Schenectady will soon offer culinary delights to those who yearn for fresh poultry.
By the end of the summer, Terry Jagiah hopes to open the city’s only live butcher shop at 714 Broadway, on the edge of I-890.
Customers will be able to pick out live chickens and ducks, which will be slaughtered immediately.
Guyanese immigrants say they have eagerly awaited the business, ever since the City Council banned the practice of slaughtering dinner in residential backyards.
The Guyanese said the meat tastes better if it can be cooked within moments of being killed, but the City Council said the slaughter could be a health hazard in the densely packed city.
Immigrants had hoped the slaughterhouse would open last year, but Jagiah decided he first needed to build an addition.
He’s doing much of the construction work himself, but according to city rules, he couldn’t get started until he hired a licensed plumber and electrician. He’s just finished that now.
“I’m eager to get up there and start work,” he said. “It’s hot. I love it.”
He spent the down time working his way through the paperwork for a special state Agriculture and Markets permit that allows butchering inside city limits.
That process went well, city officials said.
“He’s had no problems meeting those requirements,” city Housing Rehabilitation Supervisor Steve Jacobson said.
Jagiah said he’s now predicting a late-summer opening.
“A month and a half. Two months, that’s the latest,” he said.
While plucking feathers from a still-warm chicken may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Jagiah considers freshly killed poultry to be as desirable as newly harvested crops.
“It tastes better. Like when you taste fruits from the trees, it tastes better,” he said, adding that he would never touch meat that has been sitting on a refrigerated grocery shelf.
Jagiah has been running a similar butcher shop in Florida, which he opened after immigrating from Guyana.
Friends persuaded him to move to Schenectady after the city banned backyard butchering.
His store was proposed as a compromise: Mayor Brian U. Stratton wouldn’t budge on private butchering, citing the health risks, but he agreed to support an industrial facility that could be regularly inspected by health officials.
The store will be named Triple S, in honor of Jagiah’s three children.
While it will offer poultry, no other animals can be offered — livestock is prohibited under the city’s health rules, Jacobson said.