Guided by a desire to connect with the Wilmington community, chef Bobby Zimmerman created his eatery/butcher shop, True Blue Butcher & Table, to share his favorite foods and products with customers.
“Every dish and every product has a story,” Zimmerman said. “Each item has been purposefully selected to be shared.”
True Blue opened its doors this past weekend, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, as well as brunch and family-style Sunday suppers on the weekend. The butcher counter, offering items such as Lady Edison pork products, certified Angus beef and a variety of cheeses and charcuterie, is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Zimmerman said he realizes it’s an ambitious undertaking, but says that by offering more things for more people, and bringing value to his customers, the business is more sustainable.
“In the restaurant business you’re paying rent 24 hours a day,” Zimmerman said. “The idea that you can be open only for dinner and make all your money within a two-hour period just doesn’t work. If you truly want to be a part of the neighborhood, you have to be open all the time.”
Zimmerman believes he has set himself up for success by surrounding himself with a strong team of employees who are required to participate in driving business decisions. Each employee must sign on to be part of one of three committees that are designed to spur collaboration and innovation.
Zimmerman said True Blue is striving for more than great cooking and service. Part of taking care of customers is making sure they leave with something they didn’t expect: perhaps the story behind a product they weren’t familiar with or a butchers tip for preparing a cut of meat at home.
“When I was putting the concept together I thought a lot about what I would want the community to think of when they thought of me and the restaurant,“ Zimmerman said. “The first word that came to mind was trustworthy. I began looking into the origins of the word, and I came across the phrase, 'true blue.'"
Someone who is true blue is described as loyal, consistent and faithful. The phrase also has ties to the early fashion industry, and blue is the traditional color of butcher’s aprons throughout Europe. With that, Zimmerman had found the perfect name.
True Blue’s menus are focused on cuisine designed to spur customer’s curiosity. Some of the more adventurous combinations are found among the snacks and small plates, allowing customers to try something new without fear of committing to an entrée sized portion of something they’ve never tried. The breakfast menu spans from healthy to indulgent with most under $10. Lunch features a variety of vegetable based dishes and sandwiches, and dinner entrees include classically prepared steaks, pork chops, scallops, salmon and a pecan smoked roasted chicken.
Zimmerman enlisted the help of well-known Wilmington bartender Joel Finsel to create True Blue’s cocktail menu and has worked with numerous wine purveyors to develop a wine list designed around what he calls “memory-making” wines.
The butcher counter at True Blue carries staple cuts daily and special orders for meats are welcomed.
“My goal is to give back to the community and to the industry,” Zimmerman said. “I want to spark customer’s curiosity and help connect them with the best possible products, and at the same time hear from them about the things they love. It’s not just about what I’ve come across, and the stories I have to tell, I want to continue to grow and evolve based upon my interaction with my staff and customers.”
True Blue Butcher & Table is located at 1125-A Military Cutoff Road in The Forum.
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