Eighteen inches nearly cost Pete Seghesio his longtime dream of becoming a salumist.
The two-story building he’d constructed at the site of the former Healdsburg post office was just a foot-and-a-half shy of fitting a custom-built meat processing room he’d specially commissioned. Okay, there was that, and the concern about loading whole animal carcasses into the building just steps from the downtown square.
So, Seghesio punted. He leased out most of the space in the building to Single Thread Restaurant and Farm, now being called the most important new restaurant in America. Single Thread also manages several rooms above the restaurant.
That left a small nook in the building for Seghesio to put in a retail butcher shop, salumieria and tasting bar, which has now opened as Journeyman Meat Co. His meat processing facility, called a Salumificio in Italian, has been relocated to Cloverdale, where engineers are putting the final touches on the multi-million dollar salumi fermentation, sausage and hot-dog making, and estate beef-packaging space. Soon, all of Journeyman’s products will go directly from farm to table straight through Seghesio’s company.
Suffice to say, Seghesio now has his sopressata and can eat it, too.
The newly opened salumeria is every bit as luxurious as its nearby restaurant and tasting room comrades that line Healdsburg’s streets — a warm, yet minimalist space that showcases several hand-operated Berkel meat slicers, hanging salumis, extensive wine racks, a wood-fired pizza oven and casual seating for sharing plates of charcuterie, pizzas, sausages, sandwiches and a glass of wine. As a butcher shop, it holds a carefully curated case of estate beef and heritage breed pork, along with bacon, smoked and fresh sausages and assorted salumi.
Sausage-making legend Bruce Aidells was among the early visitors, holding court with his assistant-dog in a cozy alcove one afternoon, giving serious cred to the fledgling salumeria. Behind the counter is Samueli Grigioni, an Italian butcher who describes the charcuterie plate in a heavy accent, lending additional cred. SHED and Ramen Gaijin alum (and recent Acre Coffee culinary director) Gillian Tyrnauer manages the shop, though it’s hard to find anyone, including Pete’s wife Cathy, who doesn’t have an obsession with artisan meats.
The simple opening menu is worth snacking through, with best bets including:
Butcher’s Steak: Our favorite bite of the day is a roasted bit of perfectly cooked market steak served with Parmigiano-Reggiano, a roasted tomato, compound butter and grilled bread ($18).
Salumi Boards: Handmade regional Italian charcuterie boards come with five ($25) or eight ($34) varieties including Sopressata, Bianco (made with white wine and sage), Rosso (with red wine and juniper), Spanish chorizo, Fattoria (with chilis and oranges) and Pio with white wine, garlic and allspice, a family recipe of the Seghesio’s. “This is the salami that made this all happen,” said Seghesio, who has been making Italian salumi with his family for decades.
Sausage Skewers: The sausage of the day ($10) made from locally-raised pork. Smoked and fresh sausage selections include all-beef hot dogs, smoked Andouille, cheddar IPA beer brats, Terrona (fresh Italian sausage with Parmesan) and Avi di Seghesio, made from an ancient family recipe.
Bianco Pizza: Wood-fired pizza with roasted leeks, bacon and an egg ($15) .
Wine and Salumi Flights: 2 wines with 4 salumi selections ($15) is a great way to try Seghesio’s Journeyman and San Lorenzo wines.
Overall: A perfect pairing of old school Italian and Sonoma County tradition.
404 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-395-MEAT, journeymanmeat.com.