Buckhead Butcher Shop owner Connor Boney doesn’t just want to sell his customers cuts of meat and meal accompaniments, he aims to greatly improve the quality of life for those who visit his sleek and modern shop. At the heart of the unique business — an amalgam of butcher shop, food retailer, private dining space and instructional kitchen — is the intention of getting people together around a table to enjoy a top-tier meal, prepared with passion, so it can be the centerpiece in an evening of togetherness.
“It is my belief, and why we started this, if I can make you a better cook, you’re going to do it more,” Boney said. “And if you do it more, you’re going to experience better fellowship at the table, and with better fellowship at the table, you’re going to have a better quality of life. And I fully believe that. Although that might come off as sort of arrogant, I believe life happens through fellowship and relationships, and I’ve found if you’re better at cooking, with industry experts helping you, the more you are going to do it and the more fun you’re going to have. I think that’s quality of life.”
Boney’s mission to improve the home dining experience took a significant leap in January when Buckhead Butcher Shop opened its permanent location at 3198 Cains Hill Place NW. The completely transformed space now houses a notable selection of ultra-premium cuts sourced from the same producers who supply the top restaurants in Atlanta and beyond. In addition to the wide selection of meats running the gamut from ground beef to foie gras, Buckhead Butcher Shop also carries an extensive array of seafood, oils, pickled vegetables, spices, olives, dessert fare, sauces and more. Boney says everything available has been selected purposefully to elevate the home cooking and dining experience, and that starts well before his customers have left the store.
A significant goal of the business, Boney said, is creating an atmosphere that does not come with the intimidation of a typical butcher shop.
“We had to get rid of the stigma you feel when walking into a normal butcher shop where you feel either overwhelmed by the choices or under served by the person behind the counter,” he said. “In that environment, growth isn’t going to happen. It was very important to find people from the industry that were not only in love with food but could convey and teach that passion.”
Boney says his staff is intent on helping people become better cooks, not creating an air of pompousness he feels is synonymous with many traditional butcher shops. This allows customers to feel “vulnerable” enough to share what they don’t know about cooking. In turn, he says, that inspires them to become better cooks.
“I want to create an environment here where people can come in and feel vulnerable enough to let their guard down to get better,” he said. “That vulnerability is huge in creating an atmosphere for education, learning, and ultimately, the growth factor.”
Those who want to take things a step further can also sign up for a cooking class in Buckhead Butcher Shop’s instructional kitchen. The workspace was purposefully designed as an upscale residential kitchen, allowing people to learn using the type of equipment they have at home rather than an industrial, professional workspace. Leading the classes is Chef Leonard Lewis, the James Beard Award nominated former executive chef for Bones Restaurant and an industry veteran of over 40 years.
Chef Lewis also consults with clients for private dinner parties adjacent to the retail area of the business. With seating for up to 32 with arrangements for larger parties offered and a full bar, the dining room can offer a private oasis for gatherings. Coupled with the cooking classes, large retail space, and planned expansion into offering other meal adjuncts like cigars, Boney says Buckhead Butcher Shop is perhaps the only business of its kind in the country.
Its progression is made all the more significant given its relatively humble roots.
Boney, along with his business partners, created Revere Meat Company, a food service processing and distribution company, and operated the business for six years. Boney was led to create the business after a “faith awakening” inspired him to help people and bring them together. In this case, through food. Revere distributed premium meat and seafood to some of the top restaurants in Georgia, but the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic served a crushing blow to the entire restaurant industry and, subsequently, the food service industry.
With the doors locked on restaurants and grocery store shelves barren, Boney and his partners decided to set up a box truck at a residence in Buckhead to sell their stock of premium cuts to budding and experienced home cooks. Neighbors certainly took notice with Boney stating a socially distanced line stretched out for 400 feet at one point. The small bright spot in the otherwise tumultuous time allowed Boney to connect with people, and in turn, inspired families to cook together. In a sense, that experience led to the creation of Buckhead Butcher Shop.
After operating a temporary location in Buckhead, the new, permanent building was completely reconfigured and redesigned to create what Boney calls an immediately unique business.
“The vision, being from Buckhead, was to always give something to Buckhead that relates to the uniqueness of this city,” he said. “I wanted to create a place where people who live here tell those visiting them, ‘You have to try this place before you leave.’”
Buckhead Butcher Shop has been cementing its unique standing and helping to improve the cooking prowess of its customers since opening its new location in January 2023.
The journey from wholesale distribution to the back of a box truck to the current business has been eye-opening for Boney.
“It’s been fantastic being able to connect with the end consumer and get immediate feedback that they’re excited and thankful for what we’ve built here, but then when they come back after having tried our product and they’re so much more passionate to try something else, that’s invigorating,” he said.
And again, it comes down to improving the quality of life through exceptional meals. “The quality-of-life purpose in our mission is so important,” Boney said. “Right now, more than anything, so much of what we’ve lost is the ability to be vulnerable and have those connections with family and friends at the dinner table. If I can get more people to be confident in their cooking, they are going to do it a lot more, with more people, and they’re going to enjoy their life more. I just want to be able to help people to do that, and our staff can help people do that.”