Business Food Reader Contributed

West Hartford Native Premieres 'Lifestyle' Menu at Local Food Store

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Matt Tofil, who grew up in West Hartford, has developed a ‘Lifestyle Unit’ for Avon Prime Meats that includes a a wide variety of Paleo, gluten-free, and other specialized menu options.

Matt Tofil of West Hartford has developed a new Lifestyle Unit for Avon Prime Meats. Submitted photo

Matt Tofil, who grew up in West Hartford and now lives in Granby, has developed a new Lifestyle Unit for Avon Prime Meats. Submitted photo

Submitted

Those who follow a special diet such as gluten-free, Paleo-friendly or vegan can find a ready-to-go meal in the newly expanded prepared foods section at Avon Prime Meats.

Led by West Hartford native Matt Tofil, executive chef, the store has gradually grown its line of prepared foods from side dishes – made to complement the star attraction, prime meats – to entrees, soups, salads and even a BBQ Central section. Now it has added a Lifestyle Unit offering a variety of dietary options.

“We listened to our consumers’ demands,” Tofil said. “The food industry changes frequently in response to trends, and we want to be on the cutting edge at all times.”

The Paleo menu features foods such as turkey ricotta meatballs, slow-roasted wild mushrooms, a spiralized zucchini salad, and butternut squash stuffed with grass-fed beef. Vegan items include an eggplant involtini with ratatouille, lentil mushroom walnut balls, and wheat berry salad.

“Our goal is to provide convenient meals that align with the needs of each of our guests,” said marketing coordinator Rocio Olivares. “There are two important trends in the lifestyle of families nowadays – they are looking for ways to eat healthy, and to spend minimal time in the kitchen.”

Most of the prepared foods – which now include a variety of cuisines for every palate, such as Asian and Latin – are made at a kitchen in East Hartford that is also used for the store’s catering business. There are eight chefs on staff who credit management for letting them be creative.

Eggplant Involtini. Submitted photo

Eggplant Involtini. Submitted photo

“Everything is made from scratch and is restaurant-grade food,” said Tofil, a restaurant veteran who has been with the store since it opened in 2010.

Because of the growing demand for alternatives, Avon Prime Meats hired a chef who specializes in plant-based food and other innovations. Creations include cocoa chili decadence with fiery roasted sweet potatoes that is both Paleo-friendly and gluten-free, and Moroccan spiced carrot hummus with house made pita that is rolled by hand.

The chefs have also introduced bone broth and super green protein smoothies, organic salads, bowls made of grains or noodles, and lifestyle soups such as butternut, sweet potato and lentil stew for vegans and a grass-fed beef and winter vegetable soup that is Paleo-friendly.

In addition to refrigerated coolers filled with prepared foods that are ready to heat and eat, the store has a hot food section and a deli department that carries Boars Head meats and cheese. Sandwiches are made to order, and best sellers are Buffalo Chicken BLT, Country Club of Avon, The Godfather and their Signature Steak & Cheese.

Avon Prime Meats is a proud sponsor of the community, supporting numerous charities and benefits, including Dog Star Rescue. Patrons who donate to that cause from Feb. 22-26 during the store’s “Dog Days of Winter” will receive a free bone to bring home for their dog.

Food tastings are often hosted at the store, located at 395 West Main St. (Route 44), Avon. Call 860-676-4444 or visit www.avonprimemeats.com for more information, including recipes.

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