Goodfriend Owners Gear Up to Open The Blind Butcher on Lower Greenville Sometime in 2013

Matt Tobin, Josh Yingling, and Oliver SItrin (lying on the table). Photo by Carol Shih
Matt Tobin, Josh Yingling, and Oliver SItrin (lying on the table). Photo by Carol Shih

Everyone is moving to Lower Greenville these days. It’s because they all want to be in close proximity to Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs when the grocery store finally opens. I don’t blame ’em. Mudsmith just got there, Carnival Barker’s first storefront is heading there, yadda yadda yadda. It’s going to be one hell of a party on Greenville Avenue, come summer.

Since they figured the tenants in Lower Greenville are pretty cool, the owners of Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House decided join in the fun. Matt Tobin, Josh Yingling, and their partner-in-crime, Ryan Chaney (who couldn’t make it to our interview), decided to hire Oliver Sitrin (formerly from Village Marquee) to be the executive chef of their new restaurant, The Blind Butcher. It’s going to be at 1919 Greenville Ave, and it’s opening someday in the near future. (The press release says late spring.) The Goodfriend boys have known Oliver for awhile, but now they all get to be one big, happy family together. I’ll shut up now and let you hear the rest of the story for yourselves.

Matt Tobin: At first we were like, “Too bad Oliver’s not available.”

Oliver Sitrin: I came to Marquee because he (Tre Wilcox) brought me there. That’s my boy. Him leaving? I was going to leave also. I actually left one or two days before he did.

MT: But it was serendipitous in the fact that we were like, “Aw, man that’d be cool, but he’s tied up.” And then it was like, ” Hey, man, I think I’m leaving marquee.” Wow! What are the odds that that would come in place.

CS: So what’s with the Goodfriend Package Store?

MT: It’s gonna be right across the street. We leased the space about 10 months ago. It’s in between Garcia Discount Furniture and the chiropractor. It’s gonna be a build-your-own six-pack-style beer store. Loads of craft beer. Tons and tons and tons. Craft, European, imports. We’re going to try and carry most beers available in Texas. And, across from that, there’ll be a deli in the store. Just traditional deli-style sandwiches, soups, stuff like that. We were having Oliver develop that menu already.

[This is the part when we move outside because people are busy making Goodfriend all nice and tidy.]

CS: You guys really don’t like to sit together.

Josh Yingling: We like space.

MT: Space is good. Should I pick up where I left off? Oliver was working on doing the menu for us anyways, then everything else came about. Actually, we hadn’t decided where we’d get our meats from, but now this opportunity [Blind Butcher] came about, and we figure we can buy meat from ourselves and sell it at the Package Store, so The Butcher is going to act as a commissary kitchen for what we’re doing. As much as possible. And we’ll also probably sell meat by the pound, more like a grocery-store style, so if you want to take it home with you, you can.

CS: What kind of sandwiches will you have at the Package Store?

MT: Good ones. It’s still an evolving concept.

CS: What are you thinking for the restaurant, Blind Butcher?

OS: A meat-centric outline. Of course, we’ll have other things on the menu, but we’re going to do fun…ummm… what’s a good way to say this?

CS: Non-vegetarian items?

OS: There will be some vegetarian items. There has to be at least one vegetarian item.

JY: Yeah, it’s 2013.

OS: There will also be gluten free options, ’cause a lot of meat is gluten free, isn’t it. We’re going to have fun bar food, and a lot of things you can eat with your hands. There might be a big a** turkey leg on there.

CS: Oh, really?

MT: Might be.

JY: Might be.

OS: There might be a whole pig for a party. Whole roast suckling pig.

CS: So you’re going to have a smoker?

OS: We’re going to have a smoker, yes. We’re going to have cured meats and sausages. We’re going to have a lot of.. I don’t know… some people might say “man food.” The menu will change on a daily basis depending on what’s cured and ready to go.

CS: When do you think you’ll open?

OS: 2013.

CS: In time for Trader Joe’s?

MT: 2013.

JY: we’re very big on not giving people a date, ’cause then people tend to hold you to that.

OS: Expectations.

JY: Our whole mantra is, “Do you want it right, or do you want it right now?” And if it takes me an extra month or two, I want to make sure that first day when people walk in they’re like, “Holy crap! These people really know what they’re doing and they’re knowledgeable about it. This service is as good as it could possibly be on a first day.”

CS: Why are y’all calling it The Blind Butcher because, obviously, Oliver is not blind.

MT: This is the first time we’ve had this question. We knew we were gonna get it.

OS: Straight up, I think it was just a catchy name.

MT: It rolls off the tongue really well.

JY: And now we can have 4 finger discounts on our specials.

CS: Any questions that I missed? Oh, wait, Oliver, why don’t you have any tattoos?

OS: How do you know I don’t have any tattoos? I could have a whole body suit underneath.

CS: …or any tattoos that show? You’re the odd man out.

OS: I have the reverse tough guy suit,  where all of mine don’t need to show. That means I don’t need to show off my tattoos to be cool.

MT: Nice. I do.

OS: I’m growing a beard next, so I’ll fit in.

CS: Then y’all can be a real team.