Louisville Magazine

FEB 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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88 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 2.19 In 2010, Burress took a chance by opening his own restaurant with longtime colleague Chase Mucerino. ey'd met at Sullivan, and Burress considered Muce- rino to be his only friend in the industry responsible enough to run a business. "I was lacking that myself, so together we made a complete machine," Burress says. e duo found the perfect dive for lease in Germantown, and their flagship restaurant, a smokehouse and barbecue joint called Hammerheads, was born. "Hammerheads took off right from the get-go," Burress says. "We had never even cooked barbecue before, but when you have a certain understanding of the ma- nipulation of food, you can pretty much cook anything." In addition to Hammerheads, the team now owns and operates Game, which specializes in exotic and wild game meats, and Migo, which serves Latin-inspired small plates and tacos. "I make the rounds Pickled deviled eggs with smoked salmon and chicken skin. at the other restaurants every day, in a comical sense: 'Hey, you guys need anything? No? OK, peace out,'" Burress says. "ey see my face every day, but they don't need me." Despite achieving success at all three restaurants, there was a time when Burress considered selling his share of the businesses. Several years ago, he had transitioned to a mostly vegan diet, and he had an ethical crisis. "I had evolved to a point where I wasn't OK with what we were doing. at's when we started to source things more sustain- ably," he says. "You gain insights into where all this stuff comes from, and if you're not moved by that, there's something wrong with you, dude." When asked about the prospect of opening additional restaurants, Burress says he has no current plans. But, he adds, "I'm a true entrepreneur at my core and possess a fluid path, so who knows." As the dinner rush begins at Ostra on a recent Friday evening, a flip-flop- clad Burress chats with a few staffers in the dining room. Most of his work at Ostra takes place in the afternoon, when he cranks up the music and cooks, testing out new recipes and nightly specials. "Once my staff gets here, I just bullshit with them and it's hard to get anything done," Burress says. Burress opened Ostra with two new partners — Mike Brady, a local event planner, and Chris Derome, former bar manager at Seviche. e trio hired interior designers to help decorate but ultimately ignored most of the advice and followed their own instincts, with a little help from the internet. Burress sought inspiration on Pinterest, which is where he got the idea for wicker-basket light fixtures that cast a warm glow in the dining room. Ostra's style combines industrial ele- ments, like polished concrete floors and charcoal-colored walls, with soft touches

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