Busy as Bees

Posted on
Esther Marr

Already buzzing with energy, when completed Apiary will be swarming with food services

Cooper Vaughan (left) and Tony Yalnazov in Apiary’s catering kitchen. PHOTOS BY ROBBIE CLARK

The revitalization of west downtown has continued in the form of a versatile catering company with an innovative vision for the future. Once an industrial area lined with shuttered warehouses from days gone by, Jefferson Street has slowly but surely been transformed into a dining and entertainment district.

Following the success of other such eateries as Nick Ryan’s Saloon, Stella’s Deli, Grey Goose and Wine + Market, Apiary is the latest food venue to give the former industrial street a new tone.

The definition of the word “apiary” is a collection of hives or colonies of bees kept for their honey. It is a metaphor for the company’s ability to create a bounty of flavors by using authentic, locally grown ingredients.

“There’s a love of craftsmanship for not only us who are producing the food, but also the growers of the food we produce,” explained co-owner and chef Cooper Vaughan. “That love and dedication really does come through in the end product.”

The other collaborators involved in Apiary, which has plans to eventually expand into an event venue and gourmet restaurant, is Vaughan’s father, Derek, who co-owns the facility; head chef Tony Yalnazov; and renowned garden designer John Carloftis.

“It was an idea, and then a lot of creative people have helped it evolve,” Vaughan said of Apiary, which will also feature on-site gardens to grow its own vegetables and herbs.

Apiary’s tasting room is fitted with reclaimed wood and beams.

Apiary’s exterior features and gardens are not fully completed, but inside its main building the catering company functions like a well-oiled machine, and its carefully crafted interior shows the promise of the facility’s future potential.

“The whole project has been in the works for about a year and a half,” said Vaughan, 37, who lives in Lexington with his wife, Mandy, and twin toddler sons, Emory and Cannon.

Apiary, which has six full-time employees and several other seasonal workers, is capable of providing service for a corporate event of up to 1,000 guests, all the way down to an intimate meal for 12 in its onsite tasting room. The company customizes each menu according to its clients’ budgets and culinary needs – from lobster to traditional beef tenderloin, and everything in between.

Apiary, which plans to finish construction by January, exudes a historic aura. Some of its walls are repurposed from an old printing press and cobblestone streets, while some of its doors are reclaimed from a historic schoolhouse. A large, decorative expo table accents the facility’s main kitchen, which is chocked full of shiny, new equipment.

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