If you’re hosting a weekend cookout, 640 Meats has you covered. But this friendly neighborhood meat market also serves up delicious deli cuts and sandwiches.
Pete Lentz, owner of 640 Meats in Loves Park, worked his way to the top of the food chain. Literally.
“I just walked in and got a job in 1995 cleaning the back room and sweeping floors and I worked my way up,” Lentz recalls.
He was a 20 years old. Today, at 40, he owns and operates 640 Meats at 6410 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park. The business is one part full-service meat market and one part full-service deli and sandwich shop.
“We cut and grind everything here,” Lentz says. “We specialize in cutting the meat and serving it, as well.”
There are meat boxes available that include bone-in baby back ribs, pork chops, bacon, boneless country ribs and many more savory selections. It’s a one-stop shop for the perfect backyard barbeque and you can even buy the charcoal and lighter fluid here.
“We also have local produce when it’s in season,” Lentz says.
Many sides and salads are available, such as potato, macaroni, pasta, three-bean and Italian salad.
There’s also a loaded sandwich menu. Walk-in customers can have their sandwiches custom-made using an array of meats, cheeses, toppings and dressings, or can order one of 640 Meat’s specialty sandwiches. There’s the 640 Sub, which comes with turkey, ham, roast beef, brick and Colby cheeses, lettuce, tomato and mayo, or the Italian sub, with salami, ham, bologna, provolone cheese, green peppers, onions, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing.
640 Meats also has boxed lunches available. Each comes with a sandwich on a Kaiser roll or a sub bun plus a bag of chips, a cookie or brownie and soda pop or water.
“Corporations or businesses often pre-order the boxes for their lunches,” Lentz says. “And some people come in here just to grab a sandwich, chips and a drink on the go.”
Inside the building are displays of fresh-cut meat behind windows. There’s also a cooler with a sliding door that displays side dishes. In the center of the building is a place to purchase chips, spices and other condiments. There’s a small dining area with three tables and three booths.
Catered food is also part of the mix at 640 Meats. Trays of Italian beef, BBQ pork or beef, homemade lasagna, baked chicken breast and much more make it easy to throw a party with delicious main dishes, as well as sides and desserts.
Lentz purchased the business from John Gritzmacher, who retired in December 2008.
“I learned everything I know from John,” Lentz says.
Gritzmacher opened the business as 320 Meats in Rockford in 1975, as a meat market behind a deli. “In 1995, he moved out here to Loves Park with both a meat market and a deli. When he came out here, he doubled the numbers in the name.”
What distinguishes this place from other deli spots in town, says Lentz, is the quality of beef and the service.
“I age all of my beef over 21 days before I cut it,” he says. “As it ages, the muscle fibers break down to make it tender. We can cut anything and make it any size you want.”
And although Lentz has seven employees, he is always on the front lines. He cuts the meat, answers the phone and serves the customers just as he would if he was a regular employee.
“You have to be here and I’m always here,” Lentz says. The customers want to talk to me and they want me to wait on them. You have to put in the time if you want to do this.”
Pete said he is always looking to grow his menu, as a way to keep people coming back. Among other things, there are now turkey and lamb burgers available along with pre-marinated chicken breasts.
“We just want to expand the menu,” he says.
640 Meats is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Visit 640meats.com or call 815-633-9443 for more information.
640 Meats can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.