Episode 069

55 Prime Mooresville

Meet Chef Peter Olsacher

by | Aug 17, 2021

Show Notes:

Update – November, 2021: 55 Prime has re-branded and is now Carolina Gourmet! Same amazing food and service!

In this episode, we’re featuring a new small business in Mooresville that is delivering a chef-driven fine dining experience to your door. 55 Prime was founded by Chef Peter Olsacher in 2021 to provide an alternative to traditional meal prep services for an underserved luxury market. Chef Peter brings 40-years of professional culinary experience to 55 Prime, and a career that has spanned continents. I had the opportunity to sample several of the entrees on the menu, as well as a steak from the butcher shop, and I can tell you that the meals are amazing – exactly what you’d expect from the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant. 

The story of Chef’s career and entrepreneurial journey is one that you’re going to love. Mooresville and the Lake Norman area are lucky to have 55 Prime, and I encourage you to have a go at their menu real soon. It can be found at carolinagourmet.com. For now, enjoy getting to know Chef Peter Olsacher, the founder of 55 Prime. 

 Carolina Gourmet 128 Overhill Drive
Suite 101-A, 
Mooresville, NC 28117

Recommended Reading:

The Soul of a Chef
by Michael Ruhlman

Transcript:

Narrator  
Welcome to The Best of LKN, a podcast featuring the best small businesses and the most influential professionals around Lake Norman, North Carolina. Each week, we spotlight those businesses and individuals that are making a positive impact here in the Lake Norman area. Thanks for joining us, enjoy the show.

Jeff  
Hey, everyone, welcome back to The Best of LKN podcast. We’re glad you’re joining us. First, I want to thank everyone that has signed up for our email newsletter. Our subscriptions have tripled in just the last month and it means the world to us here at The Best of LKN to have your support. As an extra incentive. We’ve been sending our email newsletter subscribers a discount code for a different local restaurant or cafe each week, I hope you’ve been taking advantage of the program, and thanks as always for supporting these local small businesses. If you haven’t already signed up for the email newsletter, it’s really easy. Just go to our homepage at www.thebestoflkn.com, scroll down to the email newsletter signup form, enter your first name and preferred email address and you’re all set. We send the email newsletter out every Sunday, and don’t worry, we’ll never share your email address with anyone else and we’ll never spam your inbox. Thanks so much for signing up. In this episode, we’re featuring a new small business in Mooresville that is delivering a chef-driven fine dining experience to your door. 55 Prime was founded by Chef Peter Olsacher in 2021 to provide an alternative to traditional meal prep services for an underserved luxury market. Chef Peter brings 40 years of professional culinary experience to 55 Prime and a career that has spanned continents. I had the opportunity to sample several of the entrees on the menu, as well as the steak from the butcher shop and I can tell you that the meals are amazing. Exactly what you’d expect from the kitchen of a fine dining restaurant. The story of Chef’s career and entrepreneurial journey is one that I think you’re going to love. Mooresville and Lake Norman area are lucky to have 55 Prime, and I encourage you to have a go at their menu real soon. It can be found at www.55primenc.com. For now, enjoy getting to know Chef Peter Olsacher, the founder of 55 Prime.

Jeff  
In this episode, we’re featuring 55 Prime chef and owner, Peter Olsacher is joining me. Peter, welcome to the podcast.

Peter  
Thanks for having me, Jeff.

Jeff  
How did I do on pronouncing your name?

Peter  
You did really well. Better than average.

Jeff  
Good. I’ll take it. I’ll take that. Chef Peter, thanks for joining me. I’ve really been looking forward to featuring 55 Prime on the podcast and on The Best of LKN. We are recording at your location in Mooresville, and just outside the kitchen, which is an active kitchen. You’re in production today so there might be some background noise but we’ll be fine. Chef Peter, share with the listeners a little bit of your background, a little bit of your bio, where you’re from, you don’t sound like you’re from North Carolina, and a little bit of your career and what led to 55 Prime.

Peter  
All right, well, yes, I am not from North Carolina and I’m not from Georgia. I am actually from Austria, the heart of Europe. My background, I grew up in a very small village in Austria. The village was so small that in our elementary school, we only had three classrooms. The third grade was, half of it was taught by the second grade teacher and the other half was taught by the fourth grade teacher. And growing up there was a lot of fun. And my grandparents had a farm and I loved being on the farm. And what I really loved about it, we only ate what we planted, we only ate what we harvested. There were no strawberries in December. They only were there in the fall when they were ripening. We foraged for mushrooms, we killed and slaughtered our own animals, we processed them, and everything was used all the time. And I think this is really where I fell in love with the cooking, the processing of food. The whole process that you go through in preparing a meal because my grandmother was a fantastic, fantastic cook. Everything was baked in-house, we made our own breads, we cured our own hams and I just really enjoyed it. In Austria, like in many other European countries, when you’re 15 years old, you have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. So that is way too early, and I’m looking at my children, they’re all in their 20s now, but when they were 15, they couldn’t even decide what they wanted to have for breakfast. So, it’s a big decision. And so, at 15 you decide, do I want to learn a trade, or do I want to go further to school and get a college degree. School wasn’t really my thing, so I said, I want to learn a trade, and it was always to become a cook. And in Europe, when you start the trade, when you finish your, what we call the apprenticeship, you’re not going to be on top of your profession, so you would never say, oh, I’m becoming a chef, you always would say, I’m becoming a cook, and then later, eventually work towards the goal of becoming a chef. And you would consider yourself when you are an executive chef in a restaurant or in a hotel. During my apprenticeship, I was very fortunate, because I had the luck to get accepted by a Michelin Star restaurant. It was a hotel restaurant, and going in there, it’s not like cooking in grandma’s kitchen anymore. It’s a little different, it is very disciplined. They are now 15-20 cooks, chefs in the kitchen and you are the one who is picking the herbs, peeling the potatoes, and eventually, the more you apply yourself, the more responsibilities you get. But it’s really learning from the ground up, and an apprenticeship works. If you work in a really good place, you’re going to learn a lot. If you work in a small mom and pop, where you have maybe 15 menu items on the menu, you’re going to be really good on knowing those once you finished after the three years, but you’re not going to know much more. So therefore, part of the apprenticeship is also culinary school. So, every year you work for 10 months, and then for two months at a time, you go to the culinary school, and everybody goes to the same school. And the way it is, I worked in a place that was busy in the summer, it was in the city. But in the winter, there was not that much business. So, you always get drafted to go to school in the wintertime. If you will do an apprenticeship at a ski resort in a hotel, you would go to school in the summer, so it doesn’t interfere with the seasonal height of the business. In school, you learn all the basics. You learn how to make the sauces, you learn how to make the bread, you learn how to butcher an animal, you learn how to set the table, you learn a little bit about nutrition. And we even tossed in French, and I still don’t speak a lick of French. That language just doesn’t work for me. But it makes you more well-rounded. And then after the three years, you take a test and the test is pretty much, you spend half a day cooking in a facility and it’s not only you, it’s typically 10 apprentices at one time, and your meal gets evaluated by three master chefs. And then you spend the afternoon for a couple of hours talking to the master chefs. And they ask you all types of questions about cooking but it’s all still very basic. And then when you pass that exam, then you are a certified cook. So, I did that. And then I worked for a couple of years back in Austria, and I worked in ski resorts during the winter and then I worked on a lake during the summer. And I really enjoyed it. You know, you work at this ski resort, and back home, you always work splits. So, you work say from eight in the morning until two to cover your lunch. And then you have some time off until five. And then you work from five till nine, the dinner service. So, in the afternoon we went skiing, we just had a good time. And yeah, life was really, really good for a young kid. I was still in my early 20s then. And then I had the opportunity to go to Bermuda. It was actually an Austrian, his German partner, they opened a German restaurant in Bermuda, and I found it in the local newspaper. There was an ad and I applied, heard back from them a couple months later, and off I went to Bermuda, only to find out it wasn’t really as advertised. It was slightly different. So, I came from cooking in very high-end places, and when I looked around and said, hey, where are all the other chefs that you told me were here, he is like, no you’re the only one. And I’m like, there was a, there was a wow, not in a good sense. But you know, I had a great time. And at that time, as funny as it may sound, the majority of cooks and chefs on the island, they all were German, they were Austrians, they were Swiss, and of course, British.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
We will all expats. We had a great time. Bermuda is a beautiful island, you go to the beaches in the afternoon, and you went to the pubs, it was just a whole different lifestyle, and I really enjoyed living in Bermuda, then the time came, and when you’re an expat, you need to get a release paper in order to get work at a different place after a year because you always have a contract for a year because it’s also the way your work permit goes. And they didn’t want to give me the release paper. So, it was either work for them for another year or leave, and I decided to leave. And that brought me down to the Cayman Islands. I wasn’t ready to go home then. When I left for Bermuda first it was like yeah, I’m gonna go there for a year, but I just enjoyed it. So, I said, let’s put another year in the Cayman Islands. Honestly, when I went there, I didn’t even know where it was. I had to look on the globe. That was before the iPhones, look at the big map and go oh, right below Cuba, here we go.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
And Cayman I loved, and in Cayman we cooked in some really good restaurants, we cook really, really good foods. And again, all the kitchen staff was from all over the world. Europeans, I cooked with Italians, I cooked with Canadians, Australians, English, even a guy from New Zealand. And we worked hard, we partied hard. And again, there was a sense of since we will all expats, we were all family. And I’ve met some of my best friends in the Cayman Islands, I spent a total of eight years there. And this is now, oh my God, almost 30 years in the past, and we’re still in touch. So, when I see them it’s like, even though I haven’t seen them in years maybe, we hit it off like we just saw each other last week. It’s a really good bond that we have and yeah, it was a really good time. So, in the Cayman Islands, I met my first wife, I’m only married twice, okay. I met my first wife, Christine. And Christine was from the States. We got married and then we wanted to have a family, we wanted to have children. But I just could not see myself raising a family in the Cayman Islands. Because think about living in a little village but you can’t drive away. The Caymans is about 32 square miles. And that’s Grand Cayman, the other two islands are even smaller than that. And when I was there, there was maybe about 20,000 people living there so everything is very small. So, I said, let’s go back to Austria. Because I wanted to ground myself back into the cuisine in European and all that because I didn’t know in the eight, nine years that I was gone, how much did Europe change in food, the styles, and all that. Because that was all before the internet, that was in the early 90s. Yeah, so there was no internet. You couldn’t Google anything. You know? You couldn’t even call your parents on the phone; nobody had a cell phone then.

Jeff  
Right.

Peter  
I remember, to call my parents, I would call them like every month. I had to go to the local post office, and they had a row of phones, pay phones. And you had to tell the teller, hey, I want to make a call to Austria. She’s like, how long? 10 minutes. Okay, and then you gave her the money for the 10 minutes. And then you called and hopefully, somebody would pick up on the other side. So, it was no texting or anything it was very different. So, I wanted to see myself what happened in Europe while I was gone, because my goal ultimately was to come to the United States. And I had the chance to work with a very well-known restauranteur in a city that was very close to where I grew up, where my parents still live, it’s called Klagenfurt. And we created this Mediterranean menu, and the restaurant was called Restaurant Oscar. And within the first year that we opened it up, I actually got a Michelin Star there. In Austria we don’t have Michelin, that’s not the guide that we have. We have Gault Millau, and instead of stars they give you chef hats, but it’s very equal to the Michelin so I always refer to it as Michelin, because people have no idea what Gault Millau is.

Jeff  
Right.

Peter  
So, that was tremendous, because not a lot of people get it. And I worked there for two years. And the thing is, it just beat me up. And when I worked in the Cayman Islands, the Caymans are tax free. In Austria, you pay a lot of taxes. So, we paid a lot of taxes here in the States, but in Austria, Europe, you even pay more. And Austria is a great country, it’s a beautiful country, and it takes care of you from the great cradle, when you’re born all the way to the grave. There is medicine there, there is retirement, there is unemployment, there is all of that. There is very affordable housing if you sign up for it when you are 17-18. And then you may get into that housing when you’re in your mid-20s. Because they’re building apartment complexes and the apartment complexes are very nice. They are beautiful, but they are built by the government. And when you’re on the list, eventually your name comes up. And you get one of those apartments and it’s pretty much your apartment for life. And the rent is very, very low. But since I was gone, I had to rent private, and it was just really expensive. We had our first child while we were there and I was like you know, I’m working my butt off. We’re getting good results, getting the recognition in the restaurant, and that made me feel really good. But at the same time, there was very little opportunities. I saw very few opportunities for us really to get ahead. And I said to my wife, honey, get me my green card. So, six months later, we came to the States. And when we came to the states we settled up in Orlando, that happened by accident. 

Jeff  
The hospitality and tourism capital of the U.S. probably?

Peter  
It is, it is thanks to Disney, thanks to Universal. A lot of people in Orlando work in the hospitality industry. I mean, this is THE industry in Orlando. And I got a job in a really nice hotel, worked there in the fine dining restaurant. Everything was absolutely great. And this little restaurant opened up called Bahama Breeze. And Bahama Breeze was a Darden concept, Darden they own Olive Garden, they own Long Horn, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s Cheddar’s, Yard House, and Seasons 52. And when I was in Orlando, they are based in Orlando, when I was in Orlando, they opened the first prototype of Bahama Breeze. And it was a Caribbean-inspired restaurant. Really big, had about 400 seats inside, outside, patio, live music on the patio. And I went there, and I was like, I was blown away. This was like, it took me back to the islands. And the vibe was tremendous, the food was great. It was very, the authentic dishes were very authentic. And I liked it so much that I went back there the next week and the next week because I just enjoyed it. As it happened, Bahama Breeze opened a second restaurant. And they were looking for what’s called a development chef, somebody who works in the test kitchen, to develop new dishes, to fit on the menu and create the recipes, create the cost, and do all of that. And I got the job, they were looking for somebody with Caribbean experience, but also classical training. And that’s what I did for the past 24 years, I’ve worked for Darden Restaurants, Bahama Breeze, eventually a little for the other concepts as well. And it was a dream job. Because you work Monday to Friday, I saw the company grow from two restaurants to 42 restaurants. I taught culinary classes to all the managers. So, I got to know all the people that are working in the restaurant, give them a little bit of my, you know, the culture that I had, the feelings of the Caribbean and all that stuff. And it was a very, very rewarding time. And well, COVID hit and business in the restaurant industry went down. So, Darden, a big company, you know, there’s a lot at stake, there’s a lot of salary that they carry. So, they offered everybody who qualified, a very, very lucrative payout. And they called it an early retirement. Because only people over 55 qualified for that. So, I looked at it, and I said, you know what, I’m gonna take it, because I always wanted to do something on my own. So, I took the payout. And then I thought, what is it that I’m going to do? And the first thing that I did, I was sitting at home on the couch for like, two weeks. And my wife is like, so is this what’s going to happen now for the rest of your life? And I’m like, I don’t know, I don’t know. And I’m like, I gotta do something. So, I actually started to work. And I like to play golf. So, I actually started to work at the local golf course, in the pro shop. And it took me out of the house like three days a week and I was like, this is awesome.

Jeff  
Was that Orlando?

Peter  
It was in Orlando, yeah. It was a little outside of Orlando, the golf course is called Forest Lake. And so, I worked at the pro shop and while I thought about what is it that I want to do, and the only business I know is the restaurant business. And I said, I didn’t want to open a restaurant, because opening a restaurant, it just takes so much. And it’s a huge financial investment. You need to hire a lot of people, bartenders, servers, cooks. And I also didn’t want to do it in Orlando because Orlando is really oversaturated with restaurants. There’s so much.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
So, Myra, my second wife. She used to live here in this area, in Cornelius before we got married. And she’s like, let’s go up there and check it out. So, we came up here a couple of times. Her three kids, Matthew, one of them who works with me in the kitchen, they’re all in their 20s, but she wanted to come back to be with her family. She is the mom after all.

Jeff  
Sure.

Peter  
And I liked it here. I like the change of season. I like that it’s not 100 degrees with 90% humidity in the summer.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
I like the area; I’m not driving on the highway anymore. I’m driving the side roads, that really reminds me back of Austria, of my childhood. And the people here are just really, really nice. Very nice, very helpful, which is also a departure from Orlando. Orlando, you don’t always find that.

Jeff  
It’s really fast paced in Orlando. Isn’t it? It doesn’t have, there’s no small-town feel in Orlando. 

Peter  
There is no small-town feel. And hardly anybody is from Orlando.

Jeff  
Yeah, yeah.

Peter  
People come from all over the place, you know, there’s a lot of people from the New York/New Jersey area who come there. Especially Orlando, because Disney and Universal provide a lot of jobs, right? And they want to get away from the high taxes and the cold winter. And all around, I mean, you talk to people and say, hey, where are you from? Everybody, almost everybody is gonna say, I’m from Jersey, I’m from New York, I’m from Minnesota, I’m from Miami, I’m from Cuba, I’m from South America, I’m from Austria. You find people from all over the world. But we can’t forget that before Disney got there, what is it, maybe 50 years ago? Orlando was a citrus grove.

Jeff  
Yeah. And Orlando, there are so many really big concepts throughout Orlando. Not a lot of, I’m sure there are quite a few smaller mom and pop restaurants and concepts, but so much corporate in Orlando isn’t there?

Peter  
Especially in the tourist area, yes. In the tourist area it’s mostly corporate. Maybe some small, regional, local chains that are there. There’s one company called Talk of the Town Restaurants. They probably have 15 restaurants, but five different types of restaurants, they have the presence there. But all the local restaurants, you find them in the suburbs. Orlando is not necessarily the city, Orlando. Orlando is what we call I-Drive in the national drive where all the hotels are.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
And then obviously Disney and Universal. And Disney is growing and Universal is still growing and growing. I mean, they all probably doubled if not quadrupled in size over the last 20 years that I was there.

Jeff  
Yeah. So, you make the decision to relocate to the Lake Norman area. You’re living in Mooresville now?

Peter  
Yes, I am.

Jeff  
Okay. And you had to do something right? Sitting on the couch seven days a week wasn’t gonna be an option?

Peter  
It wasn’t, according to my wife. No, it wasn’t an option. For me it was fine, you know. Monday, I play golf on Tuesday, I ride my bicycle. She’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, that’s not the way it’s gonna work. Okay, you gotta be productive, like I am productive. She’s like, not in that way. So, I always wanted to open my own business. And the way it came to be 55 Prime, actually has quite a lot to do with COVID. Because I believe that COVID changed the way people eat, because you couldn’t go to a restaurant for the longest time. Restaurants adapted by doing takeout, by doing deliveries. And people, customers got used to those services. So, we created 55 Prime to deliver high-end, restaurant-quality meals to the comfort of your home. So, we call it in-home dining. You don’t have to leave your house. You can pick the food up at 55 Prime, which is right here in the center of Mooresville, or we are delivering it to your place. And that’s really the big idea behind 55 Prime. So, for lunch, we have sandwiches, and we have salads. All of our sandwiches are made on homemade bread. We bake our focaccia every single day.

Jeff  
It’s actually baking as we speak. It smells amazing.

Peter  
Thank you, thank you. And then we only use high-end quality products, all of our meats from Boar’s Head. I believe in Boar’s Head, they are in my opinion, make the best meats. We have also high-end cheeses, we pick the tomatoes up every week from Josh’s Market, because I was there yesterday, and he has these beautiful North Carolina big tomatoes. And that is important to me because a, I want to be a part of the local community, but also when I go to Josh’s and I pick up those tomatoes, I can pick through them. And it makes such a big difference. If I use a tomato that is really ripe than something that is like still half green and was ripened in a greenhouse and never developed the same flavor. Honestly, I don’t care where I buy a lemon because a lemon is a lemon. But when it comes to lettuce, when it comes to tomatoes, when it comes to peaches, I’m always gonna go to the local place and buy the best quality product that is out there. And here in my opinion that’s Josh.

Jeff  
A few guests have recognized Josh and Josh’s Market in previous episodes, I need to connect with them sometime and get them on the podcast now that you mentioned it.

Peter  
Yeah, you should, it’s a real nice place. They’re actually open seven days a week. And he brings in his growers from all over the place. I believe that Josh, I had never a chance to meet him. But it seems like he’s always on the road somewhere looking for corn and tomatoes, and God knows what.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
But I love that place. Again, it brings me back to my roots. This is the way I did it when I started off my career, we went to the local markets to pick the produce and all that, we had farmers come to us, and it’s the best. So, spend a little bit more money, but you know what you get.

Jeff  
Sure, and what you’re offering here, especially the dinner entrees, the butcher shop, all premium quality, really fine dining that folks can have delivered, or they can pick up to enjoy in their home.

Peter  
Yes, that’s where we want to position us. We want to be in the fine dining segment. And it’s a lot more crowded in the lower price. There are some national chains out there and I can’t compete with them. They have the marketing, they have the name recognition, they have the brand recognition, and there’s always people that are going to buy from them. We wanted to position ourselves in the high-end fine dining because I did not want to compromise myself on the quality of the ingredients that we’re going to use. So, we have a butcher shop, and the butcher shop is really where the word “prime” comes in. Because all the meat that we have in there is prime. We partnered with some ranchers out in South Dakota. They raise Angus and we only take their prime. So, we have strip steaks, we have filets, we have ribeyes, we have some tomahawk steaks, you know the ones with the real big bone on it. And if you want something special, give us a week’s notice, we can get it for you as well. The same as the chicken, our chicken is fresh, never frozen. It’s actually the choice brand. It’s a very good chicken that actually they imported a long time ago from France. And the chicken is all natural, no antibiotics. So, we wanted to do food that not only tastes good, but that is also good for you. So, that’s why we buy those products. That’s why we outsource those products. The salmon that we use is called Sixty South and Sixty South refers to the latitude. It comes all the way from the very, very tip of South America. And the water there is very pristine, full of nutrients and very, very cold. So, the salmon grows a little bit slower, but it develops more fat. And then when you eat it that just adds to the richness and to the tenderness of the fish. So, we pay a premium for it and we charge good money for it. But at the same time, we’re delivering something to you that is of superior quality.

Jeff  
And that’s really what your ideal customer, your target market, are the customers who are seeking that premium quality, are willing to spend a little more for really top-quality meal prep and butcher shop items.

Peter  
That is very true. That is my targeted customer because I think there’s enough people who can afford our food, all our meal prep items are below $20. And we have a nice variety. We have paella and when we do the paella, we make it the real way. We don’t use Uncle Ben’s. I like Uncle Ben’s but not for paella. We use the Spanish rice called the bomba rice, that is what the Spaniards use to cook the rice for the paella, we use saffron, not a coloring. We use the true ingredients, we cook it nice, we cook it slow. And the other dishes that we have on the menu like we have a shrimp scampi pasta, I made some for you to take home.

Jeff  
I can’t wait to try that.

Peter  
We got some nice big shrimp in there, fresh garlic, and a touch of cream, some fresh tomatoes. And then we have also chicken dishes, we have fish dishes, and then we also have some gluten-free and keto-friendly options as well. You can find it all on our webpage 55 Prime and see. The thing with our concept is, and this is why I say that my food is better than any food that you’re going to pick up from a restaurant or get delivered from a restaurant. And that is very simple. Restaurant food is designed to be eaten in the restaurant.

Jeff  
Absolutely.

Peter  
And restaurant food is great if the chef makes it, and the server immediately brings it to you. Restaurant food changes when you put it in a takeout container where it is sealed. Now the food is hot, it is sealed, it creates steam, and it continues to cook, then you put it in a paper bag for to go. It sits in the car for 15 minutes, half an hour, by the time you bring it home and you open it, it is not hot anymore. There’s no way to do that. It’s not hot anymore, the texture has changed, and if you have a pasta, the pasta itself is going to absorb more of the sauce, so it’s not the same dish that what you get in a restaurant. My food is designed to be taken out.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
And we don’t make anything until the order comes in. So, we developed a system that you can place the order, you place it online on our website, every day before three o’clock in the afternoon. Three o’clock is the cutoff time. When you place your order, shortly after three o’clock, I go into computer, I see all the orders that came in, I print them out, and then I create a prep sheet. And then we start prepping the sauces for the next day. And then we actually cook the meal the day of the pickup. So, for today, we have some, we’re going to make some paella, we’re going to make some salmon on the cedar plank, and some of our other dishes. We also have some butcher shop items, we’re going to cut the steaks for the butcher shop today, they’re not laying around either. And then we deliver between four o’clock in the afternoon, or six o’clock in the evening. Or if you choose to, you can come by during that time as well. And the reason why it’s four o’clock, because it takes us that long to make the dishes for the day. Because we wanted to make everything that is fresh, nothing is sitting around, and we can make the dish specifically for you. If you say hey, I want to make the shrimp scampi, but I don’t like garlic, we make it without garlic. You say you want the extra tomatoes, we put extra tomatoes in there. So, we can make it exactly like you want it, like in a restaurant. You know, you tell the server hey, I want this, but I don’t want that, they can make that. But if you have other meal prep services where they prep it ahead where the food may be frozen and is waiting for you, you can’t make those changes, so we can. And then with the butcher shop, the idea of the butcher shop, I really got, I like to play golf. That’s why I worked on the golf course, right? I’m not great at it, that’s why I’m back in the kitchen. But I go on a golf trip every year. And the first time I go on a golf trip, now that I’m the chef, I get picked to make the first meal of the trip. So, I’m there, I’m running to the grocery store, can’t even find the grocery store, running to the grocery store, get all of the ingredients, I come back, I start my prep, I make the food. Everybody else is sitting around smoking cigars, drinking wine, having a good time, and then four hours later the food is ready and because the guys are drunk, now I got to do the dishes too. And I’m like, there’s got to be a better way. So, the next year I prepped my steaks, but I didn’t cook them, I just cut them. I got my seasonings and made my sauces. I made my mashed potatoes and made my creamed spinach. I brought all of that with me. And then my friend Pauly, all he had to do is microwave the spinach and the potatoes, I cook the steaks, and half an hour later, we had a great meal. And that’s the butcher shop top. You get the proteins raw; they may be marinated; we do marinate the chicken different ways. But all the side dishes, your mashed potato, your sweet mash, your truffled mac and cheese, your vegetables, they come fully cooked. So, it’s very convenient for you when you make those dishes at home.

Jeff  
I love that concept and the research I’ve done is it 55primenc.com?

Peter  
That is correct.

Jeff  
That’s the website. And I love the concept of the butcher shop, the prime meats, because a lot of us do enjoy grilling at home. And you know, we talked about that before we hit record. It’s really a hobby for a lot of folks.

Peter  
Oh, absolutely.

Jeff  
But finding exceptional cuts of meat can be a challenge. And having those side dishes already prepared, you only have to warm them up. And honestly, the side dishes look amazing as well. And probably, certainly better quality than I can prepare myself. So why not? The fun part is grilling the meat. So, yeah, I love that concept. So, we’ve talked about how you place the order. So, if you’re if you’re ordering lunch, though, what’s the cutoff for lunch?

Peter  
Lunch, we start at 10:30 in the morning and it goes until 2:30 in the afternoon.

Jeff  
And they can order same day?

Peter  
Yeah, absolutely. And lunch you actually order via, we partnered with Uber Eats, with DoorDash, and all of those delivery services that are available in the Mooresville area. When you order lunch, you can go either on our website, but we ask you to click on your preferred third-party delivery service, so say, click on Uber Eats, it takes you directly on the Uber Eats website, you have to order on their site.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
And if you go to Uber Eats and you look us up, 55 Prime, then we are showing up on their website as well. So, you place your orders through your third-party delivery service, it comes in, it makes a lot of noise, it rings so we never miss an order. And we have it typically ready within 10 minutes. And those guys are very fast as well. They are showing up typically, by the time we are putting it in the bag, the driver is here. And you get it in live time, just like on any other business you order it, and you get it delivered immediately.

Jeff  
The dinners, the dinner entrees you order the day before by 3pm so you can make your selection for the following day. Is that correct?

Peter  
That is correct.

Jeff  
And the pickup, so your location here is just, I don’t know, two minutes off of Exit 36 of I- 77, just a couple of minutes off the highway, really convenient to get to. Right off 150 and kind of the heart of Mooresville and maybe five minutes from the point and five minutes from downtown Mooresville, so really, really convenient place to pick up, but also the food, the entrees can also be delivered as well. Is that correct?

Peter  
That is correct, yep. The entrees can be either picked up or delivered. And a lot of people actually choose to come by and pick it up and we got very lucky with the location. We looked for quite some time. And we wanted to have something that is central. And Sue Harding, she was our realtor from Newport Properties. She really worked with us, and she found us the space and we feel really, really fortunate about it.

Jeff  
Your dinner entree delivery system or butcher shop also I think uses the same delivery system. Explain that. That’s a more unique delivery process.

Peter  
Yes. So, the way it works if it’s close by we deliver ourselves. So, my wife Myra or I we hop in the car, and we bring it to you. But we also use a delivery service called Roadie. This is a professional service just like Uber Eats or DoorDash and they are delivering the food to you. And the reason why we choose Roadie over Uber Eats is Uber Eats, everything is in real time. But Roadie, we actually pick up the orders from our website, and then we go on the Roadie website, and we put in, okay delivery to this address at this time, and they come to us and then pick it up and bring it over. So, there is a little bit more work involved, but the work is well, I love doing it because I think it just adds to the quality of the food that the guests actually will receive. We also spend a lot of time on packaging. And we found those bags, they’re like a hot/cold bag.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
And we put all of our dishes in there, so they stay cold for up to four hours. So, by the time the delivery gets to you, it’s guaranteed that it’s still cold, that it doesn’t warm up and it’s 90 degrees out there and the car is warm. So, we wanted to make sure that the food gets to you in the best possible condition.

Jeff  
And using Roadie also expands your delivery area.

Peter  
Right.

Jeff  
So, what is your radius? Or what is your range for delivering?

Peter  
The range for delivery is really 20 miles. Which I think it’s quite a lot.

Jeff  
That is, yeah.

Peter  
If you think about it, it’s 20 miles in every direction. So, it’s really 40 miles if you, take us at the center, right? So, we deliver all the way down to Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Denver.

Jeff  
That’s a really good range, really good radius. So, that opens up a lot of opportunity for residents or folks in those communities to also enjoy 55 Prime.

Peter  
The more the better, that’s the goal. The more the better, Jeff.

Jeff  
So, if you’re in Denver or Huntersville you can still order 55 Prime and have your dinner entrees delivered to you. And they’ll be fresh and ready for you to either cook the meats, the proteins, or just warm up the entree, is that correct?

Peter  
That’s all there is. And we have reheating instructions on all of our dishes, on all the meal prep items. We also have a list of ingredients on all of them. And we point out any allergens, so the big allergens like nuts, dairy, eggs, and so forth. Yeah, we want to make sure that people know.

Jeff  
Excellent. Well, I personally can’t wait to try the entrees. So, I can’t wait for dinner time. But a question that I love to ask my guests and just moving on a little bit here is I know that you’ve only been open for about a month here in Mooresville, there’s probably been some local small businesses that have been good friends or partners with you. I’d love for you to recognize a couple if you’re able to think of any.

Peter  
Oh, absolutely. Like I said, when we first moved here, we didn’t know anybody even my wife, she used to live here, but she never worked in the restaurant industry. She’s actually an office manager, and now she manages me around so still the boss. So, that was a big challenge, and I was surprised how many people that we did not know that we had absolutely no connection, were really helpful to us. And it really all started off with Sue Harding from Newport Properties. She is our realtor and she worked tireless to get us the right space and we may not have been the easiest client for her to work with because finding a kitchen is not easy. And finding a kitchen that is central yet also in my opinion very affordable because it does not sit in a location right on the highway, we’re a little bit back, it was fantastic. Then Jeff Wakem, Jeff Wakem from the Hickory Tavern. I know Jeff from probably 20 years past when he was down in Orlando, and you know people in the industry know each other. He’s on Facebook, everybody knows everything on Facebook, right? Then I moved here, and he is like, hey Peter, you need something let me know. And I said, I need a handyman, somebody who can come in here and fix what needs to be fixed because you go into a space there’s always things that are not working the way they’re supposed to, or they are outdated. And Jeff hooked me up with this guy Andrew, from Keeping Carolina Running. And Andrew is a godsend. His motto is, I will always be late, but I always get it done. And that’s the way it is. And the thing is, the reason why he is always late is because the man works like seven days a week. He comes in here, he’s like, I’m coming in on Friday at four, then at 3:30, he’s like, hey, I’m still over in Denver finishing something up. Do you mind me to come tomorrow? And then he shows up on Saturday and gets the things done. And he is one of those guys. I’m, when it comes to fixing things, I have two left hands. I can cook, I can’t fix. But Andrew, he can do anything from piping, electrical work to, I mean, just everything I needed Andrew got it done and he is fantastic. And then obviously, Josh’s Market, I built a nice relationship with them. And buying local, being local is very important to me. And the products that they have there, well worth that I drive to and pick it up, it’s not really far. And the prices that I pay for it, because I know that quality is always going to be a little bit more expensive. That’s also what I base my business on. But I also know that with inferior ingredients, you can’t make great food. With great ingredients it’s easy to make great foods. And that’s the motto I’ve always lived by. I don’t like to put a lot of ingredients in my food. I just like to start off with the best ingredients that I can and compliment them with the seasonings, with the other ingredients that I add to it, rather than overpower everything, and then you don’t know what you’re eating at the end of the day.

Jeff  
I love that philosophy. Starting with great ingredients, cooking great dishes is easy. I’m sure you make it look easy. You have two left hands when it comes to fixing things. I can’t fix things or cook. So yeah, I will definitely have Sue Harding with Newport Properties and Andrew and Hickory Tavern in the show notes as well. Shout outs to them and big thanks to them. Andrew, Keeping Carolina Running, I may be late, but I’ll get it done. That’s understandable, these projects are never, they’re never what they seem over the phone, right so constantly under estimating. I’m sure.

Peter  
I love the guy. Andrew, he’s just a wonderful person. I totally love the guy.

Jeff  
Another question I love to ask my guests would be any reading recommendations or podcasts or online resources for folks that are in either small business or something in the space of personal development, anything like that? Or cooking?

Peter  
For the business, read as much as you possibly can about the topic of the business that you’re getting into. There is a lot of information out there on the internet, you just need to filter through it to, is it true? Or is it just written? Is it just there? I think Business for Dummies is actually a pretty good book to read.

Jeff  
Absolutely.

Peter  
And if you try to do your own business, have a plan, have a plan. And really think it through. I’ve been doing this business for 40 years. But when I started to think about that I’m going to do my 55 Prime, and it’s going to be based on delivery and takeout, I talked to a lot of people, I talked to a lot of people who are in that space. And I listened to them. And I made some changes because of that.

Jeff  
Sure.

Peter  
Because there’s other people who are already in that space that they just know. And going into a business, you doing it yourself, you always have a lot of passion. It is your baby. You want it to be successful. But in the beginning, it takes time, and my advice is if you determine what line of business you want to be in and in what direction you want to take your business, and where you want to play in your space, stick with it. Just because it doesn’t happen in the beginning, don’t change. And I see a lot of people just starting to change. You know, you have a restaurant, and you say, I’m going to do healthy food. Now, it’s not really taking off because people want healthy food, but people also want spaghetti or Fettuccine Alfredo. So, now you put Fettuccine Alfredo on the menu and now you’re confusing everybody. Stick with what you determine is your business and spend your resources on aligning yourself with the right people.

Jeff  
Yeah.

Peter  
We are talking here to a number of realtors, because we believe they have people that they’re selling houses to that, if we can get into that, you know, those are potential future clients of ours, guests of ours. We are also talking to vacation rental homes, especially in the high-end division, because I think that’s a lot of business for us, where people come here on vacation and then you can deliver the meals to them, or the butcher shop items. So, align yourself with the right people, stay patient, and make sure you have a little bit of money extra in your bank account because not a lot of businesses are taking off right away, it may take some time.

Jeff  
It usually takes us longer to start paying ourselves than we expect. So, definitely have those reserves. But and align with, like you said, your ideal referral partners. So, connecting with area realtors, who especially might specialize in the luxury, real estate space. And also, we certainly have an abundance of luxury Airbnb rentals on Lake Norman. So, all would be ideal customers. But also, the prices at 55 Prime are not out of the reach of most people. It’s more than you might have spent in the past on meal prep, but the quality is so much better I think than what is currently available on the market. And it’s really pretty affordable.

Peter  
The prices are very comparable, I would say the prices are actually lower than in your high-end restaurants here, in your better restaurants here. And if you go to a restaurant, you have to hop in your car, you go to the restaurant, then you have your meal, then you have a drink, and then you have to tip your server. With the meal prep the prices of the individual meals are lower than what you would pay in the restaurant. And you don’t have to purchase your beverage.

Jeff  
Your $14 glass of wine?

Peter  
Your $14 glass of wine, $14 Martini, and you know there’s only two ounces of alcohol in there. Right? So, going to a restaurant, if you want to go to a restaurant for socializing, we can’t compete with that. And I think restaurants are still a big social affair. But if you just want to have a great high-end restaurant-quality meal, and you can get it delivered to your house, that’s where we come in.

Jeff  
Absolutely.

Peter  
And I think there’s a lot of space because you don’t want to go out every single day.

Jeff  
No. And I think if one thing we’ve learned, at least we have in our house over the last year and a half is that we’ve actually kind of fallen in love with staying home again. We do love to get out and enjoy some of these amazing restaurants that we have in the Lake Norman area, obviously. But we also enjoy staying in and being able to have that restaurant-quality meals available for delivery or for pickup and to prepare at home is amazing. I think it’s a great concept and we can’t wait. I know we can’t wait in our house to start participating with 55 Prime.

Peter  
All right, I like to hear that. Yeah, I like to hear that. When it comes to reading for aspiring chefs, there is one book that I highly, highly recommend and the book is probably, it’s old, it’s like 15-20 years old, and it’s called The Soul of a Chef and it is written by Michael Ruhlman. And the book has three main chapters. The first chapter is the master chef exam. And the master chef exam here in the United States is the most grueling master chef exam everywhere, way harder than to pass it in France or anywhere in Europe, may have something to do that the master chef exam here in the States was developed by a couple of Germans. There’s only around 60 master chefs in the United States at any given point. Because it takes a week of testing different cuisines, baking, nutrition, how do you develop your food cost and all of that, and it is just super, super hard. There’s only like the passing rate is less than 20%. And the writer follows a group that are taking that exam and see the struggles and the successes going through. But it really resonated with me, because that’s what it takes. And then the second part is about Michael Simon. Michael Simon, a lot of people know him, he’s a big guy on Food Network now. I think he’s actually one of the Iron Chefs. But he has a couple of things out there. But then he was just this really young chef up in Cleveland, who opened his first restaurant, and he was doing great food. And they had a lot of fun. And it was kind of like a brotherhood in the restaurant. And that is the second chapter. And then the third chapter is about the French Laundry and Thomas Keller. And at that time, still is to this day, the French Laundry, is the pinnacle of fine dining here in the United States. And Thomas Keller to all chefs is the master of all chefs is just like the GOAT, you know, he is the Michael Jordan of cooking. But at the same time, he’s also very humble. And he just created this restaurant in Napa Valley that is just heads and shoulders above everything else. And going in there, the preciseness of the cooking that they are doing and the discipline that’s behind it. And I just think all three of them together give you a really, really good idea what it takes to one day to become a great chef.

Jeff  
I appreciate that recommendation. I was looking forward to hearing what you were going to recommend as far as reading for aspiring chefs. So that sounds like an amazing read.

Peter  
It is yeah.

Jeff  
I’ll have a link in the show notes. Chef Peter Olsacher, how’d I do on the name?

Peter  
Fantastic.

Jeff  
Owner of 55 Prime in Mooresville. The website is 55primenc.com. I’ll have that in the show notes, of course. Chef Peter, this has been great. It’s so great to meet you. Thank you for joining the podcast.

Peter  
Jeff, my pleasure. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.

Jeff  
Big thanks to Chef Peter for joining the podcast and sharing the story of 55 Prime. Listeners, you can learn more about 55 Prime at www.55primenc.com. I’ll have that link and the links to the other small businesses Peter recognized in the show notes for this episode. As always, you can find the complete show notes and transcripts for our episodes at the home for Lake Norman’s number one small business podcast www.thebestoflkn.com. Be sure to sign up for the email newsletter while you’re there. We’ll be sending out a discount code for 55 Prime to our email newsletter subscribers in the very near future so sign up soon. Friends, I really can’t say enough great things about 55 Prime. The menu is outstanding, and the quality of the dishes is simply exquisite. I know you’ll be so impressed with the service of 55 Prime, and I recommend you place an order and experience it for yourself very soon. That will do it for Episode 69 of The Best of LKN podcast. Thanks as always for following along and thanks so much for supporting the local small businesses we feature here on our platform. I’ll be back soon with another podcast episode. Until then, cheers Lake Norman. Bye for now.

Narrator  
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Best of LKN. For more information about this podcast, show notes, video episodes, and links to our featured businesses, please visit www.thebestoflkn.com. We publish episodes weekly, so be sure to subscribe and stay up to date. Until next time, cheers Lake Norman.