At Golick's Meat Market in Davenport, owner Mike Richards is part salesman and part chef.
After 27 years in business on High Street near Genesis East, he sells the sizzle along with the steak.
But as beef prices continue to climb, it's starting to squeeze the landmark business.
"It's still going to go up," Mike said. "It's just scary."
Beef prices are at their highest in nearly 30 years. A pound of ground beef recently hit a record high of $3.55 per pound. The average price for round steak is $5.28.
"You've got to eat," said customer Arnie Niswander. "You've got to put gas in your car. What do you do?"
Mike hasn't raised grill prices in three years. He's stepped up the catering part of his business to make up the difference.
"You have to buy in smaller quantities," he said. "You can't stock ahead as much as much as you used to do. But you have to watch the prices every week because they're always changing."
It's almost a perfect storm for beef prices. Fewer farmers are raising cattle. There's more Asian demand for U.S. beef. Drought is depleting the supply.
"We have noticed a big change," said customer Terri Lorentzen. "But we started buying bulk."
Since Mike must pay more for his beef, prices are higher inside the store. Customers must make some tough choices.
Beef isn't alone. Pork and chicken prices are also climbing.
"You've got only so much to spend to get you through a month," said customer Deb Matthiae. "It's really hard."
Small businesses like Golick's want to stay competitive and keep costs low. That's tough when beef prices are reaching for the records.
This century-old storefront survived previous challenges. It will adapt to survive and thrive.
"They're looking for any way they can to save a little money," Mike concluded.
A beef over high prices that's challenging the Golick's grillmaster.