HOWARD LAKE, MN Newlyweds Kyle and Karmen Kovack have big goals for the historic Grandpa Ittel’s Meats, in Howard Lake, which they purchased in March.
The pair married last July, moved from a North Dakota cattle ranch to Hutchinson, and searched for a meat market to buy.
Although Kyle grew up in Colorado, he was smitten with Minnesota. “It’s beautiful here,” he said, “and people are very nice.” He grew accustomed to the Colorado mountains, and now prefers Minnesota.
Howard Lake proved to be the perfect spot for the couple’s new business venture.
“This town has been nothing but wonderful,” Kyle said. “And, we’re right on Highway 12. How can you beat that?”
While the secret recipes from the former owners will still be made, Kyle indicated he will bring in some concoctions of his own.
He’s a stickler for quality, pointing out he intends to use only the freshest meat, and only Angus beef.
“Grandpa Ittel’s Meats is going to be old-style, but more artisan,” Kyle said. “We’re bringing back custom process, and we’re aging meat the way it’s supposed to be done.”
Kyle said his shop offers full-service wild game processing year-round.
Some of the shop’s savory selections include all-beef summer sausage, Italian and Polish sausage, porketta, beef jerky, home-cured hams, cottage and Canadian-style bacon, and Swedish potato sausage.
Long-time customer Toni Mills, of Maple Lake, said her family has purchased summer sausage to take on their vacations from all over the place. “But Ittel’s is the best,” she said.
Ittel’s currently provides meat for the Waverly Cafe, and six grocery stores.
Kyle, who remarked he’s “only working about 60 hours a week,” also has remodeling plans in mind.
Interior and exterior signage will be changing in the near future, and the outside awning will be coming down.
A grand opening will take place sometime in May.
The new owner was hard-pressed to hone in on just one favorite product.
“I guess I’d pick the country sausage and the beef jerky,” he said. “They remind me of home, and they’re just so good!”
Grandpa Ittel’s Meats is located at 704 6th Street in Howard Lake.
The shop hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The business is closed on Mondays.