After ten years with the celebrated Kevin Nashan, Chris Bolyard is leaving Sidney Street Cafe (2000 Sidney Street; 314-771-5777). He says it's bittersweet, though -- Bolyard and his wife are starting their own whole-animal butcher shop called Bolyard Meat and Provisions.
"I've always loved butchering -- I've always been really passionate about it and over the years at Sidney Street I've been able to hone it," Bolyard tells Gut Check. "It's a craft, it's a skill. It's something that St. Louis is definitely ready for and needs."
Bolyard is currently looking for a space in Maplewood, but he hasn't locked one down just yet. He says his family moved there three years ago with the intent to start a business.
"Maplewood's just super supportive of small, independent business -- the smaller, boutiquey places are doing very well," Boylard says. "It's centrally located, and it's just a growing area. Maplewood wants you to do well."
Boylard says he always knew he wanted to go out on his own, and luckily Nashan is more than supportive. "He's happy to see me have grown and ready to venture out and do my own thing," Bolyard says. "It's a good thing -- he's super excited and supportive of my decision, and he's definitely helping any way he can."
The idea behind Bolyard Meats and Provisions is to use the entire animal that is being butchered. After the popular cuts are gone, Bolyard will help customers find way to cook other parts, or use them himself (like bones for broth and scraps to make dog food). The animals will be 100 percent locally sourced as well -- all will come from within 250 miles, mostly Missouri and Illinois.
The butcher shop needs one more investor to secure its financing as well as the location. Bolyard isn't sure when his last day at Sidney Street will be, but he and Nashan are working to make the transition as smooth as possible for whoever steps into his (admittedly hard-to-fill) shoes. Right now, he's aiming to open Bolyard Meats and Provisions in September.
"Along with selling cuts of meat, there's going be a whole variety of housemade items: fresh sausage, charcuterie, dog food," Bolyard says. "We even plan on making soap. You name it, we're gonna make it."