The Flora Butcher, which opened recently in downtown Flora, is one of the most unique food finds in our state.
Opening a business is an all consuming process. It starts out as a dream, and it’s usually years in the making. Eventually it turns into countless hours of hard work and decision making. Having been through this myself a couple of times, I know what kind of hours and commitment it takes, especially in the first few months after opening.
I wanted to know more about Chef David Raines, who owns and operates The Flora Butcher, but I honestly didn’t know if he would have time to actually sit down for a meal with me at this phase of his business. Thankfully, he carved out time for a late lunch at one of his favorite Flora haunts, The Blue Rooster.
I’ve been to The Blue Rooster a number of times, and I can tell you that there aren’t many burgers better in the Jackson area. The restaurant itself is in an unassuming stand alone building just across the railroad tracks from Flora’s Main Street. To add to the small town feel, we walked from The Flora Butcher over to The Blue Rooster, so it might as well have been Mayberry.
The food comes out fast, and, when you’re eating with Chef David, it also comes with a smile and a friendly conversation from the manager, CJ.
The Flamethrower, their signature burger, is a flavor bomb that I enjoy every time I make the trip out there. I already knew what I was going to eat when I was driving out, but I was interested to see what the chef would have. In true butcher fashion, he had the Rib Eye Sandwich. Both of them were delightful, but on this trip, I wanted to learn more about my dining companion than the food.
David is an incredibly interesting guy. He’s thoughtful and knowledgeable, and I love that in a chef. He has literally travelled the world, and he’s worked with some of the great chefs of our time on multiple continents. His culinary education has led him to Japan, Italy, Australia, and Denmark – where he also found his wife. One of the great ironies that emerged during our conversation is that The Flora Butcher’s wife is actually a vegetarian.
David moved to Mississippi for the first time to serve as Executive Chef under Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto for the opening of Seafood R’evolution. Previously, he had helped them open their original Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans.
I asked him how, after all his travels, he decided to settle in Mississippi, of all places. As it turns out, his wife loves it here! I’ve always thought that we had something special going here in my home state, but it’s always nice to hear when other people agree.
Chef David and I wrapped up our lunch and walked back to the butcher shop. I let him get back to work, and I picked up some Chicken Paupiettes for dinner. These gems are divine, and it turned out to be one of my favorite meals I’ve ever cooked at home. The Flora Butcher’s Chicken Paupiette is a deboned hen that is pounded thin and stuffed with house made sausage and wrapped in twine. We cooked ours in the oven, but you could also cook it on the grill – or even more delightfully, on a smoker if you have the time. I also picked up more of the maple and blueberry breakfast sausage which is so good it should be illegal.
I highly recommend taking the time to drive out and see what peaks your interest at The Flora Butcher. At the moment, it is my favorite food find yet in our local area.
You’ll find The Flora Butcher at 4845 Main Street in Flora, Mississippi. You can reach them by phone at 601.509.2498 or on the web at theflorabutcher.com.