Gem City Butchery starts with pop-up events, plans to open brick-and-mortar

Combined ShapeCaption
Two Dayton natives with years of experience in the restaurant industry are planning to open a full-service butcher shop, smokehouse and catering concept.

Two Dayton natives with years of experience in the restaurant industry are planning to open a full-service butcher shop, smokehouse and catering concept in the area.

“We want to basically become the go to retail and wholesale meat purveyor in Dayton as well as just a really good lunch option selling classic BBQ, sides and a bunch of other unique smoked items,” co-owner Jonathon Mezera said.

Mezera owns Gem City Butchery with his longtime friend, Elliott Harrell. The two have worked at several Dayton fine-dining staples including Sueño, where they currently work.

Combined ShapeCaption
Elliott Harrell (left) and Jonathon Mezera are planning to open Gem City Butchery, a full-service butcher shop, smokehouse and catering concept in the area.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Elliott Harrell (left) and Jonathon Mezera are planning to open Gem City Butchery, a full-service butcher shop, smokehouse and catering concept in the area.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Combined ShapeCaption
Elliott Harrell (left) and Jonathon Mezera are planning to open Gem City Butchery, a full-service butcher shop, smokehouse and catering concept in the area.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

“He and I have always hit it off and we’ve always bounced ideas off of each other,” Mezera said. “We’ve always wanted to do our own thing, be our own bosses.”

They explained they are starting off with pop-up and catering events to introduce their idea to the community and have a proof of concept to help them get financing. They hope to secure a brick-and-mortar location in five to six months.

Gem City Butchery’s first pop-up event is noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26 at the Jollity, located at 127 E. Third Street in Dayton. The event will feature pork belly burnt ends, brisket sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, greens, baklava and smoked cheesecake. Jollity will provide the beverage pairings for the event.

Mezera said most of the dishes are their own original recipes, with the exception of a few recipes from his mother that he expects will become staples at the smokehouse.

“We also want to use the smoker in some not so traditional ways,” Mezera said. “Vegetarians are often left out of the smoked food category, so we want to include them by making some vegetarian ribs, smoked jack fruit, smoked heads of cauliflower, etc.”

Harrell, who has been a vegetarian for 20 years, said they hope to showcase their vegetarian options by their fourth pop-up event.

ExplorePEACH SEASON: How you can reserve your order from Peach Truck’s summer tour

Owning a butcher shop has always been a lifelong dream for Mezera. Harrell’s lifelong dream has been to be his own boss.

“I’ve always been waiting for the perfect time, and we had that realization that the perfect time is never going to come,” Mezera said. “We just have to do it.”

Harrell added that working with Mezera gave him the motivation to make this leap.

“I also think COVID really gave us some time off of work to concentrate on our own thing,” Harrell said.

Explore2nd Street Market reaches 100 percent capacity indoors

The owners said they are looking forward to having a little more purpose as they offer the community a new lunch destination and a place to get raw and smoked meats.

Next month’s Gem City Butchery pop-up is slated Sunday, July 24.

For more information about Gem City Butchery or to RSVP to their first pop-up event, visit their Facebook page.

About the Author