“Sometimes I feel guilty saying [we’ve performed well] because I know our brother and sister restaurants across the country haven’t had the experience that we have,” says Sarber who is both the founder and owner of the Kentucky-based concept. “We are ridiculously grateful for our success, but we still understand what’s happening to our industry across the country. And we hope that there is something that we can do about that to give a little more stability and voice to this industry, should something like this ever happen again.”
Although Agave & Rye only celebrated its third anniversary in February, it has already grown to seven units, two of which opened at the height of the pandemic. It’s slated to enter a new market—Huntsville, Alabama—mid-April and then Nashville, Tennessee, not long after that. The brand doubled from three units in 2019 to six in 2020 and is on track for a dozen this year with the goal of 24 locations by the end of 2022.