James Peisker began his hospitality career at the ripe age of 14 as a host for the diner across the street from his house in St. Louis, MO. By the time he was 16 he had worked his way from host, to dishwasher, and eventually moved his way up to being a waiter. It was working with the chefs at The Gatesworth Home that James truly found his passion for the culinary arts, and inspired him to go to culinary school. After graduating high school he attended Forest Park Community College and competed with the American Culinary Federation State Junior Team. Finally, after a year at FP he moved to Hyde Park, New York to attend The Culinary Institute of America.
Upon graduation from CIA James elected to continue his education, spending two weeks at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, to learn about the local cuisine and culture in the Sichuan region of China. When he returned to St. Louis, he took a position as a roundsman at Old Warson Country Club and then moved to Niche in downtown St. Louis. He eventually became the sous chef at Niche and found himself doing most of the whole-animal butchering for the restaurant. It was then that he discovered his love for the craft of butchering, and later helped open Brassiere by Niche where his passion continued to grow. He eventually moved to Nashville, and in 2010 opened up Local Eateries, LLC with his business partner Chris Carter. As James and Chris were sitting on the front porch of Chris’s Porter Road home one afternoon, they were drinking whiskey, talking about the future, and musing over Nashville’s need for an excellent, local butcher shop. Thus, and idea was born. And so was Porter Road Butcher.
Before opening Porter Road Butcher James did a stage at The Butcher and Larder in Chicago to further his education in whole animal butchering. He is now ready to perfect his skills and serve the great people of Nashville local farm raised meats and products.
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Chris Carter is a local Nashvillian, raised in Hendersonville, TN. Chris made his entry into the restaurant world working as a bus boy during his high school years. After graduating from Hendersonville High he attended the University of Memphis and graduated with a major in hospitality management. He worked a couple of jobs in college, doing promotions for a radio station, and took positions in the restaurant industry as well, working as a server and banquet server at Coletta’s, and then as a bartender for two years, before deciding to attend culinary school.
Chris attended culinary school at Le Cordon Blue in Scottsdale, AZ, and chose to further his undergraduate education, majoring in culinary management. During his time in culinary school, Chris worked his first kitchen job as a sous chef at Dragon Fly Café in Scottsdale, but after a year and a half he decided to switch gears. He began working for two different Scottsdale spots, Atlas Bistro and Twisted Rose Winery and Eatery, which further opened his eyes to the culinary arts. After graduation he took a job at Flemings Steakhouse where he found himself mastering the art of grilling meats. In 2009 Chris moved back to Nashville and took a job at the Capital Grille at The Hermitage Hotel, where he and James met. Chris controlled quality and took charge of the meat station there, serving wonderfully prepared grilled meats. Chris has always had a great appreciation for high quality ingredients and a passion for perfection in the kitchen. Chris now is ready to serve the Nashville people with great products and wonderful service.
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Christopher Hudgens (known as Hudge around the shop) is from Memphis, TN. That is where Chris met Chris at the University of Memphis. Hudge worked in hospitality for many years in across the country. Being one of PRB’s first employees Hudge learned the art of sausage making from owners Chris and James. Now he spends most of his time researching and developing new sausages and perfecting his technics. Hudge’s favorite color is green.
Title: General Manager (East)
Hailing from Lafayette, Indiana, Tim George has a first-name, last-name. He got his first meaty job up 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, 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…
Nickname: How you Dorian?
A businessman-turned-butcher, Dorian made his way to Nashville in 2012 after spending six years in the working world of Chicago. After leaving a job in which he traveled often and frequently found himself away from his wife and child, Dorian was eager for a change in his career and sought something that would give him more flexibility and creativity. And muscles. Since Dorian was almost completely novice to the restaurant industry, and since Chicago’s food scene is competitive and cutthroat, and since Nashville’s restaurant scene is booming but not so rough, and since he had friends that already lived in Nashville who were eager for he and his wife to make the move, Dorian did a two-week stage with Porter Road and loved it. Fortunately, they loved him back. Dorian began butchering with PRB in September of 2012 and still finds himself cutting up pigs and cows and lamb (oh my!) today. Outside of butchering, Dorian enjoys watching and playing soccer, sipping on Bulleit Rye, and bobbin’ his head to the tunes of Anberlin.
Nickname: Don Disclaimer: David hates being called Don; he feels he’s losing his identity. James exclusively calls David, “Don.”
Title: Lunch Chef
Although David has always held an interest in both food and cooking it took him a while to discover his interest in working with food. In the wake his move to Nashville in 1999, David leveraged his college degrees in PR and journalism and found work with newspapers, record labels, and other corporate gigs for about 10 years…until he realized he was miserable. He entered the food world shortly after and eventually made his way to Porter Road Butcher, wanting learn more about butchering ethically and wanting to continue his fooducation. Following a six-month stab as a butcher, he switched gears to become the lunch chef for the Charlotte Ave shop, which is where he resides today. So, those amazing French Dips, Pimento Cheese Sammy’s, and Roasted Pork masterpieces that you devour to get passed the mid-day hump? That’s David. While he’s not serving you lunch, you can find him listening to soft 70’s rock, drinking a PBR tall boy, and snuggling with his best feline friend, Little Buddy.
Nickname: Dewbert or Dopey
Title: Sausage Maker
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. Whatever floats your boat, man…
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 kept strong for years following. It was there at Old Warson Country Club that Alex discovered his love for cooking and used that 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 that 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 is PRB’s only 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.
With a family that comes from the great city of Chicago, Justin is the first, first-generation native Nashvillian in his family. Although he still elects to wear a Chicago Bears hat each and every day, he has a Tennessee flag tattoo on his right forearm, so we’ll let the hat slide. Justin initially embarked on his career as a butcher at the age of 18, working in the meat department of the old favorite Nashville grocery, H.G. Hills. After graduating from Nashville Tech with a degree in computer systems programming, Justin worked for a short period of time as a medical transcription specialist (yawn) before the itch to cut meat crept back into his being. Fortuitously, he saw a “butcher wanted” post on Facebook from PRB and he began cutting meat with us in July of 2013. If not for his Tennessee tat, you’ll be able to recognize Justin for his love of all things TN: Jack Daniel’s whiskey, the Blackstone Oatmeal Stout, and fishing.
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 some 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: The New Kaitlin
Title: Social Media n’ Marketing Gal
A Nashvillian born and bred, Maddie entered the Nashville food scene as an intern for Dulce Desserts when she was just 17 and has continued to work in the restaurant biz ever since. Following a four-month, half-assed 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 evolve, and she is currently staring down her 26-month anniversary on her food blog maddielite.com. And would you look at that? Now she is blogging, Instagramming, Tweeting, newslettering, and just generally social media-ing for PRB, splitting her time between the east and west shops. 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 way too much money trolling the Nashville restaurant scene, and is still trying to catch up on Breaking Bad. Is it weird that I just wrote all of that about myself in 3rd person, even though it’s me who is speaking/thinking/typing? Whatever.