David Raines strolls into the butcher shop he owns on the main drag in Flora, Mississippi. By main drag, I mean the only drag, all two blocks of it. The Flora Butcher Shop anchors the south side of Flora’s downtown in a circa-1890 building with sanded-smooth original concrete floors and original brick walls on either side. The place has a comfortable feel. It’s the sort of place you want to hang out in, to stay a while and visit. It’s exactly what Raines envisioned when he had the idea of opening a shop where people could buy premium cuts of Wagyu beef, locally grown lamb, pork, chicken and even goat. A peek inside the glass display case finds delicacies such as house-made maple blueberry sausage, boudin-stuffed pork chops, ground lamb and beautifully-marbled cuts of beef. On the counter is a display of ready-to-slice tomatoes from Salad Days Produce, located just around the corner. Sides of turnip greens, green beans, mac and cheese and more are available to go with the day’s selection of meat. And if you ask, you’ll get a story on where the food came from or advice on how to prepare it.
“The beef comes from my dad,” Raines says. “He’s a physician who raises beef. He started raising cattle twenty at a time, crossbreeding them to better handle the heat in the South. I convinced him to switch his cattle production to Wagyu, and lucky for me, he did.” According to Raines, Wagyu beef is marbled more and has a softer texture. “It’s better for you, too. It has a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated to saturated fat than other beef.”
Now that the Flora Butcher Shop is established and doing well, Raines is off to his next venture, Dave’s Triple B: The Butcher, The Baker, The Barbeque Maker. Located in the old Chimneyville Barbeque location on High Street in Jackson, Raines will flex his culinary skills in a new and different way.
An internationally celebrated chef, Raines has both acquired and applied his talent in Italy, Denmark, Australia and Japan, as well as cities around the United States. His training includes a degree from the prestigious culinary school Johnson & Wales, as well as intense classes at the Guild of Master Sommeliers in New Orleans. He studied international bread making at New York’s French Culinary Institute. He has also been trained by Chef Ryan Farr in the art of butchery at San Francisco’s 4505 Meats. His interest in the preparation of fine meats grew into a passion while working at Club Alliance in Yokosuka, Japan. It was during that time he became familiar with the process of preparing extremely tender prime cuts of Wagyu beef.
In 2012, he left New Orleans’ Restaurant R’evolution to take the post as Chef de Cuisine at Ridgeland’s Seafood R’evolution. While Dave’s Triple B will be a departure from some of the high-end restaurants of his past, Raines plans on making sure the same high standards and care go into the food served.
The restaurant, which Raines hopes will open in time for the annual Dixie National Rodeo, will carry on some of the traditions associated with Chimneyville while introducing a wide variety of new dining options. “We’ll serve Wagyu beef, of course, as well as local produce and pork.” The restaurant has been remodeled, with a modern farmhouse feel. The once dark paneled walls are now bright white with black tables, chairs, and booths with pops of blue around the restaurant. A large deck emblazoned with three distinctive B’s was added to the front along with a wooden partition blocking the view of traffic along High Street. But make no mistake about it, the main emphasis will be on the food.
Daryl Maloney has been named the Chef de Cuisine at Dave’s Triple B, and he’s looking forward to serving customers. “This restaurant is built for speed,” he says, “but there will be much care in preparing the food. We are changing casual daily food in such a good way.”
Raines adds that chefs can be creative and do comfort food. “It starts in the very back with the two big Southern Pride smokers,” he points to a back room that has two huge smokers built into the exterior wall. We’ll serve four main salads, both hot and cold, and for or five blue plates. There will be a special every day, such as a tri-tip sandwich on house-made buns or goat curry. Everything we do will be fun and tasty!”
One of the signature dishes will be the Big Rhonda. While Raines was tight-lipped on who the dish was named for, his eyes lit up when he described the too-big-to-imagine chicken fried steak, served with a choice of mashed potatoes smothered in white gravy flecked with pastrami chunks or hand-cut French fries on a huge platter. “I can imagine four or five guys sitting out on the deck with a bucket of beer, sharing it.” The problem will be deciding who gets the t-shirt that comes with the dish.