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My Story

Failure is not an option

My name is R. Ryan Rogers. I am a Chef, restaurateur, Americana enthusiast, and southern nomad. I grew up on the road, living in 7 different southern states before starting high school. This early introduction to the varied regional cuisine of the south instilled in me distinct food memories of cold fried chicken and potluck sides at church picnics, boiled peanuts at roadside stands, and spending time in the kitchen with my Cajun and not Cajun grandparents. I have a strong belief that restaurants are amongst our last bastions of true egalitarian community gathering places.

After high school I ran off to the big city and New York University. Which was followed by a brief period in the mountains of Utah working as a data analyst for an internet company. My love of food with it’s communal and comforting nature soon called me back to New York City for culinary school and a stint on the line at Momofuku Noodle Bar.

Upon graduation, I was dragged back to the bourbon soaked streets of Louisville, Kentucky, which had been my most recent home prior to my fleeing to the north.

Having quickly worked my way through the circuit of prominent restaurants and not yet ready to leave Louisville, I decided at the ripe old age of 26 to open my first restaurant. A barbecue restaurant dedicated to the traditions of making food the hard way, from scratch. It would be about slow smoking meats that had been brined in house for days just to experience the fleeting moments of bliss.

On July 4th, 2012 across the river from Louisville in New Albany, Indiana in a 130 year-old shotgun building that had been vacant for 25 years next to another vacant building Feast BBQ opened. Despite being severely under capitalized and staffed we proceeded to sell out of as much food as we could push out of a 200 square foot kitchen day after day. For the first year in operation in an effort to pay down the mountain of short term zero interest credit card debt the restaurant had taken out to open I proceeded to sleep in the abandoned second floor of the building which lacked electricity, heating, and running water. Luckily there was a YMCA close by.

The local press thankfully came quickly and the following year, Feast BBQ was recognized as one of Eater National’s Hottest BBQ Restaurants. In December of 2014, I opened a second, more adequately sized, Feast BBQ in downtown Louisville’s hip nulu neighborhood.

We quickly followed the success of our second Feast BBQ location with a third restaurant a block and a half away in nulu; Royals Hot Chicken. It is my own ode to the history of fried chicken in Kentucky, the burning intensity of Nashville style hot chicken, and distant memories of potluck sides. That year I also had the pleasure of being named an Eater National Young Gun.

In 2017, along with Chef & Co-Owner Andrew McCabe I opened bar Vetti, a neighborhood Italian focused restaurant featuring fresh, house-made pasta, brick oven pizza and seasonal small plates with an emphasis on products and produce from our local region. I firmly believe that truest essence of Italian cooking can only be expressed by utilizing and emphasizing what is available from ones own geographic region.

Most recently I sold our original Feast BBQ in New Albany, Indiana to focus on a new location that was more adequately equipped and sized for our needs. That new Feast BBQ location opened in late summer 2018 in Jeffersontown, a suburb of Louisville.

I continue to work building new brands within the Louisville market and growing our existing concepts. As an independent consultant I have worked for and presented to organizations such as Beam Global, Del Monte, Darden, Brinker International, and American Beverage Marketers.

I am a Kentucky Colonel, an avid traveler, and a democratic eater.