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Shop Talk: Thurn’s Specialty Meats Serving Columbus for Over 120 Years

Randi Walle Randi Walle Shop Talk: Thurn’s Specialty Meats Serving Columbus for Over 120 YearsAll photos by Randi Walle
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Thurn’s Specialty Meats has been a staple in the Columbus area for over 120 years. Thurn’s has been a family-run business since its founding, and is currently in the hands of the founder’s great-grandson, Albert. Located at 530 Greenlawn Ave., the market offers a variety of wursts, sliced meats, smoked meats, and fresh pork items.

Thurn’s traces its history back to Alois Thurn who immigrated from Germany in the 1870s, and began working in a tannery, although he was trained as a wurstmacher (sausage maker). He realized there was a large population of German immigrants and nowhere to buy the meats to which they were accustomed, so in 1886 he began to produce meat in his home and sell it out of his back door.

Realizing how popular his products were, Thurn packed his meats in a picnic basket and would sell door-to-door. Many of the pubs in what we now call the Arena District would carry his meats to offer to customers at lunch. The business continued to grow and in 1892, Alois purchased the land where the shop now sits.

In addition to their own shop, Thurn’s sold their products at the Central Market, a Columbus market that operated from the second half of the 19th century into the first half of the 20th century and was housed on the land now occupied by the Greyhound Bus station. Thurn’s current owner, Albert, remembers  slicing meats at the market at the age of 8, having to stand on a stool to reach the slicer. Today, the shop is filled with Thurn family members working to keep Alois’ dream alive.

Thurn’s has seen a change in their customers over the decades. Originally the shop was utilized mostly by older German immigrants. Today, the shop is now frequented by customers from German Village, Merion Village and Clintonville. Because of their large and unique selection of meat products, Thurn’s is frequented by foodies looking for a distinct meat experience. While bacon is their overall biggest seller, their smoked hams rival in popularity during the holiday season.

Thurn’s also offers several types of bratwursts like Cincinnati style, garlic, sweet Italian, smoked teriyaki and more. They carry summer sausages, as well as andouille, breakfast links, braunschweiger and smoked Polish sausages, among others. In addition to basic sliced meats like ham and turkey, Thurn’s has a wide selection of more unique options including tongue, head cheese, souse, and veal loaf. Bacon varieties abound, along with smoked hams, pork loin, and ribs.

Smoked fish and snack sticks can also be found on Thurn’s shelves, along with non-meat products like cheese, maple syrup and honey form hives on their land. In addition to their own prepared meats, the shop is able to process meat for customers, with the most unique type Albert has seen being Mountain Lion. During hunting season, they are a go-to for venison processing.

Thurn’s is open Thursday & Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

For more information, visit thurnsmeats.com.

All photos by Randi Walle

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