serve them."
Visitors to Let’s Meat on the Avenue can hear Steve as he butchers the meat that comes in from farms in Virginia and elsewhere in the back of the shop. He introduced the neighborhood to such cuts as European-style roast beef, standing rib racks, top sirloin and double pork chops. Steve sells both organic and air chilled chicken and during the holidays, organic turkey. Steve enjoys suggesting how best to cook and serve purchases and working with his customers on special orders for the holidays or everyday, such as buffalo, venison, rabbit, quail and pheasant.
Kids love watching Steve grind sausage and make hamburger in the window of Let’s Meat on the Avenue. He wears a traditional white butcher coat and striped apron, a special order from Ipswich. Steve makes his own sausages, including Uncle Donato’s pork sausage, but also sells a variety of brats and hot dogs made by a German butcher in Fauquier county.
Steve also supplies to restaurants who are impressed with the quality and taste of his meat as well as his master cutting skills.
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