Head for the Hills! 16

McKissick Continues to Offer Honest Meat at New Foothills Locations

“It’s easier for us to launch a new concept like this because we don’t have to create authenticity,” says Casey McKissick, proprietor of Foothills Meats, elbows propped on a table in his West Asheville restaurant and butcher bar—one of two new locations slinging fresh meat and thoughtfully-prepared dishes and drinks into the clambering jaws of Asheville’s foodies.

It’s true—anyone who knows Casey understands he, and his concept, are as genuine and authentic as they come. But how do you define “authentic?” Honesty, for one; since the concept began in 2002 as a modest farm, their slogan has promised “honest meat” and delivered just that, fresh cuts and deli meats sourced from local farms (originally McKissick’s own, now from Wilkes County’s AH&W Farm and Vandele Farms in Lake Lure). The company has remained true to its intentions of whole-animal utilization throughout its many iterations. And then there’s Casey himself, farmer-turned-butcher-turned-entrepreneur renowned in this town for his friendliness and—you guessed it—authenticity.

It’s that authenticity (and fate) that’s enabled McKissick and his team to almost simultaneously open these two new concepts. The locations will differ slightly in their offerings—Black Mountain will hock classic food truck items like deli sandwiches, house-made hotdogs and fresh-ground burgers, West Asheville slightly more formal small plates and entrees—but both locations will include a butcher bar, retail meat case, good beer, a steak and chop special of the day and that casual genuineness we’ve grown to love. Chef Owen Lane will man the menu at the West location, while Dave Kane continues to refine the company’s offerings for its butcher cases and catering offerings.

“This growth is based on our having honed this business model over a long period of time to what we think it needs to be and to enable us to stick with the craft of whole animal butchery,” McKissick explains. “Some people are like, ‘Oh, you guys are doing something different every day,’ but we’re just trying to find the best way to make the business of whole animal butchery work. That has never changed.”

The new concept—and really, everything Foothills does—couldn’t come at a better time. “We’ve found something that no one else is doing here, and in this time and place that is Asheville, and it’s time to say, ‘Ok, let’s show everyone what we’re doing.'” We’re watching.