Athens’ latest restaurant is the workplace of two of the city’s most dapper men. Meet the guys of Butcher + Vine, Andrew Wallace and Josh Aaron. They’re our go-to guys for a good steak and a great bottle of wine. Their first location is in Watkinsville, but they recently opened up a second location in Athens.
They stopped by Kempt to pick out a few looks before we went to their new space in Five Points right next to the bottle shop. We snapped some pics and exchanged thoughts on owning a local business and looking sharp.
Kempt: What’s your favorite thing about Athens?
Andrew Wallace, Owner: I love the fact that Athens is not a small city, but it feels small. Everywhere I go, I see somebody I know. I love the small-town feel. Everybody knows each other, no matter what brewery or restaurant you go to.
Josh Aaron, General Manager + Beverage Director: Growing up here is one reason I love it. I moved away when I was 18, so it was important to me for my son to be born here. I love not just the family tradition but also the history and culture here.
K: What’s a staple item in your wardrobe that you can’t live without?
Josh: Mavi Jeans. I haven’t purchased another pair of jeans since. I have eight pairs now.
Andrew: I base what I wear off of my jeans.
K: Why is dressing well and looking sharp important to you?
Andrew: I don’t want to look like a scrub next to my fiance. It’s important to me to look confident and like I have style when I’m next to her.
Josh: I spent 20 years in a kitchen environment where I was just wearing a chefs coat, so I wasn’t always out in the public as much. Now, in a leadership role at the front of the house, it’s become important for me to feel comfortable and well-dressed. I need a good sweater that looks nice. I like the way the Good Man stuff fits. When I find something that fits well and looks nice, I feel more comfortable and confident.
K: What’s the story behind Butcher + Vine?
Andrew: I was already in food. The last restaurant I was at wasn’t my concept. I kinda lost passion for it, [because] it wasn’t mine. So I think I wanted something else to be able to put my passion and work into. When I was in New Orleans, I went to a little hole-in-the-wall wine store. You went in, picked out your wine from a shelf that was covered in dust. Then they had a refrigerator full of meats and cheeses that you could choose from. You’d get the goods and then go outside and listen to music. I thought that was a really neat idea. I’ve always been interested in the old-school butcher shop.
Josh: We would sit down at like 9:30 at night and write ideas down on the table. One night, we were sitting there and Andrew was like, “I got this idea. I wanna do a meat/cheese/wine bar.” I said, “Why don’t we call it Butcher + Vine?” My passion’s always been food and beverage.
Check out the butcher shop or book your next date - www.eatbutcherandvine.com.
And check out @butcherandvine on Instagram.