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Animal Restaurant Group Formed by Local Hospitality Vets

To capitalize on the growing restaurant scene, a trio of local hospitality veterans has formed a new consulting and management group aimed at not trying to compete with new concepts, but helping them to succeed. Called Animal Restaurant Group (ARG), the company is a partnership between Casey Carstens, previously executive chef at South and currently the owner/operator of mobile sandwich shop The Jones Press; Nathan Gifford, who worked as a butcher at Husk, as well as in other kitchens, and currently is getting his cured meats label Gifford's Provisions up and running; and Chris Futrell, a longtime hospitality veteran who most recently held the executive chef position at Music City Tippler, having parted ways with the restaurant earlier this month.

Aiming to be a one-stop shop for restaurant services, offerings include temporary and emergency staffing, security, training and food and beverage costing and design, as well as services from the group's preferred list of consultants and partners. But Futrell says that they plan to reach out beyond the commercial market too, providing services for amateur home cooks and private events, stating that "[i]f it has to do with food, we want to be a part of it."

Says Futrell regarding their motivation for forming ARG:

We feel that the Nashville market has so many wonderful new bars and restaurants opening up, and we want them all to be successful. But inevitably, some of them will fail. So rather than compete with them, we'd rather help them all to be as successful as possible, which in turn makes the city better.

On why he left Tippler, which has now had three executive chefs since opening less than a year ago, Futrell says he has nothing but respect and admiration for those he worked with and for, but that it was time for him to go out on his own and that the opportunity to start Animal Restaurant Group couldn't be passed up. The restaurant is currently on the hunt for their new chef.
Update: This post has been edited to reflect Nathan Gifford's previous roles.
· Animal Restaurant Group [Official Site]
· Animal Restaurant Group [Facebook]
· All Music City Tippler Coverage [-ENSH-]
[Photo Animal Restaurant Group]