Trust Restaurant Group Takes Over North Park's Heart & Trotter Butchery

August 4, 2020

San Diego's growing Trust Restaurant Group has taken over The Heart & Trotter Whole Animal Butchery in North Park with plans on rebranding the concept.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, local butchers Trey Nichols and James Holtslag opened The Heart & Trotter Whole Animal Butchery in March 2015 on the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and Utah Street in San Diego's North Park. The butcher shop & market eventually expanded to include a patio with a fast-casual eatery component, offering a rotating menu of burgers and sandwiches.

In comes San Diego's Trust Restaurant Group, which started in early 2016 with the opening of Trust Restaurant within design guru Jonathan Segal's Mr. Robinson Building on the outskirts of Hillcrest. The expanding hospitality company was founded by alums of San Diego-based Eat.Drink.Sleep (JRDN, Decoy Dockside Dining), including Co-Owner/Chef Brad Wise, former GM/Managing Partner Steve Schwob, and Pastry Chef Jeremy Harville. In January 2019, the team (with financial backing by local real estate developer and co-owner of San Diego Legion rugby team Ryan Patterson) unveiled Fort Oak within developer Jonathan Segal's The Fort mixed-use building in Mission Hills. This past November, the group unveiled Rare Society, a modern take on the classic American steakhouse. In January 2020, Trust Group opened all-day restaurant, bakery and marketplace Cardellino within the space previously occupied by Brooklyn Girl Eatery in Mission Hills.

Trust Restaurant Group will rebrand Heart & Trotter to become a new concept dubbed The Wise Ox Butcher & Eatery, which is named in homage to Chef and Owner Brad Wise. Set to close on Labor Day for a week-long interior refresh and reconfiguration, the newly branded The Wise Ox will continue to offer choice and prime beef to premium dry-aged beef and wagyu, plus pork, poultry, and seafood, as well as marinated ready-to-cook meats and house-made sausages. In addition to curated grocery items, deli, and craft beer selection, Trust Restaurant Group’s Wine Director Ben Zuba will manage the wine program in keeping with the group’s focus on boutique domestic and international producers. The butcher shop will house an on-site eatery featuring a menu of all custom sandwiches, cheeses and charcuterie.

"Our expansion plans have always included a butcher shop, and the Heart & Trotter location and neighborhood align with our vision for Trust Restaurant Group," said Brad Wise, Executive Chef and Owner. "We go way back with James and Trey and are happy to have the opportunity to take over the space where they’ve built an incredible reputation. We’ll put our own TRG spin on it as more of a family market where locals can shop for quality meats and basic groceries and enjoy casual bites and beverages."

The meat and charcuterie program will be overseen by Ryan Sharpe. Known as the "Meat Guy," Sharpe discovered his passion for protein working with Craig Deihl and Bob Cook of Cypress Restaurant and Artisan Meat Share. The BBQ enthusiast will also work alongside Wise to launch a weekend BBQ menu in the fall.

"One of the positive things that’s come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it’s brought our TRG team closer together," continued Chef Wise. "So, I’m also thrilled to be able to partner with and welcome Ryan to the family. We share the same love for house-cured meats and the art of butchery."

Located at 2855 El Cajon Blvd, The Wise Ox will be open from 10am-7pm Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, visit