Devi’s Kettle to add Pork & Pickles

Click here for the original story in the Athens News
By Kayla Beard




Two local businesses are joining forces to bring together two of Athens’ favorite things: beer and food. Pork & Pickles has started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a new food trailer it plans to open this spring at Devil’s Kettle Brewing, at 97 Columbus Road.

When chef-owner and Athens native Becky Clark started Pork & Pickles two years ago, for the first six months, Clark worked out of the kitchen of what eventually became the Eclipse Company Store Craft Beer Hall in The Plains.

“Sean Kiser, who owns Eclipse… let me get started there,” Clark said. She was able to make sausage for Kiser’s Barbeque (located at The Market on State in Athens) in exchange for kitchen time, allowing her to get organized when she was just starting out.

“It was really good of him… It was perfect to be in that small kitchen out there where no one was bothering me, and I just had room to make all the mistakes I needed to make,” Clark recalled.

Once the Craft Beer Hall officially opened a year ago, Clark moved to ACEnet in Athens. Less than two years later, the business is establishing a kitchen of its own.

Devil’s Kettle owner Cameron Fuller said the brewery developed a relationship with Pork & Pickles early on, with P&P making sausages for Devil’s Kettle’s first Oktoberfest.

Both businesses were new at the time, he said, and quickly learned that they paired well together. “(Clark’s) business perspective and aptitude very much matched mine,” Fuller said. “I make a lot of German-inspired beers,” which taste great with sausage, he explained, adding that Clark is an excellent chef. “She can make anything pair well with my beer.”

The businesses have collaborated multiple times since then. “In the three or four pop-up dinners we’ve done there, it’s been… for both of our businesses, some of our highest profiting days of… last year,” Clark said. “We’d have the charcoal grill going outside but we’re still doing nice plates… It just seems like people enjoy that combination.”

Fuller said he had “kicked around” the idea of buying a food truck himself, but “the idea of running a food truck myself terrifies me.” Before he could hammer out details, Clark came to him, he said.

On top of Fuller being “enjoyable to do business with,” Clark cited several reasons why she chose Devil’s Kettle. “They do… a lot of German and European beers which pair better with food than these American, pale ale, IPAs and these bitter beers,” Clark said.

Clark said she hopes her food will make customers more inclined to stay and hang out at the brewery.

Fuller said he has “a lot of faith in” Clark, adding that “it was awesome” when she catered his wedding.

The trailer will be walk-up, Clark said, but will serve on real dishware and staff members will bus tables. The trailer will be “directly next to” the bar’s patio, Clark said. “It will be a unique and upscale version of a food cart.”

Clark said her background is in fine-dining. She hopes to bring a variety of price points to each iteration of the menu, which will change almost every week “based on what is available… and what looks good.

“We’re only going to have fresh tomatoes on our menu from July to September because that’s when they’re awesome,” Clark said, adding that she hopes to use preservation methods like canning to keep some foods on hand year-round.

Most likely, just six to eight items at a time will be on the ever-changing menu, Clark said, but there will be some staples such as sausage or deviled eggs, and plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options.

The kitchen will be open five days a week, Clark said – dinner for four days and brunch on Sundays. They plan to add three new employees to the Pork & Pickles team, who Clark said will be cross-trained to work on the product line as well.

Set for this spring, the food trailer’s opening coincides well with the peak season for Pork & Pickles’ logo – the ramp, “a wild onion that’s grown in this area,” Clark said. “It’s really potent… like this flavor of appalachia.”

The brand currently has an all-pork product line, which consists of nearly all parts of the pig, with plans to expand to other meats, Clark said.

Pigs for the company are raised in Meigs county, according to the kickstarter video. “The whole purpose of having these pasture-raised hogs is keeping them local,” Clark said. “It already has such a big impact on the environment to raise meat. The idea of then raising it and processing it and then shipping it really far away is not cool.”

The brand also offers a line of what Clark called “eclectic pickled vegetables,” with six different vegetable options including cucumbers.

Pork & Pickles currently can’t sell its meat line in stores, only directly to consumers, and the company hasn’t had a storefront, instead renting time in a shared-use kitchen at ACEnet (The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks) to operate. Today, customers can only buy Pork & Pickles meat products at the Athens Farmers Market, or by placing a special order through ACEnet and picking it up there.

Now, the business will have a more secure venue to sell its products, as well as a license to vend them wholesale.

“Right now, all the meat we sell is frozen… because we don’t have a shop,” Clark said. Once the kitchen opens, she added, “when we make sausages, for the first few days after they’re made, they’ll be available fresh.” Cuts, roasts, pork chops and similar items will be available to purchase there, too.