As a new grille promises to bring a flavorful menu and fun atmosphere to Evans, a well-known restaurant in Appling recently reopened.
Brett Hilton, a 2002 Lakeside High School graduate, plans to open BirdDog Grille in the Village at Furys Ferry on Friday. The restaurant will offer a mixture of “comfort food and healthy food,” Hilton said.
Hilton said his restaurant began at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.
“I cooked for people in college at my house,” he said. “We would have game-day cookouts and everything.”
After graduating in 2005, Hilton returned to the area and followed his parents’ advice of attending culinary school, which he completed at Augusta Technical College in 2007.
Hilton worked for five years at DiChickO’s Peri-Peri Cafe, an organic restaurant in Augusta, as well as at the Ritz-Carlton and Longhorn Steakhouse.
Hilton said a few months ago he noticed the closing of Tao Asian in the Village at Furys Ferry, once anchored by a Food Lion, on Evans-to-Locks and Furys Ferry roads.
During the past three months, he has worked on turning the former Asian eatery into an “upscale-casual” establishment, adding several flat screen televisions, a bar, an outdoor dining area and a private booth that can be reserved.
The name of the restaurant came about mostly because of Hilton’s first menu selections, which were gourmet hot dogs and chicken dishes. “The menu grew from there,” he said.
BirdDog Grille also will serve burgers, sandwiches, paninis and wraps, wings, quesadillas, soups and salads.
In keeping with the restaurant’s “dog” theme, Hilton is asking people to send him pictures of their dogs to flash on a TV screen and be hung on a wall. The pictures can be posted on the BirdDog Grille Facebook page or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Hilton said he plans to open on Sundays during football season. He also will have games and acoustic music on weekends. “I just want to have a fun place.”
On the other end of Columbia County, Little River Roadhouse has reopened at 6622 Washington Road in Appling.
New owners Sharon Thomas and Suellen Boardman, both of Appling, welcomed their first diners April 13.
With a fryer added to the restaurant, customers can now order french fries, fried fish and shrimp.
The fast-casual atmosphere is a big hit with local residents and those spending time at Clarks Hill Lake, Thomas said.
“Once it was closed, there was nowhere for the locals to congregate and hang out,” she said. “We just decided we couldn’t stand it not being open and we were going to bring it back out for the locals and the community that would be up here at the lake in the summer.”
The restaurant has been repainted and has new tables and bar chairs, she said. It can seat 88 people.
Little River Roadhouse is open from 5-11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon until 10 p.m. Saturday and noon until 9 p.m. Sunday.
New owners also took over a Grovetown restaurant on Wrightsboro Road.
John and Cheryl Edwards recently bought Slightly Different, 5224 Wrightsboro Road, which is now open for breakfast and lunch.
The restaurant’s hours are from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.