With spring in full bloom and Mother’s Day weekend around the corner, we at Coclico would like to shine the spotlight on local legend (and our longtime neighbor) Heather Tierney. The creative mind behind countless projects in hospitality and beyond, this award-winning designer is perhaps best known for her popular veggie slaughterhouse the Butcher’s Daughter. Now a neighborhood hotspot, what began as a pet-project has blossomed into a bicoastal empire that just keeps growing! Whether she sports paint speckled coveralls or classic boho chic, Heather finds inspiration wherever she wanders. From the sun-kissed shores of Venice, CA to the cafe-lined streets of Paris, this California mama never stops moving. In this interview, Heather talks travel, style, and finding inspiration in the time-of-covid.
The airport conundrum
I often describe myself as a designer that happens to own bars and restaurants. It’s funny just giving yourself just one title. You know that form that you have to fill out at the airport when you have to write down your occupation? I never know what to write!
The story of The Butcher's Daughter
I started The Butcher’s Daughter in NYC, around the corner from where I used to live - I used to have this fantastic loft on Bowery. I wanted to open a juice bar within a couple of blocks where I lived because there wasn’t one. I guess is started as a pet project that grew into a huge business! I knew I wanted to design it like a butcher shop (except with vegetables instead of meat hanging from the meat hooks). When you juice fruits and vegetables, you butcher them. I came up with the idea of calling it the butcher’s daughter because I created a story in my head…that if there was an old butcher today, his daughter would probably be a vegetarian - you know, because she grew up around all this meat and she’s bored of it. She’s rebelling against her father and she’s really excited about vegetables!
We’re neighbors! Your New York locations are only steps away from our Coclico Williamsburg and Nolita shops. What do you miss most about the neighborhoods?
Gosh I can’t believe I haven’t set foot in New York in 18 months! I’m actually finally flying back next week and I can’t’ wait to walk around the streets and feel the NYC energy! It’s springtime so most people will be out dining in the streets - I definitely miss all the charming little bistros and coffee shops on every corner!
I decided to move to Venice from NYC about 7 years ago. I absolutely love California and have always felt a calling to be close to the ocean. I definitely feel lucky to have been here throughout Covid. Just being able to look at the ocean was a big stress reliever during some difficult times this past year. It has definitely been a rollercoaster ride for restaurants!
My creative process is heavily influenced by my travels…so hence the name Wanderlust for my design agency. When I escape to a foreign place, not only do i get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and work, but I really allow myself to absorb my surroundings, which later brings about ideas in my design process. Occasionally my work brings me to foreign places for design projects too! I recently designed a California-inspired restaurant in Paris called Cali Sisters.
I definitely have two styles - one style I like to call “construction wear” - which is what I find myself wearing most work days. It usually involves coverall jumpsuits or overalls and my air jordans (which most of them are covered in speckled paint). My other style is bohemian chic, which is lots of long dresses and skirts, dressed down with a jean jacket or leather jacket. And of course the jewelry - I'm really into the turquoise squash blossom necklaces right now! I also love the Coclico wedge! It can traverse both of my styles: it looks good with my dresses, but I can also wear them with overalls.
I’ve been working on a plant-based Mexican restaurant concept in the back of my head for awhile now, but Covid gave us the chance to try it out. There was a vacant parking lot across the street from our Venice location of Butcher’s Daughter, which was owned by our same landlord. Because of the alfresco permits that came about during Covid, you could extend your restaurant permits to cover nearby outdoor spaces. I pitched the idea of doing a Mexican pop-up to the landlord, and a few weeks later we were open! The transformation was incredible - we turned an asphalt parking lot into a tropical jungle in 5 days. We trucked in palm trees, desert gravel and created lounge tables out of wood pallets and jute wrapping. The concept has been such a success, we just signed a lease to do a long term location in the Silverlake neighbourhood with a 5000 sq ft garden! That should open in early fall.
What’s next for Heather Tierney?
I’m very excited about our future growth plan for both Butcher’s and Buena. We’re opening a new Butcher’s location in West Hollywood by the end of the year and we’re also in talks with a hotel in NYC.
Bonus question: did you ever end up cuddling burrito the donkey?
Not yet! But visiting Los Cabos and specifically acre hotel to see burrito is still at the top of my list!