With a sandwich it’s either love at first bite or it’s not. And at Proper Meats + Provisions there’s no doubt about it, between the bread is love.

From the house-brined and smoked pastrami on grilled rye to the Fried Chicken Po’ Boy, Proper sandwiches ooze with goodness.

Flagstaff gave the community butcher shop and eatery top billing in the deli and butcher shop categories in the 2017 Best of Flag.

 “We’re a butcher shop first, but our sandwiches are bringing more folks in,” said Paul Moir, one of the founders of Flagstaff-based Slo Restaurant Concepts, which operates Proper, Brix Restaurant and Wine Bar, Criollo Latin Kitchen and the Grand Canyon Café in town.

Moir said Proper’s Fried Chicken Po’ Boy is one of the more popular sandwiches. And we know why. Farm-fresh nuggets of chicken are soaked in buttermilk, then dipped in a spicy scratch-made breadcrumb mix and fried till crispy. The chicken is mixed with discs of Proper’s house-smoke andouille and a spicy aioli and it all goes into a generous hoagie roll topped with a creamy coleslaw and served with house-made chips. It’s the perfect nod to a Cajun specialty. 

Like its sister establishments, Proper sources its meat and other offerings from local and regional farms and ranches. The shop, now three years old, provides hand-selected, hand-butchered meat for the restaurants and an over-the-counter butcher experience for local residents.

“Arizona has always been a big ranching state, a big producer of meat,” Moir said. “But it all goes to markets outside our state. That to me is counterintuitive. We’re working with Arizona ranchers to get their products into the local market.”

Proper butchers whole animals. Prime cuts of beef and pork go into meals at the restaurants and into the butcher case at Proper. Other cuts are used for the sandwich meats, sausage (Proper makes several varieties) and hamburger. Organ meat is used in the restaurants or offered at the shop. Fat is rendered to make lard (pork fat) or tallow (beef fat), and the shop offers tubs of both for sale. 

In addition to grass-fed and grain-fed meats, farm fresh poultry and cured meats, the shop sells fresh eggs, cheeses, pickled veg, bread and house-made items, like pastrami and corned beef, as well as ready-to-heat prepared foods, like pork chile verde, sweet fennel ragu and stock. And not forgetting its canine friends, Proper makes dog food from fresh butchered meat.

Proper also stocks a variety of Arizona wines, canned Italian tomatoes, packaged premium pastas and other treats.

“You can walk in the door, grab a few items and have dinner together in minutes,” Moir said. “The best part is, you’ll know where your food came from.”

The restaurateur said Proper Meats + Provisions, like the other establishments in the Slo Restaurant group, approaches its work in a traditional way. 

“We’re part of that revival of craft butcher shops that brings authenticity back to the handling and selling of meat. … This whole idea of the local food movement is all about bringing back the connection that we’ve lost to our food.”