Chop House on the bricks in Thomasville, Georgia is owned by Matt and Kimberly Hagel. The Hagel's are long time Tallahassee residents and attended high school together. The two reunited after Kimberly moved to South Florida pursuing her Cosmetology business. Matt made the move to attend culinary school at The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale previously. Kimberly ran a successful Cosmetology and Makeup Artistry business in both Tallahassee and South Florida as a booth renter and freelance artist. She was an educator with AVEDA Tallahassee managing a class of forty students as well as teaching Theory to more than one hundred total students. Kimberly majored in Business Administration at FIU in Miami and Flagler College Tallahassee. This experience taught Kimberly invaluable lessons in customer service and human resource management. Some of the most important lessons Kimberly learned in customer service came even earlier in life watching her grandparents run a chain of up to 11 bookstores and Gift Shops in Florida. "My Grandparents wanted you to feel like a guest in their home when you came into one of their stores. It is a concept my husband and I believe in continuing in our current business venture." Kimberly says. Matt and Kimberly are working owners sharing all business responsibilities while allocating Kimberly to run the front of house and Matt to run the kitchen. This plan began for the couple when they first got together in South Florida, years ago.
Matt has had passion for the culinary field from a young age, he started from the bottom at age sixteen working dishwashing jobs and eventually learning how to cook and how the industry functions. This lead to Matt attending The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and training among some of the most knowledable chefs in the country including Master Chef Klaus Friedenrich. After graduating with his associates degree he mentored under highly skilled chefs including Chef Mark Militello and Chef Mike Fiorelli of Mark's at the Park in Boca Raton, and Chef Brian Rutherford at Bistro Mezzaluna in Ft. Lauderdale. Then Matt helped launch restaurants in Marco Island and Naples, Florida. Relocating back to Ft. Lauderdale he successfully ran Grapevine Gourmet Catering and Bistro 256, the latter earning a Golden Spoon Award from Florida Trend Magazine and a Top Toque Award from South Florida Gourmet Magazine. Matt has been featured in several newspaper and magazine articles and cookbooks. He has been a guest Chef at numerous charity events and functions, as well as Chef appearances on NBC 6 Good Morning Miami and WCTV in Tallahassee. Moving back to Tallahassee he was fortunate enough to establish a strong relationship with the Gwynn's' and Cypress Restaurant, as Sous Chef, Chef David allowed Matt to thrive and hone a style of his own. After several years at Cypress he left to pursue farm-to-table cuisine at The Miccosukee Root Cellar with Ruben Fields where he was able to educate himself on local, organic, and sustainable practices as well as network with dozens of farmers. After many years in the industry, Matt and Kimberly have chosen beautiful, historic, downtown Thomasville Georgia for their first concept restaurant Chop House on the Bricks. After success and local support, Matt and Kimberly strive daily to provide an upscale ambiance as a platform for their New South cuisine and libations.