For a few days, the covered windows of 25 North Park Square shielded loud banging coming from inside, as large pieces of furniture passed in and out of the glass doors.
The activity marked a change in ownership of the space at the beginning of the year, which culminated with the opening of The Butcher, The Baker last month.
“Every day is a moment of panic before we open,” owner Katie Pfister said about the casual dining restaurant. She said her customers expect high-quality farm-to-table food delivered with top-notch service.
The Butcher, The Baker focuses on local produce. It offers “Snack and Share” appetizers, ranging from chicken liver pate to fried pork belly options, with collard greens and turnips, as well as trendy standards such as goat cheese and risotto. Appetizers average $10 while full meals range from $17 to $25.
The newly redesigned space offers cocktails to tempt any mixologist, with a newly popular ingredient, ginger beer, and a rare garnish, pickled grapefruit.
Johnny Fulmer and wife Susie started the Marietta Square’s Farmers’ Market more than 11 years ago to promote restaurants using local goods. “The Pfisters are the first to aggressively seek out product from our growers,” said Fulmer, who is excited about The Butcher, The Baker’s dedication.
Menus are printed daily to accommodate the constant changes of the owners’ focus on seasonality. Pfister admits it is hard to meet patron requests when that item may not be available at that time.
“It will only get better with more to choose from in the next 60 days,” says Fulmer about the eatery opening during root season, but will soon benefit from summer tomatoes and a wide range of fresh ingredients.
“We rely completely on the farmers. Which makes it harder for us sometimes, but it is worth it,” said Pfister, who is eager for berry options for the desserts she creates.
Katie Pfister’s husband of two years, Micah Pfister, is also an owner. He says the limitations of the season promote creativity in the kitchen.
Fulmer met the couple as a member of the Downtown Marietta Development Authority. The former space was named Simpatico, located next to Shillings On The Square. The Butcher, The Baker needed approval to change the awning.
The Pfisters feel Marietta restaurants lacks the type of food they care about. They see potential for a new concept of dining that is more of an experience.
The Pfisters envision a collection of similarly progressive establishments eventually setting up shop on the Square. If that happens, they believe younger couples living in Cobb won’t be so quick to drive to Atlanta on date nights. The Butcher, The Baker, they’re hoping, could lead the way to a redesign of downtown Marietta, similar to how Roswell’s Historic Town Square has modernized.
The Butcher, The Baker was a dream that happened faster than expected.
“If we didn’t love it, we definitely couldn’t do it,” says Katie Pfister. “Long nights; early mornings; no sleep. But you make it work.”
As a child, Katie Pfister lived three blocks from Marietta Square with parents who remain at the residence, which has been on historic home tours. She also runs Sweet Peeps Bakery as the lone employee, making specialty cakes in an upstairs section at The Butcher, The Baker.
Micah Pfister trained as a charcutier, or pork butcher. His knowledge of making dry aged local meat and house-made prosciutto might lead to opening a micro market store with house sausages and handmade breads.
The couple will have a tent at Sunday’s Taste of Marietta offering banh, a type of Vietnamese sandwich. It will be a chance for Katie and Micah Pfister to greet customers, since most evenings they work in the kitchen.
The Butcher, The Baker has a large Facebook presence, and reservations are available online.
The couple also owns the establishment next door, Willie Rae’s, and has no plans to change that restaurant, except for fine-tuning. “It is funky and it is fun,” Katie Pfister says.