Megan Ouzts didn’t really want to go out on the town. That’s not what responsible gals attending their third year of law school at the University of Georgia do on a Wednesday night, after all. And besides that, she was the only single member of her friend group—a group that wanted to get a post-dinner nightcap at a bar where Megan didn’t think she’d have a good time. Nevertheless, she tagged along.
“I walked in, and I saw Kevin sitting at the bar. I could see his tattoos and thought, ‘He could be my type!” she says, shaking her head at the serendipitous moment in which she first met her future husband. “It was the gold-medal ceremony and the U.S. women’s soccer team had won. I had played soccer growing up, through high school and college, so I was watching the ceremony. We’d exchanged glances, but he hadn’t said anything, so finally at that point he comes up and says, ‘So, did they win?’ I did everything I could not to say, ‘It’s the gold medal ceremony. Of course they won.’ But I was nice, we struck up a conversation and we were inseparable from that day on.”
Fast forward a few years, and the adorable pair have married, of course. Megan’s working on labor and employment litigation for Atlanta law firm Baker Donelson, and Kevin—who has restaurant experience all over, from Northern California's lauded French Laundry to ATL's own, Restaurant Eugene—has opened The Spotted Trotter on Hosea L. Williams Drive in Kirkwood. The boutique charcuterie had humble beginnings for about 18 months or so, its wares thrown together in rented kitchen space then schlepped around to farmer's markets and restaurants, but things quickly started taking off, so much so that now Megan is devoting her nights and weekends to make sure the business' financials are on track. "We would be nowhere without her," Kevin says. "She runs the backbone of this company. I make what I can with these hands, and she creates what she can with her hands. It's a perfect mix of hopefully something great. She's working more than any human being should be allowed to. To have that is something I'm incredibly looking forward to on a daily basis."
But at the end of each of their very long days, though, the focus remains on the food—meat prepared "the right way," as The Spotted Trotter's website says in big, bold letters. For the Outzts, that means dealing with farmers who treat their animals ethically, and then spreading the good word about those small businesses through their own, primarily by the delicious edibles they serve every week across the street from Coan Park.
"One thing that was great when Kevin was at Restaurant Eugene and on the Slow Food board, was that he had the opportunity to meet a lot of farmers," Megan says. "When you take that experience of seeing how those animals are treated and then you see big agribusiness, it's hard not want to get into the meat business so that you can support what the small farmers are doing and move that forward, make that more important, give it more of a voice, so we can correct how it's being done incorrectly by agribusiness."
Austin L. Ray is a writer living in Atlanta.