A haven for meat aficionados, Patak Meats, located in Austell, just a short drive from West Cobb, brings a taste of Europe to North Metro Atlanta. Open since 1981, Patak has a strong following of regulars who frequent the shop for its large selection of fresh European meats, from Italian sausage to Canadian bacon, in addition to specialty cheeses, chocolates and other ethnic foods.
Patak was created by Anthony Patak, a butcher from the Czech Republic, and his wife, Olimpia, who’s from Poland. After attending trade school in Europe and working in both Canada and Miami, Patak settled in Austell, where he opened his shop “to bring a little bit of Europe to Georgia,” according to General Manager Kelly Patak, who is married to Anthony’s son, Alan, now a co-owner.
Situated in a former slaughterhouse, Patak features equipment from all over Europe, including two smokehouses brought over from Germany and two Italian drying rooms. With such traditional butcher shop paraphernalia, it’s no wonder everything in Patak is homemade and sold fresh. “Nothing is pre-packaged,” Kelly says. “We sell everything loose. You can buy one piece [of meat] or 10 pounds. … And nothing sits longer than a day or two.”
With an arch near the entrance, the building resembles a chalet. Inside, curved, neatly organized cases showcase the meats at their best. Categorized by type, the fresh meats come first: Italian sausage, bratwurst, Polish Kielbasa; then fresh pork products, such as chops, loins, tenderloin, spare and baby-back ribs; then beef steaks, beef stew and bottom round; then chicken breast, wings and drumsticks; and then ready-to-eat, warm and serve lunch meats, including turkey, chicken, roast beef, corn beef, pastrami, four types of ham, and Canadian bacon. Following the slice-and-serve meats come the sausages—Vienna weiners, knockwurst, Kabano (which is similar to a Slim Jim),Ukraine Kabasa in a ring and Polish Krakowska in a ring—about 14 in all.
Aside from the unusual selection, what makes Patak special? “The quality, the minimal fat content, the spices,” says 72-year-old Ralph Reimers, an East Cobb resident and 20-plus-year customer. “I’ve spent years bringing stuff home from Patak and sharing it with neighbors and people who work on my house. I’m that high on the product.
“When you walk in there, it is a veritable UN. There are Czechs, Pols, Austrians, French, Dutch, Germans, Serbians, and then there are the Americans—former GIs who were stationed in Europe, people even come from Warner-Robbins and Savannah,” continues Reimers, who is a German-American. “I know the whole family and the salesladies now. I learned a little Russian over the years. I greet them in Russian now and Polish.”
Offering meats from a variety of sources, including Georgia, Colorado and Canada, and French bread baked in-house on Fridays, as well as fresh bread from a Fayetteville bakery every couple of weeks, plus spaetzle, sauerkraut, marzipan and kefir, among other items, Patak certainly has the cultural market covered.
“[Coming here] is an experience,” Kelly says. “You can hear different languages, see different cultures. It’s something you don’t see every day.”
Open during the week and one Saturday each month, Patak can have one to one-and-a-half-hour lines, with customers camping out before the store opens to reserve a spot for the best and freshest meats. And according to Reimers, it’s well worth the wait. “I could wax poetic about this stuff,” he says.
To see a complete list of their products go to www.patakmeats.com
Reprinted from the August 2008 issue of West Cobb Magazine