Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview is a Halal Meat Shop Dream Come True

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Visit Pete’s Fresh Market in the Chicago south suburb of Bridgeview, IL and you will be amazed. The grocery store has an entirely separate, clean, and incredibly organized Halal meat section unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Pete’s Fresh Market is a popular produce-oriented Chicagoland grocery store chain. While they sell some packaged Halal meat at their previous locations, they decided to dedicate an entire Halal meat butcher section for their new location in Bridgeview, one of the largest and most densely Muslim populated cities in North America.

Here’s what makes this location’s setup so awesome.

1. A completely separate section for Halal meat

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[Photography: Saqib Shafi]

The first thing that strikes you about the location’s Halal meat section is its setup within the store. The Halal meat section is separate in its own area away from the other conventional meat section.

2. Beautifully organized, clearly labeled Halal meat

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This is monumental. Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview has beef and lamb on display in all the cuts that you dream of in a completely organized and labeled fashion. No more mystery cuts and only having “pasanday gosht” to work with. Thick cuts of New York Strip, ribeye, T-Bone, chuck and more are all available per American butchery standards. Basically, exactly like the meat sections of the non-Halal meat sections in your childhood grocery stores. Only it’s all Halal.

3. A dedicated butcher for Halal meat

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Since the Halal Meat sections sells whole sections of lamb and beef, there is a butcher there to cut it to your needs. But it’s dedicated for that Halal meat only. In any other grocery store, this is unaccessible because their butchers also handle pork.

4. Aisle cases of organized packaged Halal meat

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Know exactly what you want and don’t need to wait in line at the butcher? Check out the packaged section directly across. They have all the same beef steaks and roasts, lamb sections and cuts, and an entire chicken section, as well, ready for you to pick up and continue with your shopping.

5. Recognizable Halal brand names

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Check this out. A full array of Crescent Foods’ chicken products are made available for your needs. Want a whole chicken, split boneless skinless breasts, and chicken wings? You can pick it up in, get this… a clean and neatly labeled package! Plus, Crescent Foods is known for providing hand-slaughtered Halal high-quality Amish chicken that is given a 100% vegetarian feed without any animal byproducts. In other words, Halal and Tayyib. Speaking of Crescent…

6. Grass-fed Halal beef

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Muslims today are looking for more in their Halal meat, and grass-fed beef is one of the standards that is catching on. Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview has an entire section for Crescent grass-fed Angus beef. Want that gamier, leaner beef for your steaks, ground beef, or stir fry? This is for you.

7. Housemade Halal Sausage and Kefta

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Just like those grocery store butchers that have housemade pork sausage. Why not the same but Halal for Muslims using beef? This would be great for grilling or buy some, remove it from its casing and you got a flavorful addition for your next pizza night. The area has Halal lamb kefta and other sausage like meats, too.

8. Competitive prices and promotional sales

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While prices continue to rise at Halal meat shops, customers at Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview are given incentives to come buy products. The lamb shoulder and leg during my visit on Memorial Day weekend were marked down to $2.78/lb and $3.69/lb respectively. At my regular Halal butcher, those would have been nearly twice as much, with not a sale or promo price to ever look forward to.

This is amazing; is it too good to be true?

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Halal certificate for the fresh lamb at Halal meat section of Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview, IL

Yes and no. There are some call outs.

1. Not all of the Halal meat is slaughtered to the same standards. But you can get meat that is Halal to the highest of standards and will satisfy people following even the strictest standards. For example, they sell packaged Crescent Foods Halal chicken that is slaughtered by hand as well as another brand that is slaughtered by machine. It’s up to the consumer to pick the brand they are comfortable with based on the scholarly position they follow.

2. The butcher counter has non-Halal meat. The mostly Arab consumer base in Bridgeview probably follows the scholarly opinion that all Halal-to-eat meat in North America is permissible to consume which explains why you’ll find Butterball turkey lunch meat and at the butcher. If cross contamination is a concern for you, this is something you’ll want to pay attention to.

Personally, I see this as huge step in the right direction. While I’m thrilled to see a well known local franchise like Pete’s Fresh Market make this effort, I feel they need to do better by completely removing the non-Halal meat from an area labeled as Halal. If they really want to go above and beyond, they can labeling for the standards of Halal by which their brands of Halal products are slaughtered. As a consumer, this is something I will voice to Pete’s Fresh Market and I hope my local Chicagoans that will visit this location will, too.

That said, do not give up all hope. There is clearly Halal meat available either in packaged form or from the fresh lamb and beef which Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview has Halal certificates displayed. This meat will never come in contact with non-Halal meat. For example, the butcher displayed a certificate stating that the lamb comes from Barkaat Foods, the Halal division of Chiapetti Foods from the south side of Chicago where many Muslims go to perform qurbani by hand on Eid.

So, whatever your personal Halal standards may be, there is something for you to be able to purchase at this Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview.

Why this setup is so important

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With this Halal meat setup a message is being sent out to the average Halal meat store: Watch out.

The Halal Meat section at Pete’s Fresh Market in Bridgeview appeals directly to the today’s Halal meat buyer, young and old. The place is clean, organized, and well-labeled. The prices are seriously competitive. And on top of all that, Pete’s Fresh Market is an excellent grocery store by itself with great produce, a full bakery, cheese selection, a cafe, gelato counter, and more.

That means they are providing the dream Muslim grocery experience: get your Halal meat, grab all of your other groceries, get a latte for yourself, some ice cream or a cookie for your kids, and head on home. Sounds like your kind of Saturday morning grocery shopping, huh?

If traditional Halal meat shops want to keep business strong, they’re going to have to step up their game on cleanliness, organization, selection and pricing. Because if places like the Bridgeview Pete’s Fresh Market do well, we will start to see more of them around the country. That, to me, is competition I can get behind.

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