Monday, July 13, 2015

Kevin Gillespie Forms Red Beard Restaurants to Provide a Roadmap for Internal and External Growth

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 Emily Connolly or Morgan Dyches
Melissa Libby & Associates

Kevin Gillespie Forms Red Beard Restaurants to Provide a Roadmap for Internal and External Company Growth
Atlanta Chef/Restaurateur Teams with Marco Shaw and M. Blake Morley to Create Parent Company for Smart Expansion and Talent Development

ATLANTA (July 13, 2015) – Atlanta chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie has always been quick to credit the strong team behind him for the success of his restaurants and career.  Now, with the announcement of Red Beard Restaurants, he has taken an important next step in making a great team even greater. Along with director of food and beverage Marco Shaw and director of development M. Blake Morley, Gillespie's new parent company will maintain consistency at both Gunshow and Revival, Gillespie’s second restaurant slated to open in Decatur this month, ensure smart expansion for future development and provide consulting services to other food and beverage start-ups.

“Trying to figure out how I would split my time between my two restaurants prompted me to ask myself, ‘how do I ensure that Gunshow doesn’t fall off course when I’m at Revival?’ It was then that I realized we could really benefit from having a single entity to hold our entire team to a certain standard and sustain the values that are important to us,” recalls Gillespie.

By setting these standards, Gillespie will take even better care of his employees with the hopes that his staff will feel like they’re part of a team with forward momentum. He encourages his staff to find the roles that best suit them, and Red Beard Restaurants will allow Gillespie to provide more internal growth opportunities for his team members.

The new company’s primary value is what Gillespie refers to as “learn to be bigger by being smaller.” Gillespie believes that direct connectivity and his day-to-day interactions with guests are what will grow his company to its maximum potential. Remembering this personal contact reminds him to not lose sight of his entrepreneurial spirit. As a result, diners can expect the same quality that Gillespie is known for and then some, because support from the Red Beard Restaurants team frees up more time for him to pursue his creative visions and continue impacting the culinary landscape of the South.

“I think we can make our restaurants better places to work by ensuring everyone and every aspect of this business has a defined place moving forward, so nothing gets overlooked,” he says. “In turn, I will have the opportunity to be even more involved in the things our guests really care about; Red Beard Restaurants gives me the freedom to do what I do best creatively and constantly improve the quality of the food.”

Joining Gillespie as the company’s director of food and beverage is Marco Shaw, a longtime friend and business associate for whom Gillespie worked in Portland, Oregon, at Fife Restaurant. Shaw owned Fife Restaurant for nine years, in addition to owning Full Plate Restaurant in Portland and then Piedmont and Zely & Ritz in Raleigh, North Carolina. Shaw’s successful restaurant ownership and management experience combined with his many executive chef roles make him the most well-rounded candidate for the job.

“I’ve used Marco as a sounding board for all my business choices over the last decade and have always looked to him as an expert,” says Gillespie. “I knew he could bring new energy to our team. Adding him as a key player is truly a slam dunk for us.”

In addition to Gillespie and Shaw, Red Beard Restaurants’ executive team also includes director of development M. Blake Morley, who first worked with Gillespie at Woodfire Grill as the restaurant’s beverage manager. Morley was Gunshow’s opening general manager and, after being promoted multiple times, has since discovered that his real strengths lie in creating and developing new business. Gillespie considers him to be the “person who sees what it will take in reality to make my ideas happen.”

Morley is an example of what Gillespie hopes to achieve for his employees with the creation of Red Beard Restaurants. “Blake is now able to do exactly what he wants because he stayed with our company, which is what our model stands for: bringing talented people on board and giving them what they need to be successful wherever their talents lie. This is what gives our company direction.”

Together, Gillespie, Shaw and Morley have many years of restaurant experience spanning all facets of the industry that they look forward to passing along to those who want to enter restaurant ownership and aren’t fortunate enough to have that same know-how.

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way that we’d like to share with others,” says Gillespie. “When you’re trying to start a restaurant, there are millions of unanswered questions. It’s easy to be misled into thinking you need to spend more money than you actually do. It can be daunting, but I think we’ve proven that it’s possible to successfully open on a small level.”

Red Beard Restaurants will also employ a small sales team to coordinate events held at Gunshow and Revival. Additionally, the company will oversee all of Gillespie’s merchandise ranging from home goods to cookbooks to clothing, so that he can remain closely involved in the design of these products.

With the introduction of Red Beard Restaurants, Gillespie looks forward to more methodical, efficient growth and more calculated expansion in the future. For more information on the company, visit or call 404-380-1886. 

About Chef Kevin Gillespie
Chef Kevin Gillespie's true passion lies in incorporating fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients in all of his dishes. After graduating with honors from the Art Institute of Atlanta, the Georgia native worked in top restaurants in Atlanta and Oregon before opening his first restaurant, Gunshow, in May 2013. In summer 2015, Gillespie plans to open his second restaurant, Revival, in Decatur, Georgia, which promises a fresh take on the traditional, family-style Sunday dinner, with a focus on farm-raised and artisan-prepared ingredients. Gillespie was one of the three finalists on the sixth season of Bravo’s Top Chef” and was voted “fan favorite.” He was named a 2015 semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award and had been a semi-finalist for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award for three consecutive years, nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef and named Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for his outstanding accomplishments in the restaurant industry. As a rising young culinary star who was bringing more than just good food to the table, Gillespie was named one of Mother Nature Network’s top “40 Chefs Under 40” in November 2009 for linking farms to forks and promoting better health for people and the planet. In February 2010, he was honored as one of’s “Top Five Rising Chefs.” In 2014, Gunshow earned the seventh spot on GQ magazine’s list of “12 Most Outstanding Restaurants” and was honored as one of 12 restaurants on Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants of 2014” list. Gillespie released Pure Pork Awesomeness: Totally Cookable Recipes from Around the World in March 2015, a follow-up cookbook to Fire in My Belly, which was selected as a James Beard Award Finalist. Gillespie is a member of Slow Food Atlanta, Southern Foodways Alliance, Chefs Collaborative, Community Farmers Markets Chefs Advisory Board, Georgia Organics and the Society for the Preservation of Traditional Southern Barbecue. For more information, please visit


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