Broward Meat & Fish launches new expanded store in Margate

The first thing you’ll notice upon entering Broward Meat & Fish’s new location in Margate is how spacious, clean and new it is.

The main sections of the store are identified by large, illuminated letters visible from each area of ​​the retail floor. Appetizing colors and brick facades give the grocery store a modern farmer’s market vibe.

Meat and seafood counters, dry goods aisles and produce bins stretch far and wide, displaying quantities and varieties unimaginable when the building’s former occupant, Penn Dutch Meat & Seafood Market, s found there.

Forget everything you knew about the building’s history. After buying the entire anchored mall from former competitor Penn Dutch in late 2020, Broward Meat & Fish owners Ruben and Denise Lujo invested a small fortune tearing the building down to its cinder blocks and rebuilding it from floor to ceiling and back to front.

The Margate store, located southwest of the intersection of State Road 7 and West Sample Road, quietly opened on Monday without its prepared hot food counter and bakery fully operational.

These should be up and running in a few weeks and a live lobster tank should be installed soon after, says Athalia Lujo, daughter of Ruben and Denise, who is the company’s general counsel and helps her with her day-to-day responsibilities. .

Athalia’s brother and sister also work full-time for the company. Brother Ruben Lujo Jr. is Director of Operations and Sister Jacqueline Lujo manages the Human Relations Department.

The owners made no publicity or sent out any press releases about the opening, Athalia says. Only the roughly 20,000 consumers who follow the store on Facebook were told on the social media app that Monday would be the day they had been waiting for.

Given the low-key announcement, the opening day crowd was surprisingly large, she said. Customers easily pushed their carts through the 35,000 square feet of retail space, discovering the eclectic mix of brands they’ve grown accustomed to at the company’s stores in North Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes and Pembroke Pines. The brands come from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, South America, Africa and beyond.

National brands are also plentiful, and Nebraska transplants who have never eaten a Caribbean dish will be able to find everything they need.

The large store size accommodates approximately 30% more items. There is an expanded selection of produce from local sources such as Oakes Farms in Immokalee, and a greater variety of beef at all price points, including “prime, select, imported and grass-fed”, a said Athalia Lujo.

There are also Caribbean specialties such as chicken feet, turkey necks and various offal, as well as a great selection of whole fish and fish fillets.

Seafood manager Nick Macias, right, selects a fish for a customer at Broward Meat & Fish's new Margate store on Monday.  The store opened quietly but will celebrate a grand opening in January, the owners said.

Store managers rely on local residents of Margate and surrounding communities to tell them what other cultures and cuisines need to be represented.

“Right now, we’re just listening,” says Eric Pittman, meat department manager for the new store. Suggestions are encouraged, he says.

A full grand opening with storewide sales and food samples will take place in January after all outstanding details have been ironed out, said Ruben Lujo as he helped an employee stock a display case with frozen buffalo fillets.

Nothing remains of the former Penn Dutch operation which was forced to close permanently in September 2019 after state health inspectors discovered listeria contamination at its Hollywood and Margate sites.

“There is not a pipe or a cable left from Penn Dutch,” says Athalia Lujo.

After announcing the purchase in January 2021, the Lujos said they hoped the rebuild would take 10 months to a year. But the challenge turned out to be more daunting than expected.

“We thought we could keep more of the interior structure, but it was in such poor condition that we had to demolish it completely,” says Athalia Lujo.

Customers shop at Broward Meat & Fish on the opening day of its new Margate store on Monday November 14.

Supply chain issues have caused further delays, but “we are very proud of what we have achieved in two years,” she says.

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At the rear of the store, beyond a set of double swing doors is the meat processing room, a 4,800 square foot space with all new stainless steel cutting tables and brand new grinders. , tenderizers, sausage binders and band saws.

Before Penn Dutch closed, health inspectors found traces of listeria on some meat processing equipment. Rolando Otero, meat division manager who has worked at Broward Meat & Fish since its inception 32 years ago, says he knows potential customers might wonder if any of this equipment is still in use. None of that, he said. Everything in the room is brand new.

Beef, chicken and pork each have their own set of machines, and each machine is sanitized at the end of each day, he said.

Buyers, he predicted, “are going to be very pleased” with the care and detail that has gone into ensuring the meat is processed safely at all times.

A shopper browses fresh fruit and vegetables at Broward Meat & Fish on the opening day of its new Margate store on Monday.

News of a new store opening on Facebook was greeted with fans asking the family to open new stores in their area. “We need it in Hollywood! Grace Soraya Vazquez posted. “Every town needs it!”

Asked about other extensions, Ruben Lujo smiled at his daughter. “It’s up to the younger generation to decide,” he said.

Ron Hurtibise covers business and consumer issues for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He can be reached by phone at 954-356-4071, on Twitter @ronhurtibise or by email at [email protected].

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