Lakeside grad opens casual-upscale restaurant on Fury’s Ferry
If you think Bird Dog Grille is an odd name for a restaurant, you obviously either haven’t been to the Village at Fury’s Ferry eatery or haven’t lived in the area for a very long time.
“I serve healthy food, but comfort food at the same time,” explained Brett Hilton, a 2002 Lakeside High grad. “I knew when I opened the restaurant that I wanted to serve chicken and hot dogs and that’s where I came up with the name.”
The name, however, also works on another level.
“I also thought, within the community, you have Gamecock fans and you have Georgia fans,” he added. “So that went with the name, too.”
Bird Dog Grille has been open almost seven months, serving lunch, dinner and, on Sundays, brunch, with appetizers including nachos, fried pickles and hummus and entrées that include salads, soups, paninis, wings, hot dogs, platters, burgers and more.
This, however, is far from Hilton’s first foray into the world of food. While in Milledgeville at Georgia College and State University, he was the go-to guy when his friends wanted something more than standard college-student fare.
“Yeah, we would cook stuff during the week and grill,” he said. “At that point I hadn’t been to culinary school, so it was just stuff I was making up. I love cooking. I just like the product in the end and the creativity; mixing things up and making it your own. Even when you start with a recipe, you’re adding your own spin to it and it’s soothing. It’s almost like making art.”
After college, Hilton returned to Augusta, where he attended Augusta Tech’s culinary program while working at Longhorns. Once finished, he worked for DiChickO’s Peri-Peri Cafe, where he eventually became manager. And though he’s branched out on his own, he still uses the DiChickO’s Peri-Peri sauce in his many of his dishes, as well as the bird dog sauce.
“That’s basically a perinaise,” he explained. “I just add a little bit of cayenne and some lemon juice.”
Customers, Hilton said, love the food and the atmosphere at the restaurant, which is a little more upscale than you might think from it’s humble, strip-center exterior. They also love the almost nightly specials, which includes kids eat free on Monday, 50-cent wings on Tuesday, all night happy hour on Thursday, and martini night on Saturday.
By far the most popular, however, is Wednesday night’s wine and dine. Customers who order the flat-iron steak, which comes with two sides, get half off bottles of wine.
Specials even extend to outside the restaurant for those who have a Bird Dog Grille sticker on their vehicles.
“If you put it on the back of your car and I see your car at the grocery store or at the gym, I’ll put a flyer on your car and you’ll get a free meal the next time you come in,” he said. “It’s just a fun thing to do.”
Another fun thing that Hilton does is showcase pictures of customers’ dogs. A dog owner himself, he encourages people to email him pictures, which he uploads to a USB card and plugs into one of the restaurant’s televisions. It’s just one more way for Hilton to balance out the more upscale nature of the restaurant. And though Bird Dog Grille isn’t really a sports bar, he does have a projector television that he uses for college football games and, on February 3, a Super Bowl party that will include drink specials and giveaways.
Bird Dog Grille, Hilton believes, is a great fit for an area that is continuing to grow and expand.
“It’s a good location: My parents live out here, I live out here and I feel like things are coming out this way,” he explained. “Hopefully, I’m ahead of everybody else.” Bird Dog Grille
3851 Evans to Locks Road
Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight;
Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
706-814-5007| birddoggrille.com You Might Also Like: