For those of you who are too timid to cross the river, there is yet another reason to do so – Porter Road Butcher. These guys are serious about their meat and are carvin’ up some of the best in town. Head on over, but when you do, don’t make the mistake I did by assuming Porter Road Butcher is located on Porter Road. It’s not. After a scenic tour of Porter Road (up and back), I spied their quaint butcher shop on Gallatin Road, right across from East Literature Magnet School.
First question: Why not Gallatin Road Butcher? Well, it seems the dynamic duo of James Peisker and Chris Carter (formerly of the Capitol Grille) started their business selling meat at local markets. At that time, Chris Carter lived on Porter Road, hence the name, and the name just stuck when they opened their shop on Gallatin. If Broadway can become West End, then Harding Road, I think it’s perfectly logical for Porter Road Butcher to be located on Gallatin Road, don’t you?
You can’t dispute that Gallatin Road gives Porter Road a sense of importance, as it is surrouded by some of loveliest, old buildings.
James and Chris are passionate about bringing the best quality local meats to Nashville; it’s evident the minute you walk through their doors. When they found it difficult to find truly fresh meat, even from their favorite farms, they knew they had found a niche that needed to be filled.
They began to travel around the state, inspecting each farm and the livestock they produced. It was important for Chris and James to see the pastures and inspect how the animals were treated. Only after a laborious process would they decide to do business with a supplier. If you like knowing exactly where the meat you are eating comes from, then you’ll respect the ethics and values of Porter Road Butcher.
Their daily blackboard lists all the farms they do business with and what they buy from each. Some items like chicken and hamburger are loss leaders for Porter Road. But they know it’s important to include “every day” options in their mix, along with all the wonderful specialty items they’ve built their reputation on.
Also at the counter, you’ll find a ton of handmade items like sausages and pâtés. Even the sausages they make have fresh ingredients like sage, ginger, garlic and special spices.
While I was there, James was carving up a fresh side of beef. He and his associate methodically trimmed and cut away, creating steaks, roasts and trimmings to be used in other products.
A pleasant surprise was finding Kathleen of the Bloomy Rind in the same building. The same passion that Mark and Chris bring to meat, she brings to her selection of cheeses. You won’t be overwhelmed by her selections (a good thing) and will find her eager to let you sample anything you want. Kathleen also sells a number of other products in her space. One that caught my attention was her selection of jams and jellies. Be sure to check out the Bathtub Gin jams. She is always on the lookout for local products to include in her inventory.
As I ended my visit at Porter Road, I asked James this question, “Why not locate in West Nashville, it’s pretty obvious a business like yours would go gangbusters?” His reply told me so much about who he is. “I’m here because this is my neighborhood. We don’t have a Whole Foods or Fresh Market. In fact, it’s even hard to get high-quality foods in East Nashville. I just want to give back.”
As I walked out the door with all sorts of goodies in hand, I thought to myself how much I love seeing that kind of commitment to a community. Like the special spices that make Porter Road sausages unique, James and Chris – and many others like them – are the seasoning that give this town its remarkable flavor.
I know I’ll be heading back soon!
Learn more about Porter Road Butcher by clicking on their website: www.prbutcher.com