Agave & Rye: A modern land where tequila and bourbon hall merge


Agave & Rye – a concept with a focus on unusual tacos and strong drinks – started in Covington, Kentucky, a place on the Ohio River, where country meets cosmopolitanism thanks to a large entertainment district.

The concept itself pays homage to this idea, with an “urban grunge” feel and coveted menu items such as The Crown Jewel Taco with truffled Mac ‘n Cheese and lobster. Craft cocktails range from modern to traditional. Order a margarita then change it up with a whiskey cherry dr. Pepper slushie.

At each of Agave & Rye’s 10 locations, founder / CEO Yavonne Sarber and her team have created a unique aesthetic, which in turn curates between fine art and street art, all of which are tailored to the respective atmosphere. The concept works with various community organizations, such as the Community Improvement Corporation of the City of Hamilton, a location outside of Cincinnati, which was its fourth unit in Ohio and can accommodate 100 guests indoors, 200 outdoors and 50 to 60 community employees employed.

From the point of view of the guests, Sarber emphasizes the idea of ​​an entertaining short vacation.

“We really have the feeling that we have created an escape,” said Sarber, referring to the eclectic mix of atmosphere, food and drink, where guests are invited to let off steam and play a little. “We started to refer to Agave & Rye as a ‘playground’. We create something that makes guests leave their homes to experience something amazing and unique. “

Agave & Rye only started in 2018 and quickly reached a double-digit location number.

“When we started in the restaurant business, we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” says Sarber. “A lot of new restaurants are in the same boat as you go out of your way to put your food and surroundings in order while also finding that running a real restaurant is difficult, even when those elements are perfect. ”

Photo: Yavonne Sarber founded Agave & Rye in 2018 and has already grown to 10 units.

Despite the added challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Agave & Rye has maintained a growth mentality that borders on aggressiveness.

“A growth-oriented mindset means in part that you understand that it is difficult … and still you decide to persevere,” said Sarber. “There is so much information available to you in this day and age. Read on to learn more. Knowledge is power. Keep searching and learning and longing for that sense of achievement you get when you learn something new or solve a problem. “

Part of the Agave & Rye ethos is a deep commitment to its people and providing an environment that team members would like to be in.

“We hope to change the way employees see work in a restaurant,” said Sarber. “It’s hard work and can take many hours. The addiction rate among restaurant workers is alarmingly high. We want to change that in our industry and make work something that employees look forward to. “

Agave & Rye now offers health care services, and Sarber said it is also at the top of the salary spectrum. “And it only gets better,” she said.

Agave & Rye has big plans for further growth, but is not resting on its laurels in the creative department. The team is in the development phase of Papi Jocho’s, a new restaurant concept with Mexican street food. Another concept, a rock ‘n roll steakhouse, is also in the works.

In the meantime, franchising and licensing options will be available to employees.

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