From owner Louis Soon, chef Christy Stone and the team behind the popular South Main Kitchen in Alpharetta , Butcher & Brew opened just six weeks ago. But it has the energy of a neighborhood place that’s been around for a while.
That’s likely because it’s located next door to South Main, on bustling Main Street, where several other restaurants, including Hop Alley Brewpub and Smokejack BBQ, have created a lively dining destination that stretches from sidewalk tables to alleyway covered patios.
Last week, Soon and Stone took a break from a busy lunch service at Butcher & Brew to talk about opening what they’ve dubbed an “American gastro sports pub.”
Along with a sprawling zinc-topped bar and plenty of flat-screen TVs, the concept offers 20 craft beers on tap, signature cocktails, and a mix of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and bowls, seven days a week, from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
“I’m not really a sports bar guy,” Soon said.“I’m more of a food guy. But I wanted to do something that was fresh and vibrant. And we do everything here from scratch, like we do at South Main Kitchen.”
“I wanted to do sandwiches and things that people are familiar with but put a spin on them,” Stone said, “but then there are things like the Papiamento that you won’t find anywhere.”
It’s a hefty braised lamb sandwich with pickled cactus and pepper relish, pimento goat cheese, and crispy plantains.
“It was inspired by a trip to Curacao,” Stone said. “I wanted to do goat, but that wasn’t readily available around here. So I used lamb and prepared it the way they do goat in Curacao, with a lot of herbs, and the cactus and plantains are typical, too.”
Other sandwiches range from a take on a traditional French dip with shaved Angus rib-eye, horseradish mayo and caramelized onion jus, to a pork belly Banh Mi with ginger-chili mayo and geotjeori kimchee.
But Stone’s bowls might be among the most unusual offerings, especially compared to the items on most sports bar menus.
There are two hot and two cold preparations. And salmon, chicken or shrimp can be added to any bowl. But the Paleo bowl — loaded up with sweet potato, spinach, caramelized onion, red bell pepper, avocado, hard-boiled egg, broccolini, spicy honey mustard and bacon — is the big hit, so far.
“We sell a lot of the Paleo bowl,” Stone said. “Along with the Asian bowl, it’s a hot, healthy alternative for people, and the Harvest and the Tropical bowls are served cold, similar to grain salads.”
Asked about going from casual fine dining at South Main to elevated pub grub at Butcher & Brew, Stone said she’s been enjoying the challenge and the change.
“I’m very proud of everything that’s on the Butcher & Brew menu,” she said. “It’s a lot different from South Main. But it’s also fresh and very full of flavor, and a lot of fun. And we’re still making everything in-house, even though it’s simpler and faster to put out than the menu next door.”
For his part, Soon thinks keeping the kitchen open all day, every day is another thing that really sets Butcher & Brew apart.
“The kitchen never shuts down,” he said. “You can come in at odd hours and still get really good food, and that’s a bonus. You can have the same meal at any time, all the time.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.