Kevin Ouzts’ new charcuterie shop, the Spotted Trotter, hasn’t even opened, and he’s already wondering how he’ll meet demand.
A couple of weeks ago Taco Mac’s corporate chef, Peter Golaszewski, ordered 1,000 pounds of hot dogs for a limited-time, local-themed special menu. On the menu’s first day, a Monday, Taco Mac sold 340 hot dogs. Golaszewski doubled his order for the following week.
Ouzts (rhymes with “boots”) acknowledges that it’s a good problem to have. And that his business strategy seems to be working. His shop, which opens Friday, may be brand-new, but the business is not. Ouzts has been building his customer base through farmers markets for nearly two years.
Trained as a chef, he decided to focus on charcuterie during a stint in Napa Valley, California. His sausages and cured meats emphasize locally sourced meats and seasonings, when available, seasonal ingredients, and artisan production.
“Something that is unwavering for me is that it’s humanely processed,” he says. “I like to be able to go to the farm, see their slaughtering facility, make sure that everyone is getting cared for properly, can live as an animal.”
He says his customers prefer it that way. Or will come to prefer it. “People are going to see that it tastes better, thatsocio-economically it’s better, and that environmentally it’s more friendly.”
He likes to watch their eyes when they try his products, like chorizo made with meadow-raised pork and locally grown, house-smoked peppers; crepinettes made with pork belly cured with Georgia sorghum syrup and Georgia-raised rabbit; and “Southern stained” beef jerky made with White Oak Pastures beef and Kentucky mash bourbon. When their eyes open wide, he knows he’s won a new customer.
“People appreciate that you’re taking the time to be a home-grown cat. They want to be a part of it. They want that story.”
The Spotted Trotter Charcuterie is at 1610 Hosea L. Williams Dr. in Atlanta.