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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Nickname: The Wildcard
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: Manager and Butcher (East)
Stuart is a native Nashvillian who was born and raised in this Batman-building-clad city. Fortunately for him (and us), his position at Porter Road more or less fell into his lap when he took a friend’s job as our dishwasher back in early 2013. Although dishwashing was exhilarating and fulfilling work for Stuart, he soon moved on to greener pastures and claimed the title of Sausage Maker as his own. Today he has worked his way even further up the food chain: he helps cut meat, oversees general operations, and helps manage our East Nashville shop. Though his brain is still chock-full of information about all of Porter Road’s “snausages” Stuart has also made a little room up in his noggin for info regarding to pretty much everything else we do here. If he’s not listening to some techno beats while breaking down animals or making amusing and witty remarks, Stuart enjoys drawing detailed portraits, playing video games and drinking Bud Heavy and 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.
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: PR & Marketing Gal
A Nashvillian born and bred, Maddie first dipped her toe the restaurant biz as an intern for local bakery Dulce Desserts when she was 17 and has been working in the industry ever since. Following a childhood filled with unparalleled food phobia and a four-month stint as a vegetarian in college (during which time pepperoni pizza was a common late-night snack), Maddie’s food obsession really took off as she culinarily liberated herself during study abroad in Barcelona. It was there, back in 2011 when she began her first food blog, and since then, her love for food has done nothing but grow. Don’t like food pics? Don’t even think about following @maddielite on Instagram. And look at that! Now she is blogging, social media-ing, and generally communicating for PRB, while getting into the meat of the business. If she’s not on her phone or laptop editing photos of pork butt and making these butchers look good, Maddie teaches and practices hot yoga, spends too much money trolling the Nashville restaurant scene, and occasionally sounds like a pterodactyl.
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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 at PRB or finding odd jobs to earn some extra cash, 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 (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 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.
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. Long 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, in the wake of an evening with Basil Hayden, Wesley found the courage to reach out again with a message entitled, “Meat Me.” That did the trick. During his visit in May (job research he dubbed “meatsearch”—kid really loves a play-on-words) he was impressed and excited by the prospect of whole-animal butchering in 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 Nashville’s best), going hunting, and mountain biking. Burgers, hunting, mountain biking, and meat. Talk about a dude.
Title: Counter Clerk (West)
Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Christy made the move to Nashville for school and has stuck around 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 began working over at our East shop, Christy first got a taste of Porter Road Butcher in her Sylvan Park neighborhood and has switched locations, giving the East Side “the hand” and giving herself a shorter drive to work. “I felt like I had a lot of free time only working 2-3 days in the hospital,” she said, “I wanted to get another job that would be fun and light hearted—something that didn’t have peoples’ lives on the line.” And here she is. While Christy isn’t working 16-hour shifts saving lives, helping customers at the shop, or cooking something scrumptious 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 (West)
Before actually working at the butcher shop, Patrick and his wife Emma were recognized by our staff as friendly shoppers who occasionally stopped in to buy meat. One Friday afternoon however, Patrick inquired about available positions at almost the exact moment we began looking for a new lunch chef. Because he used to play basketball at Duke, we immediately hired him. His background in meat and formal culinary training certainly didn’t hurt his case either. Following graduation from Duke in 2009, Patrick and Emma moved to Boulder, where she attended law school and he worked in the meat department at Whole Foods. Eventually Patrick sought change and enrolled in culinary school at Johnson & Whales. After fulfilling a 6-month internship requirement at Left Bank in NYC, he wanted to return to his southern roots (Patrick is from Melbourne, AR) and began researching cities. Nashville seemed like a cool spot, so they packed up in May of 2014 and have been here since. If Patrick isn’t braising pork tongue or expertly grilling cheeses, he likes hiking with his dogs Duke and Calamity Jane, fly-fishing, and drinking sour beers, just like his fellow Cardinals-hat-wearing friend, Alex.
Nickname: Taylor Swift
Title: Counter Clerk (East)
Taylor Fregoe is a real born and bred East Nashvillian who grew up in this neighborhood: she was educated at both East Middle School and East High School, is known to hit up the 5 Spot on a Saturday night, and now works for us at Porter Road Butcher East…all of which leads us to believe she pretty much never crosses the river. Having gone to school just across the street from our shop, Taylor began following PRB when we opened our doors back in 2011, but never did she consider it an option for employment until the beginning of 2015. Following time spent at Nashville State Culinary School, she sought work in her field, but initially had poor luck: she found a job as a cafeteria lady at Stratford High School. After spotting our Facebook post boasting a need for employees, Taylor reached out and that was that. So while she now spends her days surrounded by meat, she livens things up in her free time by wishing she were a Nashville Rollergirl, hitting the lake to do some wakeboarding, teaching magic tricks to her dog Houdini, and riding motorcycles with her parents. So maybe she occasionally crosses the river after all…
Nickname: Tim’s Twin
Title: Counter Clerk (East)
Just like his manager and doppelgänger Tim, Joseph is a spectacle wearing, Hemingway reading, food loving musician who came to Nashville in search of a fresh beginning. (Yes, Joseph and Tim have all of those things in common). After growing up and attending college in Martin, TN just two hours away from Nashville, Joseph found himself in a job that he didn’t like in a town he knew too well. So, armed with his degree in Geo Science and abundance of couch-surfing opportunities, he decided to move to Nashville. A lover of food and eating, Joseph familiarized himself with Nashville’s food scene prior to making the move; while searching the interwebs he happened upon our website and before he knew it, he had a job and was packing up his car, bound for Nashville. Though he didn’t know too much about PRB having never before been to our shop, he was impressed by what he read online and after one day of testing the waters, he chose to stay. Outside of reading impressive literature and playing southern, bluesy rock and roll, Joseph enjoys a good old-fashioned Netflix binge and occasionally tries his luck at scuba diving.
Nickname: Hippie Pizza Guy
Title: Counter Clerk and Sausage Maker (East)
“Where am I from originally? That’s a loaded question. I lived in Japan and Germany until I was 12, then immigrated to Atlanta, and then moved to Alabama which is where I guess I grew up.” Like his multitude of hometowns, Brian Risse is a multi-faceted fellow. It was both MTSU and a degree in photography that brought this military brat to Nashville, but an interest in music and a pretty red-haired lady anchored him here. Brian taught himself how to cook during college and soon became infatuated with the effect food has on the body. As a tri-athlete, he noticed how processed food negatively affected his performance so he eventually morphed into a “health nut,” eliminating all the bad stuff—save for Irish whiskey. His health-consciousness made him a shoe-in for his job as the Pizza Guy at Whole Foods, but after a while he began to tire of the corporate setting. That’s when he met us. Although he still occasionally does freelance photography, Brian now works four days a week at our East shop. If he’s not photographing, working, or training for triathlons, Brian enjoys eating good food, drinking good brews, and taking long walks through the city.
Title: Counter Clerk (East & West)
Ellie started working for PRB in the Spring of 2014 while she was a high school student at Hume Fogg looking for a once-a-week job to earn her a couple more dollars. Now, over a year later, she’s back at it again helping us sling meat during her first summer off from college. Although she admits she was initially curious about the novelty of Porter Road Butcher, she has since come to appreciate the value of good, local meat and even finds herself preaching the importance of buying local to her peers up at UT in Knoxville (she’s studying PolySci and Spanish). A Nashvillian at heart, when she can find a little free time Ellie enjoys going to concerts, has plans to one day travel to South Africa and Australia, and most of all loves cheering on Old Rocky Top—oh wait, no she doesn’t. Sorry, we just got a little mixed up since she’s sporting her neon orange “Rocky Top” tee. Although she used to work just down the road from her dad’s East Nashville home at PRB East, Ellie has since been transferred to our West Nashville shop where she says she been given far fewer weird nicknames (like Dellanor, Smelly, Deli, and Sassquatch). That’s a good thing…right?