So what’s a guy who grew up on a farm in Chester, SC, doing running a New York deli? Well, there’s more to Eddie Hargett than just being from Chester, and there’s just as much more to the New York Butcher Shoppe & Grille than being simply a deli.
In addition to running a farm, Eddie’s father also ran a meat-and-three-vegetables restaurant – a business model very popular in the South. That notion stuck with Eddie as he entered the working world; but instead of going into the restaurant business right away, he found himself in sales and marketing in the automotive industry – specifically, he sold seat leather to über-automaker BMW.
Eddie watches trends. A short time before everyone else knew that the automotive industry was in decline, those in the business saw it coming. In a time of uncertainty, Eddie decided that he wanted to be the one controlling his career rather than being at the mercy of a vast and faceless market shift. While looking for opportunities, a relatively young Greenville-based franchise caught his eye. Jim Tindal and Todd Prochaska had bought the franchise rights for the New York Butcher Shoppe from Billy Delia, a third generation Brooklyn butcher who had started his own butcher shop in Charleston. Eddie had noticed the same trend that they had – butcher shops, while still popular in the North, were being replaced in the South by grocery stores. By mass-marketing meat, the large grocery chains and big box stores had lowered the level of service and quality. The New York Butcher Shoppe filled that void by providing a higher level of service and educating consumers, changing misconceptions about quality and value from small businesses.
The more he studied it, the more he liked it. Eddie noticed a need for a high-quality butcher shop in Columbia’s Northeast area. He also liked the idea that the franchise was its own supplier. This ensured the consistency and quality of the product, and reduced waste and spoilage through on-time deliveries – a constant balancing act in any industry. With this troublesome logistical problem under control, Eddie was free to think further about the business model as he launched his own store on Hard Scrabble Road.
For two years, Eddie worked diligently to educate consumers about the benefits of Certified Angus Beef – his store being the exclusive gold level retailer in the Columbia market. In response to customer demands, he began holding sampling events and catering to various local businesses. This led him to consider a business model blending retail (shop) and service (restaurant). When the developers of Lake Carolina approached Eddie about moving his store to a larger space in their Town Center, he saw that conditions were right to expand and add a full restaurant to his shop. Thus was born the New York Butcher Shoppe & Grille. Franchise owners supported Eddie’s new idea and he is now working with them to duplicate the model in other markets.
The Shoppe has a lot to offer the community. Eddie and his staff are proud that their store is located in one of Columbia’s most unique neighborhoods, and they like to stay engaged with their neighbors. They have worked with Chef William Turner’s students in the culinary program at Blythewood High School, helping them bring home a championship earlier this year. Eddie and his store are also key supporters of youth sports in the area. Residents enjoy the benefits of having a full-service butcher shop, and those with particularly active lifestyles can pick up a variety of pre-packaged meals as well as gourmet sides, condiments, and supplies.
For those inclined to dine, there’s more than just beef on the menu. In addition to various cuts of Certified Angus Beef, the restaurant offers entrees including pork, lamb, duck, and salmon. They also offer burgers fresh-ground daily, and a variety of deli-style sandwiches. Some of the most unique offerings are the Himalayan salt block appetizers featuring sashimi-grade tuna or Kobe filets. The salt block, a brick-sized hunk of coral-colored salt, can be heated to enable the customer to cook the dish to their liking, or chilled to keep it cold while on the table.
Red wine naturally complements beef, but Eddie is proud to offer a select variety of reds, whites, and others to pair with anything on his menu. He also frequently hosts wine tasting and food sampling sessions to further educate his clients.
From his days on his family’s Chester farm, to selling auto seat leather, and now the success of the New York Butcher Shoppe & Grille, Eddie proudly says that he’s “sold every part of the cow but the moo.” And as any successful businessman will tell you, it’s important to surround yourself with skilled and enthusiastic people. So, in addition to Chefs Chris Diehl and Rob Peeler, Eddie hired fellow golf enthusiast, Chef Kacey Carbery.
Kacey hails from British Columbia, Canada. His father was a baker, and Kacey recalls working the graveyard shift when he was twelve. In high school, he worked and trained with master pastry chefs at large-scale Levain Bakery in Toronto. He eventually got a golf scholarship to the University of Florida where he majored in anthropology. Afterward, he settled in Columbia and continued working in restaurants.
Kacey shares Eddie’s passion for the high-quality of Certified Angus Beef, which he reminds us is a brand of exclusively rated beef, not to be confused with the species of Angus cattle. Naturally, when asked to suggest some recipes for the home chef, Kacey turned to his menu for a blend of unique and hearty dishes.