Gaff’s Quality Meat and Specialty Foods opened to the DeLand community March 26 in the former Pompano Pat’s Motorcycles at 2075 S. Woodland Blvd.
This family-owned and -operated store offering specialty meat and other foods was founded by grandfather Andrew Gaffka in Detroit in 1947. After tiring of dealing with Michigan’s frigid cold, Gaffka moved his business to Florida.
Gaff’s has been thriving for years at its Port Orange location off Clyde Morris Boulevard, and the family decided to expand to DeLand.
After a complete remodeling, it’s hard to believe the DeLand Gaff’s building could have ever been a motorcycle shop. A large burgundy-and-white pillar sign sits out front, and freshly manicured shrubbery leads up to the automatic entry doors.
Once inside, you see a variety of beers, wines and frozen specialty foods, including Blue Bell ice cream, in the corner to the left.
I was greeted by Brian Gaffka, the head butcher. We took a tour through each department, as he described each station in detail and told me who was responsible for running it.
“We pride our business on being the lowest [cost], no-nonsense, fair-priced workingman’s butcher shop, with the friendliest and most knowledgeable customer service around,” Brian said.
We made our way down the left side of the store, along a mural depicting the sea and its inhabitants, to the seafood department run by Craig Gaffka.
Here we found a selection of specialty seafood, including king crab leg clusters, Nova Scotian salmon, sushi-grade ahi tuna, and more — all visible in a temperature-controlled display case with easy-to-read prices in front of the products.
Wearing a hairnet, an apron and gloves, Craig was finishing up a fresh batch of homemade crabcakes. He immediately offered to fry one up for me to try.
He put it in a bun with some tartar sauce. I took a bite, and was impressed with the crispiness and flavors.
“Almost everything we sell here is homemade from our own recipes,” Brian said.
Craig also offered samples of his freshly sliced ahi tuna and a fresh-out-of-the-fryer conch fritter.
Next, we moved on to the main steak display case, which holds every type of steak imaginable, all butchered in-house and all USDA Choice. Brian explained how his prices and quality rival any other store.
“All our meats are fresh and cut in-house,” he said.
One group of specialty foods that caught my eye, resting between two different cuts of steak, were the cheddar and blue-cheese Wellingtons — puff pastries stuffed with cheese and ready to put into the oven, with meat added by the customer, if desired.
The next case held specialty meats, such as barbecued chicken, pork tenderloin, scallops, shrimp, fillet, and even veggie kebabs — all wrapped with bacon.
I was tempted by broccoli-and-cheese-stuffed chicken breast, bacon-and-cheddar-stuffed chicken breast, cranberry-apple-stuffed pork chops, and many other specialty creations.
“Our most popular item so far is our house-stuffed chop, packed full of croutons, peppers, onions and breakfast sausage,” Brian said.
We landed at the Boar’s Head Deli, where a Gaff’s employee slices your favorite sandwich meats and cheeses, and tempts you with fresh muffins, including a pistachio muffin I’m coming back to try.
Gaff’s offers three different freezer packages with different meat combinations meant to feed families and offer a variety for the lowest price possible. That should keep dinners on the table for weeks.
In the middle of the store, Gaff’s offers fresh produce and ready-for-the-oven dishes such as meatloaf and baked ziti. This department is overseen by Brian’s wife, Shiloh.
Eventually, Gaff’s plans to add sub sandwiches and burgers.
Gaff’s really is a specialty market worth checking out.