MARIETTA — Where can you find A5 Wagyu beef, foie gras, Osetra caviar and organic, Georgia-grown mushrooms in one place? The answer, for Cobb County residents, is The Butcher on Whitlock, which opened its doors in the Burnt Hickory Village shopping center on Tuesday.
The store sells high-end beef, pork, chicken, seafood, lamb, game birds and charcuterie shipped from around the world. Also on offer are local craft beer, wine, seasonings, marinades, charcoal, kitchen accessories and a limited selection of produce.
“We wanted to create a spot here that gives people the opportunity to get the highest quality products — the stuff that they would get at the best steak houses in America,” said owner Scott Grieve.
Grieve, who has worked in the food industry since he was a 15-year-old dishwasher, is betting his store becomes a one-stop shop for home chefs seeking to entertain guests or cook up a memorable date night.
After climbing the ladder in the restaurant business and working as a chef at places like Hotel Nikko (now the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead) and the Occidental Grand Hotel (now the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta), Grieve left the kitchens in 2005. He worked for himself, selling and brokering food products around the southeast.
His business, Preferred Fine Foods, was a wholesale distributor, with “98 percent” of its clients being event-driven facilities, particularly hotels. Many of its products were handmade, “labor-intensive” hors d’ouevres sold to hotels, Grieve said.
“Come March … COVID really decimated our business,” Grieve said. “We were down well over 80 percent … although some restaurant business is kind of coming back, hotels are really struggling.”
Friends of Grieve had opened similar high-end butcher’s shops in Jacksonville, Florida and Spartanburg, South Carolina and been successful. Realizing he had to get out of hotel industry, and after much research, Grieve decided to go the high-end grocery route.
Tuesday’s soft opening was a success, as a steady stream of customers filed in and out. Grieve assisted with cutting and weighing meats, but also used his status as a gourmet to recommend pairings, such as advising one customer to purchase some membrillo — a sweet jelly made from quince fruit — to accompany the Manchego cheese he was buying.
Grieve said food education was part of his goal with the store.
“Whether you’re super knowledgeable about what’s in here or you know nothing, we want everyone to be comfortable,” he said.
Philadelphia native Grieve and his wife, mortgage loan officer Nancy Grieve, have spent time in Vermont, where Scott taught at the New England Culinary Institute. They moved to the Atlanta area, where Nancy grew up, in 1990. The couple raised their children in Gwinnett and moved to Marietta four years ago. It was important to the Grieves to open the store within Marietta city limits.
“We love the community here. We spend a lot of time up on the Square, we know a lot of people,” Nancy Grieve said.
Scott Grieve said his products are worth the price because of their quality and consistency. The shop’s products will come from the same trusted supplier, not change from week to week. Grieve also stresses the importance of properly aged beef. He has a policy that no meat is sold without at least 21 days of aging, which tenderizes and creates flavor.
“If you were to come here and want a ribeye, and my ribeye doesn’t have enough age on it, I’m not going to sell you a ribeye,” Grieve said. “I’m going to get you to buy something else, because I don’t want you to have a bad experience.”