It all started when…
In 2010 James Peisker moved to Music City, Tennessee to cook in one of Nashville’s favorite downtown kitchens, where he met his soon-to-be business partner Chris Carter. After a short period of time spent together in the kitchen, Chris and James decided to jump ship and start their own business as caterers, forming Local Eateries, LLC.
Flash forward to 2011. Chris and James are killin the Nashville catering scene, but quite quickly they realize that although Nashville can provide a multitude of quality local fare like produce and dairy, there’s one arena in which Music City lacks: good, local meat.
It was after an evening spent sipping on whiskey and ruminating over Nashville’s need for good local meat, that Chris and James made the decision to open our city’s first ever whole animal butchery in East Nashville. That was in 2011. Since then, the PRB Boys have opened up a second shop in west Nashville, and continually look for ways to expand their business further.
James Peisker initially embarked on his culinary career when he was just 14 years old, working as a busboy in the diner that sat just across the street from his St. Louis home. After working his way up to a server, James was eager to continue his culinary education, so after graduating from high school, he spent time working in the kitchen at The Gatesway Home where the chefs taught him the foundations of his culinary knowledge. He competed with the American Culinary Federation State Junior Team during the short time he spent at Forest Park Community College, an experience which eventually inspired him to attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Immediately after graduating, he spent two weeks studying at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine in China, and soon made his way back to St. Louis where he took charge of the city’s culinary scene.
James became the roundsman at Old Warson Country Club and later became the sous chef at Niche, where he took charge of the restaurant’s whole animal butchering and really found a passion for the craft. He ultimately did a stage at The Butcher and Larder in Chicago and now teaches our Porter Road Butchers everything he knows.
On the off chance that James isn’t working at the butcher shop, he can be found reading informational books about food, drinking plenty of whiskey, cooking elaborate meals for his wife, or pretending he is a teapot.
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Chris Carter, a Nashville native who was born and raised in Hendersonville, made his entrée into the restaurant industry when he was in high school working as a busboy. After graduating from Hendersonville High, he attended the University of Memphis where he graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management. Throughout his time in college Chris did promotions for a local radio station and additionally worked in restaurants both as a bartender and a server before leaving Memphis in pursuit of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona.
While studying the culinary arts, Chris elected to continue his undergraduate education, majoring in Culinary Management. During school he took his first kitchen job as the sous chef at Dragon Fly Café, but switched gears a year and a half later, working in both Atlas Bistro and Twisted Rose Winery and Eatery, further opening his eyes to the culinary arts.
It was after culinary school however, working at Flemings Steakhouse, where Chris really mastered the art of grilling meats and came to understand and appreciate high quality meat. In 2009 he moved back to Nashville and took a job at the Capital Grille where he met James and jump-started their business partnership.
While not driving all over the region to pick up animals or serving our customers in the shop, Chris enjoys going to a good concert, drinking a few cold beers while fishing, roaming the aisles of Bass Pro Shop out at Opry Mills and occasionally finds his center in a sweaty hot yoga class—you ought to see this guy’s headstand.
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Title: General Manager (East)
Hailing from Lafayette, Indiana, Tim George has a first-name, last-name. He got his first meaty job in Bloomington, IN as a grocery store meat clerk and his hunger for meat hasn’t wavered since. Although he wasn’t practicing whole animal butchery initially, he found that he liked cutting meat and continued to do so when he moved to Nashville in 2011 in pursuit of a music career—call him “The Singing Butcher.” It was then that he began working as a meat-cutter at Nashville’s Turnip Truck. He soon decided to take butchering to a higher level and moved to Porter Road. You might have guessed that this Stetson-clad stud is a part of Music City’s music scene, but little did you know your bespectacled butcher also stores a lot of knowledge up in that noggin: Tim enjoys filling his brain with the literary genius of Hemingway and Paulson, as well as non-fiction reads. No wonder he’s been wearing those intellectualizing Ray Bans for 6 years now…
Title: Sausage Maker (East)
Stuart is a native Nashvillian who was born and raised in our beautiful, Batman-building-clad city. A very lucky fellow, his position at Porter Road more or less fell into his lap when he took a friend’s position as our dishwasher back in early 2013. Although dishwashing was exhilarating and fulfilling work for Stuart, he has since moved on to greener pastures and now lays claim to the title of Sausage Maker at our east Nashville location. Eyes gleaning through his trendy blue spectacles he states, “I pretty much make anything we sell that comes in a tube.” While not grinding, stuffing, and twisting meat into casings, Stuart enjoys drawing detailed portraits, playing video games (nerd alert) and drinking either Bud Heavy or cheap bourbon. Deeeelicious.
Title: General Manager (West)
Alex and James go way back; they worked together at a fancy pants St. Louis country club back in 2006, and their bond of friendship held strong for years following. It was there at Old Warson Country Club that Alex discovered his love for cooking and used said experience as a launching pad for advancing and perfecting his kitchen skills. He made his way to Nashville in the summer of 2013 by way of Boulder, Colorado after landing the General Manager position at Porter Road’s brand-spankin’ new Charlotte Ave location. In the shop, Alex serves as a Renaissance Man: he helps with catering, prepares stock, grinds and stuffs sausages, educates and serves customers, and of course cuts plenty of meat. When he’s not wearing a gazillion hats at the shop, (although in reality, he only ever wears his St. Louis Cardinals hat) he enjoys cooking for his girlfriend Megan, playing with his cat Ruby, or drinking sour beer that’s aged in wine barrels—he says they’re better than they sound. Jury’s still out on that one.
Nickname: Nora Jones’ Diary
Title: Pastry Chef
Nora is our pastry chef, aka the Porter Road Baker. She was PRB west’s first in-store, full-time female on staff, and she lays claim to the west side shop from 6 AM to about 4 PM, five days a week. She’ll be the neon orange flat bill beaming out of our drive-thru window at 7 in the morn’ ready to cure whatever it is that ails you with a hot bacon-stuffed biscuit or homemade pop-tart. Although she comes from the Northeastern parts of the States, ranging from DC all the way up to Maine, this girl knows how to make a southern biscuit. And then some. Nora was never professionally schooled in the art of pastry-making, but she learned her trade through working and assisting in a variety of restaurants and groceries, and upon moving to Nashville in late 2012 took a job as a pastry chef at the Turnip Truck. Feeling ready for a change of pace after spending almost a year there, she left the TT in September and came to join the men of PRB. We’re just happy we have a little estrogen in the joint.
Title: Butcher and Smokemaster (East)
Coming from a slightly more northern South, Russo is Kentucky boy at heart, calling Louisville his home; that’s pronounced, /’lou-vuhl/. He went to culinary school at CIA up in Hyde Park, New York, and then spent time cooking at a restaurant up in the Adirondaks. In 2010 he decided it was time to return south, electing to make Nashville his new home, and arriving just in time for The Flood. Talk about excellent timing. Since moving to Nashville Russo has spent time as both a line cook and a Chef d’ Cuisine at Merchant’s, honing his skills and making a name for himself in the Nashville food arena. In 2012 he left Merchant’s in order to take a little time off, and in 2013 found his way to Porter Road where he learned the trade of whole-animal butchering. While not butchering and smoking meats (his real passion is barbecuing) Russo loves the peace of fishing on the lake while drinking a few cold Lagunitas.
Nickname: Madame Louise
Title: Social Media n’ Marketing Gal
A Nashvillian born and bred, Maddie first entered the restaurant biz as an intern for local Nashville bakery Dulce Desserts when she was just 17, and has continued to work in the industry ever since. Following a half-assed, four-month stint as a vegetarian and feeling culinarily liberated, her unhealthy obsession with food really began in 2011 when she went to eat drink study abroad in Barcelona. Since then, her love for food has done nothing but grow, and she occasionally writes on what is now her 3rd blog, maddielite.com. And look at that! Now she is blogging, Instagramming, Tweeting, newslettering, marketing, and just generally communicating for PRB, getting into the meat of the business. While not on her phone or laptop editing photos of pork butt and trying to make these butchers look good, Maddie teaches and practices hot yoga, spends far too much money trolling the Nashville restaurant scene, and is still trying to finish Breaking Bad. Whatever.
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Title: Butcher (West)
At the age of 18, Tucker was working in the produce department of his small-town Iowa grocery when he realized that what he enjoyed most was cutting things and helping customers. Cue the move to the meat department, where the cutting is constant and customer interaction is paramount. Not only did the cool guys work in meat, but with his excellent knife work and friendly demeanor he fit in like a glove. In May of 2013 his wife was transferred to Nashville for work so Tucker made the move too, finding a similar job at a large grocery chain. In the corporate setting he felt unhappy and uninspired, but when he heard about PRB his ears perked up. All it took was a sample of our Porteroni for his love to bloom. And the half a hog he saw hanging in the cooler? Game over. “I had never seen hanging meat before…it always came from a cardboard box.” So he quit his job and returned to PRB one week later. On his days off Tucker leads his 25-person team in World of Warcraft, but he also enjoys camping, fishing, and drinking Blue Moon: “Blue moon! With an orange!? That stuff’s delicious.”
Title: Dishwasher / Trimmer (West)
Gernaro. Pronounced /hare-NAHR-oh/. Not, however /hah-bah-NARE-oh/, like some folks seem to think. Though originally from Choloma Cortes, the third largest city in Honduras, Gernaro has been in the U.S. for over seven years now. He initially found work as an electrician and a house painter, but in 2008 landed his first restaurant job as the dishwasher at West End Ave’s beloved Rumba. For four years he worked both there and at Jackson’s and soon moved from solely dishwashing to cleaning, trimming, and dicing meat for dinner service. He came to PRB looking to work as a dishwasher, but when he began flexing his cutting and trimming muscles, he was put to work in the cutting room as well. While he’s not working either here or at Cabana, where he washes dishes four nights a week, Gernaro enjoys fishing, shopping with his wife and two children, and eating at his favorite restaurants, namely Burger King or Taco Bell. And of course amigo loves him some Patrón to wind down after a long day’s work. Chin chin!
Title: Sausage Maker (East)
John is one who is difficult to sum up into mere words. Born in Memphis but raised in Nashville, he’s a through-and-through Tennessee boy whose been working with Porter Road since the day we opened our west Nashville doors in 2013. Following a slew of jobs that included frying donuts at the crack of dawn, assisting in head hunting for a modeling agency, and working towards becoming a state corrections officer, he found himself looking for work elsewhere yet again. A family connection hooked him up with the guys at PRB and he landed a job as our resident west side dishwasher in August. Since then John has moved over to our east shop where he picks herbs, measures spices, grinds meat, and then turns it into sausages. Recently engaged, he spends his free time with his fiancé or otherwise blows off steam with the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Dark Souls for Xbox. A quarter Italian, he proudly claims 5 Points Pizza to be his favorite food, but his southern roots shine when it comes to his drinks: Budweiser and Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey.
Title: Sausage Maker (West)
In the Spring of 2014 Chad “Queso” Curtis tricycled his way to Porter Road Butcher with a goal of working in the food industry—and one day owning restaurants of his own. For 7 years prior he’d worked in management for a large healthcare corporation but finally threw in the towel in 2013, leaving his monotonous job to search for work in the industry he loves. As someone who has always enjoyed cooking and entertaining guests—his signature dish is a White Chicken Lasagna—it makes sense that Queso would work in restaurants and hospitality. “I thought about attending the Art Institute for culinary school,” he said, “but then realized I could probably learn as much, if not more, by apprenticing with chefs.” Queso is the resident sausage maker at PRB West, but while he’s not grinding, stuffing, and twisting, he rocks it on the counter, assisting customers and answering questions. In his free time this eligible bachelor (wink!) enjoys dreaming up new paté recipes, drinking way too much Fitz’s Root Beer, or tooling around town on his blue tricycle while wearing his spiky pink helmet. Oh, you keep an eye out: that’s how he arrives at work each and every day.
Nickname: Wesley Snipes
Title: Manager (West)
When the calendar struck July in 2014 Wesley Adams packed his bags and left his long-time Louisiana life for a brand new one here in Nashville. A Shreveport native, Wes worked for four years as a butcher and manager of Maxwell’s Market in his hometown, but found himself constantly hunting for a job someplace new. Two and a half years ago in 2012 he sent a job inquiry e-mail to Chris and James, which very unsurprisingly, was left unanswered (that’s a jab at Chris and James’ lackluster emailing skills; not at Wesley’s lackluster e-mail). But two years later, following an evening spent with Basil Hayden, Wesley found the confidence to reach out once again with a message entitled, “Meat Me.” That did the trick. When he came to visit in May (job research he dubbed “meatsearch”—kid really loves a meaty play-on-words) he was impressed and excited by the prospect of whole-animal butchering in our great Music City so he quit his job and made the move a month later. While not slicing and dicing, Wesley enjoys eating every hamburger he can get his hands on (he’s seeking the one in Nashville that reigns supreme), hunting deer, and mountain biking. Burgers, hunting, mountain biking and meat. Talk about a dude.
Title: Butcher (East)
Trent is a firefighter. Yeah, for real. Although he cuts meat at our East Nashville store 1-2 times a week, this Nashville native fights fires out in Hendersonville to actually pay his bills. But he hasn’t always had such a heroic full-time job. During his undergraduate education at DePaul University in Chicago, Trent thought it would be cool to earn some extra dollas learning the trade of butchering, so he did: he found a part-time job at a local market where he eventually learned how to break down whole animals. Upon returning to Nashville and beginning the seemingly endless process towards becoming a fireman, Trent stumbled upon PRB while searching the interwebs and began cutting meat for us in September of 2013. While Trent isn’t cooking his famous spaghetti and meatballs for the rest of his squad, spending the entire day drinking a massive 64 oz. cup of coffee, or breaking down cows and pigs at PRB East, he enjoys fishing, hiking, camping, and making giant batches of meatballs to indulge on all by himself. Yeah, for real. Yikes.
Title: Counter Clerk (West)
Originally hailing from Montgomery, Alabama, Christy made the move to Nashville for school and has stuck around ever since: she studied her way through undergraduate, nursing, and then graduate school at Vanderbilt, where she now works as a nurse practitioner. Even though she used to mainly work over at our East shop, Christy first got a taste of Porter Road Butcher in her Sylvan Park neighborhood and she recently switched locations, giving the East Side boys “the hand” so she could work closer to home. “I felt like I had a lot of free time only working 2-3 days a week,” she said, “so I wanted to get another job that would be fun and light hearted—something I would enjoy but didn’t have peoples’ lives on the line.” And here she is. While Christy isn’t working 16-hour shifts at the hospital, helping customers with their orders or cooking up something magical at home, she enjoys both staying in to snuggle with her dog Lila and exploring everything she can, from the Nashville Indie music scene all the way to the Baltic Sea in the Nordic lands of Europe. La ti da.
Title: Lunch Chef
Although Julia is a Nashville Native and considers herself as such, she spent several years living in both New Orleans and New York and just recently returned home in November of 2013. During her four years of undergrad at Tulane University, she spent her free time seeking out the best oysters and po’ boys in town and quickly connected her love for food with her career interest in restaurants. Shortly after graduating, she attended culinary school at CIA in Hyde Park, NY and soon thereafter landed a position at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in NYC. She aimed for culinary perfection day in and day out and eventually realized she was completely exhausted. So she moved to one of Brooklyn’s favorite spots Franny’s for a bit, found work as a private chef after that, and eventually had it with the city life and headed back south where she managed the kitchen at Pinewood Social. She’s aiming to open up a space of her own soon, so while she’s not spending her days planning, organizing, and getting her ducks in a row, Julia keeps the dollas rollin by working as our lunch chef 3 days a week. And if she’s not engrossed in something foodie? You can find her pedaling through the park on her bike, practicing yoga, or heading out for a long run. She’s killing the whole balancing act thing.