Get to Know Chef Terry Koval - The Wrecking Bar, The Deer and The Dove, and Side Bar

Get to Know Chef Terry Koval, the executive chef of Wrecking Bar and the forthcoming Deer and the Dove and Side Bar.

Terry Koval has been a fixture of the Atlanta dining scene as executive chef of the Wrecking Bar in Inman Park since 2012. He’s been a proponent of sourcing local produce since long before that, though. It’s no surprise that he was one of the first chefs to embrace Farm’d’s innovative platform.

Terry moved to Atlanta in 2001 to become a chef. He launched his Atlanta career at Buckhead Diner before moving to Canoe in Vinings. He says, “In 2001, we had small farmers coming through the back door during that time, and [we were] buying locally, and sourcing responsibly. So I just thought that was just the way that things happen in these chef worlds.” He quickly found out that wasn’t the case, though. So in 2010 when he took the helm of Farm Burger’s kitchen, he got back to his roots and made sourcing local a priority.

Before Farm’d came along and made buying produce and products directly from farmers easy, Terry would have to go visit the farm first. Questions he would suss out include, “Was it a farm? Was it a garden? Was it a small plot or… what was it?” Meeting with the farmers in person allowed him to build a network of farms to work with at Wrecking Bar, but realistically that was hard to maintain in the longterm, especially when you’re a chef whose time is so limited. He was eager to work with a platform that not only streamlined the ordering process, but also supports farmers by ensuring they get more return per dollar. To Terry, it was a win-win.

Of working with Farm’d he says, “The consistency is always there. If you order something, you know it’s coming. And if it’s not, it’s quickly communicated to you. The product’s always fresh. You can tell.” He goes on to say, “I mean, one great thing about Farm’d is there’s no warehouse. So it’s coming straight from the farm, straight to you, which is great. And you can see that in the product.” Farms that he frequently orders from on Farm’d include White Oak Pastures (Bluffton), Qihe Mushrooms (Newnan), Aluma Farm (Atlanta), and BJ Reece Orchards (Ellijay).

One of the most vital connections Farm’d has allowed him to make, though, is with Southern Swiss Dairy (Waynesboro) and CalyRoad Creamery (Sandy Springs). Until Farm’d, he wasn’t able to connect with a local dairy. Now he’s thrilled to have a consistent supply of local buttermilk, heavy cream, and cheeses.

This practice of working directly with farmers will continue at his forthcoming concepts: a restaurant called the Deer and the Dove, and Side Bar, a coffee and wine bar. They’re opening in the spaces formerly occupied by Cakes & Ale in Decatur this spring. At Deer and the Dove, diners can look forward to rustic dishes focusing on rabbit, duck, and venison. There will also be small plates highlighting produce from the farms he loves working with. Next door at Side Bar, the all day cafe will serve breakfast sandwiches in the morning and progress into drinks and small plates in the evening. Ever the community-focused chef, Terry also hopes to partner with other chefs (visiting and local) for pop-up dinners at Side Bar.

Describing the side-by-side concepts Koval says, “It’s going to be, kind of like a rustic new American cuisine concept. Basically, we’re just going to come in here and cook good food. The ethos doesn’t change the kind of sourcing, and just everything I’ve been doing for the past decade or so.”

Lia Picard