The Food Biz: Cutting edge

Chefs launch artisan butcher shop on city's east side

Nashville finally has a standalone, full-service butcher shop again, and it’s called Porter Road Butcher (even though it’s actually located on Gallatin Road).

The owners are chefs James Peisker and Chris Carter, who met while working under Tyler Brown at the Capitol Grille. When the two friends started dreaming up a concept for their own place, they were captivated by one of the hip, buzzy concepts of the sustainable food movement: artisan butchery.

It’s really not a new concept, though. It dates back to the agricultural past: The butcher carves and creates using the whole animal carcass, producing not just steaks and chops but also sausage, soup stocks and all the various delicacies that the whole animal yields.

Because all the parts are used, there’s much less waste, and the customer gets access to a wider variety than the typical shrink-wrapped cuts at the supermarket.

“We like to have somebody come in, not sure what to have for dinner, and we guide you through making a meal — so you’re not just having a ribeye every night,” Peisker said. “If you decide you want to make soup, we’ll give you the majority of the ingredients, the vegetables, the stock, to cook at home so you can eat healthier.”

And that’s part of the twist. Porter Road Butcher sells more than just its array of meats (pork, beef and chicken). Starting this week, they’ll begin offering veggies, too, local produce from Delvin Farms, along with Willow Farms eggs from Summertown, Tenn., Hatcher Family Dairy products from Williamson County and bread from Nashville’s own Provence bakery.

And then there’s the cheese. Artisan cheese expert Kathleen Cotter now operates her cheese shop, The Bloomy Rind, out of Porter Road Butcher. She plans to have 25 to 30 different cheeses on hand every day. Peisker said last week the chefs cooked up a killer broccoli-cheese soup using fresh broccoli, Cotter’s selection of Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheddar from Kentucky and Hatcher milk from Williamson County.

For now, Porter Road Butcher has limited hours, operating 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The full launch takes place Tuesday, Dec. 13, after which they’ll be open on weekends, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.

Porter Road Butcher is located at 501 Gallatin Road; the phone number is 650-4440. Watch for updates at Porter Road Butcher on Facebook or at


A while back I told you about Kay Bob’s, the brainchild of Amir Arab, who along with his brother Ali, owns the Pizza Perfect locations in Hillsboro Village and Bellevue. After a few weeks of operating quietly, Kay Bob’s staged its grand opening last week.

Kay Bob’s, which is just across the breezeway from sister restaurant Pizza Perfect in Hillsboro Village, is described as “kebabs with a Southern twist.” That reflects Amir Arab’s blended culinary viewpoint: A native of Iran, he’s lived in Middle Tennessee since the ’70s.

Kay Bob’s plays up the healthy aspect of Middle Eastern cuisine, with fresh vegetables and meats grilled simply on a skewer, served on flatbread that’s baked in house, with your choice of signature sauces. Ingredients are minimally processed and locally sourced whenever possible.

There’s plenty of grilled meat on the menu: a hamburger made with local beef, marinated chicken breast and steak, a hearty kielbasa. But one breakout star is a vegetarian sandwich, the Dancin’ Desiree, with black beans, goat cheese, roasted red pepper, caramelized onions and butternut squash puree, folded into flatbread and toasted.

Kay Bob’s, 1602 21st Ave. S., is co-owned and managed by Pizza Perfect veteran Andrew Tarpley. Like Pizza Perfect, it serves beer and soft drinks. The phone number is 321-4567. Check out the Kay Bob’s Facebook page to see a menu and updates.


Chef Hal Holden-Bache, who has presided over the kitchen at Eastland Cafe (Willy Thomas’ fine-dining spot in East Nashville) since it opened in 2006, recently left Eastland and plans to launch his own restaurant early next spring.

I had trouble catching up with Chef Hal by press time, but we hear it’s going into the current location of Studio East Nashville, an art gallery at 1520 Woodland St. The gallery owners say they plan to close their business in early 2012, and Holden-Bache will take over the space to create Lockeland Table, “a community kitchen and bar.”

The name would be a nod to the neighborhood, historic Lockeland Springs.