There’s an old Texas law that states, “It is illegal for one to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel.” It must have really been a problem, all those hotel guests shooting out their hotel windows.
These days, there’s no need to break out the ol’ Winchester if you want a tender, juicy buffalo burger. Jeff Sparks and his son Josh of Ye Ole Butcher Shop, near downtown Plano, can help you enjoy a hearty serving of bison without a run-in with the law.
Jeff never thought his part-time job in high school would lead to a career catering to carnivores. Bob Giddiens, Ye Ole Butcher Shop’s original owner, hired him back in the 1970s while Jeff was attending Plano Senior High. Under Giddiens’ tutelage, Jeff learned everything there is to know about meat and eventually bought the business, taking the helm in 1986. Jeff’s 22-year-old son, Joshua, is the heir to the carnivorous kingdom and though he may be a young’un, he’s been learning the butchering business since he was a tiny tater tot.
Ye Ole Butcher Shop made a few stops before settling into its current location on East 15th Street at G Avenue. This larger space, which Jeff moved into in 2009, features more room for dining, allowing Jeff to grow the restaurant side of his business. He’d already cultivated a sizable group of regulars, mostly judges, police officers, lawyers and other local business owners, who would stop in just about every day around lunchtime to get a handmade sandwich or burger.
But that burger is no ordinary ground meat patty. It all started years ago with Jeff buying a whole buffalo before eating buffalo was a “thing.” He carved it up and made some of the best buffalo burgers this side of the Red River. With the larger location, Jeff expanded his lunch-making operation and turned his shop into one of Plano’s best burger joints.
Walking into Ye Ole Butcher Shop is like stepping back in time, with its red-and-white gingham tablecloths, interesting array of taxidermy adorning the walls and the museum-quality antique butcher shop equipment used as décor. The savory smell of cooking meat wafts through the air at lunchtime and is almost enough to cause a stampede (the line can get pretty long).
Jeff and Josh get their buffalo from Comanche Buffalo in Lawton, Oklahoma; they have deer and elk burgers from Canada; beef comes from Fort Worth; and they have quite the pork and sausage offerings.
There are a few things you need to know about buying meat at Ye Ole Butcher Shop: You can get just about anything you want, in any amount. You can buy a whole buffalo, a whole hog and a whole cow. Meat packages range from your average fridge freezer size to preparing for the apocalypse. The shop also offers game processing. Josh has seen deer, bear, longhorn, mountain lion and water buffalo, of all things.
With great meat comes great responsibility. The shop’s meaty goodness is in such high demand that most weekends you’ll find father or son manning the shop while the other is off at this festival or that. They do concessions at more than 25 different events a year in Plano alone. They supply meats to local businesses, including The Fillmore Pub in downtown Plano.
Despite its success, Ye Ole Butcher Shop still has that hometown, neighborhood feel to it. People feel comfortable there. The food is good, and the meat is terrific, which keeps them coming back. No second-floor sharpshooting required.Ye Ole Butcher Shop Website >