Armando & Sons is the product of good timing and the right team. A butcher shop/test kitchen/burger and more bar located in Rancharrah Village, it’s also the legacy of the Flocchini family’s patriarch, Armando Flocchini. The family has owned Sierra Meat and Seafood, Flocchini Family Provisions and Durham Ranch in Wyoming.
Joanne Flocchini, who married into the family by way of Armando’s grandson, Chris, said despite the many family ventures, Armando & Sons is the first business venture the couple has taken on together, and they aren’t going it alone. Joanne and Chris also brought on Eric and Danielle Halstead, who once owned Village Meats in Incline Village, and Chef Aaron, another Incline Village transplant. The result is a family butcher shop with a lot of creativity.
The group also has the Flocchini family’s other businesses behind them, which is where much of the meat is sourced, and they partner with other ranches to bring in items they don’t have readily available. The goal, according to Joanne, is to only work with businesses that champion the same ethical and holistic practices they do.
The menu itself is inspired. Made up mostly of burgers and sausage—foods that can be created with butcher shop leftovers—Chef Aaron isn’t afraid to mix it up. His favorite items on the menu are typically the most intricate, and they are also extremely accessible.
The Con Brio, which means “with vigor” in Italian and stands as the butcher shop’s slogan, is a mash-up of Italian seasoning and bourbon bacon jam, served with provolone and parmesan cheese, before it’s finished with baby lettuce and vine-ripened tomatoes. The Calabrian spread, served on the side, offers a bit of a kick (and is a good place to dip your French fries, too). The burger itself can be served with bison, house-ground, beef, elk or whatever other protein is available at the shop that day, and it comes on your choice of brioche bun, pretzel roll or protein-style without.
The menu is seasonal, or rather changed on Chef Aaron’s whim, but that’s only because he’s taking the time to listen to customer feedback and tweak it as he sees fit. Because the hot food is also a way to limit waste at the butcher shop, new menu items and chef’s specials are also added to use up what would otherwise go to waste.
While the Con Brio is something special, flavorful and complex, there are also classic options on the menu including a barbecue burger that takes the original concept up a notch and a burger literally dubbed “classic” with house seasoning, cheese, baby lettuce, vine ripe tomatoes, red onion and a side of burger spread.
Even the traditional menu items are given the Chef Aaron treatment, as Joanne boasts he makes everything from scratch—his seasoning blends, sauces and other fixings.
The French fries are also a can’t miss. I often skip the fries when diving into a hearty burger, but here, it simply isn’t an option. I don’t know how Chef Aaron gets these potatoes perfectly crispy on the outside while remaining soft and warm on the inside, but he does a spectacular job. And even the French fries come in a variety of flavors—sea salt and cracked pepper, sweet barbecue and Cajun lightning.
The sausages are the menu’s other main draw, perfected with Chef Aaron’s one-of-a-kind recipe. The jalapeño cheddar elk sausage is a current crowd pleaser, stuffed with white cheddar, sauteed arugula, grilled sweet peppers and onions and bulldog chimichurri on a pretzel roll.
The business was smart, including both a walk-up window for orders and a pass-thru window that hands off to Village Well (which doesn’t have a kitchen of its own).
While the ready-to-eat menu is a showstopper, it’s just one component of the business. Eric’s specialties are used in prepared meats and seafood to take home including cuts of fresh salmon and ready-to-bake chicken cordon bleu. There’s also a dry age meat case that operates something like a whiskey locker: enthusiasts buy a hunk of meat, Armando’s dry ages them in a glass display case at the shop and guests come in for cuts anytime they like over the 45-day period.
While it sounds like a lot, there’s more to come. Joanne said plans to host dinners, use the space as a test kitchen for Sierra Meats and teach wine pairings are all in the works.