Seth and Ronnie Veron make the shop's homemade sausage. Photo by Susan McFarland
Heading east on FM 1960, after crossing West Lake Houston Parkway, the chain restaurants and stores eventually begin to fade away, and small businesses return to the side of the road. One such shop, Veron’s Cajun Meat Market, has been in business since 1995. The shop is not chock full of meat, but rather of homemade sausages, soups and stuffed chickens.
Owner and operator Ronnie Veron moved to the area in 1990 and opened up his first shop in Kingwood. In 1995, he relocated to the Pinehurst Shopping Center where he has been ever since. Veron attributes his longevity to product quality. “If you sell good, quality food, people will come back for more,” said Veron. “It’s got to be good. If you don’t have good food, you don’t have a business.”
The meat sold in the shop comes primarily from the Midwest – Kansas, Missouri and Iowa – according to Veron. Though he is quick to point out that the selction is not limited. “We have more than just steak and ground beef,” said Veron. “We sell my famous, fresh, pork sausage stuffed pork chop. These pork chops moved me from Louisiana to Texas. People would drive to Louisiana with empty ice chests and buy these things by the chestfull to bring them back to Houston. They said, ‘Why don’t you come and open up in Houston so we don’t have to drive to Louisiana to get these.’ And so I did.”
The shop also does a brisk trade in the fresh, smoked, boudin and countrystyle homemade sausages made on site in small, 30-pound batches a few times a week.
“My Italian sausage is just pork meat, fennel seed, my spice mix, romano cheese, salt and pepper,” said Veron. We make it all by hand. We mix it and stuff it using a hand crank stuffer. You can see the chunks of meat. We also have boneless stuffed chickens with various types of stuffing, chicken meatloaf, crawfish pie, chicken sausage, gumbo and we sell items from Louisiana that you can’t always get over here.”
Veron works in the shop with a small crew, including his wife of 36 years, Eva, and his son, Seth. “I had a major heart attack in the store about eight years ago,” Veron said. “They found me dead on the ground and the doctor down the sidewalk came and beat on me and got me going and I was OK. Then I had another mild heart attack three years ago, that’s when Seth came back to work with me.
Veron was born in Lake Charles and raised in Lafayette. “I started working at my dad’s meat market when I was about 7. I had to stand on a crate to reach the register,” said Veron. “My dad started the business in Smokebend, Louisiana, in the early 1930s. They would take the mule and wagon out into the country and buy hogs from farmers. They would slaughter the hog in the backyard and make all the boudin and other sausages and pack the meat in a big galvanized washtub, put it in the back of the wagon, put ice around it and throw a tarp on top. They would go back out to the countryside and ring their bell and that was a sign for the women to come out and buy their meat back, like a big old fivepound pork roast for a nickel. They eventually got so busy they had to build a little stand on the side of the road.” Veron’s Cajun Meat Market is located at 8059 FM 1960 in Atascocita and is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Veron’s takes orders for special cuts of meats for holidays and other events and offers fried turkeys for Thanksgiving.