Bratwurst Paradise in Pemberville


PEMBERVILLE – Step aside Jimmy Buffett, it’s time for bratwurst in paradise.

Frobose Meat Locker in Pemberville offers more than 130 bratwurst varieties, from BLT and Bloody Mary to Sriracha Cheddar and Tequila Lime.

T-shirts for sale tout the store as Bratwurst Paradise.

Ben Frobose said his favorite is the Bake Potato bratwurst.

It has sour cream, chives, onions, cheese, bacon, potatoes and is made with pork, he said.

“When we collaborate to come up with a new recipe, we usually start with the name first and they (decide) what they want to put in it,” said Frobose, who considers himself the chief operating officer at the business.

“We make over 200 handmade items,” he said. “It sets us apart from everyone else. It’s something you can’t get anywhere else.”

What the meat locker does is so labor intensive, other places can’t or won’t commit the time necessary to do the same thing, Frobose said.

“And that’s what makes our product so good, because they’re made and not manufactured,” he said.

Frobose has 15 employees on staff, not counting family members.

His parents, Bob and Elaine Frobose, have owned the meat locker since 1999. The second generation, which includes Ben, Jacob, Zach and Abby, have all worked at the business in one way or another.

All six are very active in the business, Ben Frobose said. They all wait on customers, make decisions together and even clean the toilets.

The current location at 215 E. Front St. has been an active meat market since 1872.

The business is called ameat locker because of the individual lockers in the walk-in freezer that are available to rent. The lockers were added in 1947, when refrigeration wasn’t the norm in households.

Each will hold approximately a quarter of beef.

“It’s like a safety deposit box for your food,” Frobose said.

The lockers have a number and an original key, and the business keeps names, along with the keys, on file.

The family also owns and operates the IGA in the village, as well as the carryout.

The same meat is offered at the same price at both the meat locker and IGA, but the two places offer different specials, Frobose said.

He guessed there were nine family members among the 45 employees at all three businesses.

Frobose has three children who attend Eastwood Elementary, and his siblings have young kids as well.

“It that’s what they chose to do, that would be great,” he said about them joining the family business. “We were never pushed to do this type of thing, it’s just something we all enjoy and we all love. It’s just our lifestyle.”

Frozen and fresh ground beef, sliced country ribs and pork chops, steaks, sausages and smoked kielbasa are also available. There are also meat snack sticks in a variety of flavors, including pizzeria, garlic and cheese, and sweet barbecue.

There are perhaps 15 snack sticks available every day.

The Frobose family raises its own beef and pork just outside of town and sends it to Ashland to be processed.

Frobose said the most popular items are the bratwurst and ground beef.

“We sell everything all the time,” he said.

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