Redefining the Local Dining Experience
BY: Rachel Fasig
On the railroad tracks in historic Buford, in an old, presumably haunted brick building, stands Tannery Row Ale House – a new restaurant, bar and event facility where the owners and chefs are redefining the local dining experience. The food is fresh and authentic, with an ode to Southern sentimentality. And, with nearly nightly events, a building with rich, long history and an extensive local craft beer list – it is in fact a total experience.
When Brian Campbell, Shane Maxwell, Shannon Maxwell, Fred Messer and Tanya Streetman were looking for the perfect spot to open their restaurant and event facility, the Tannery Row Building became an obvious choice. The group, who also owns and operates In- terstate Poker Club, has years of experience facilitating poker events at local restaurants. “We had the unique opportunity to see the ins and outs of restaurant and event operations, and learned what we did and did not want to introduce to our future restaurant,” said Campbell on how the idea of Tannery Row Ale House came to life.
The menu has items to please the most adventurous foodies to the pickiest of palates. With a 600lb Southern Pride Smoker stocked with cherry and hickory woods out back, the slow-smoked BBQ and smoked wings are menu staples. Some customers prefer the delicious BBQ served the classic way: with Texas Toast and choice of two sides such as mac & cheese, fried okra or BBQ beans. One choice of sides, however, is not so classic; “The sidewinder fries are my favorite! They’re a chip, a potato wedge and a French fry in one…it’s the first new cut of French fries that any restaurant has done in 40 years,” said Shane Maxwell.
Others nod to the chef’s creativity with items such as stone-baked pizza topped with slow-smoked pulled pork, BBQ sauce, collard greens, mozzarella, cheddar and fresh coleslaw. Or a house-made grilled pimento cheese sandwich piled high with slow-smoked brisket, bacon and tomato slices. Managing Partner, Joe Connor, has brought his influence and expertise from Hurricane Joe’s in the Florida Keys – which he formerly owned and operated. In fact, the first item listed on the menu is “Hurricane Joe’s Ceviche.” Connor spent years perfecting his famous ceviche recipe and the response has been outstanding with many customers claiming it’s the best they’ve ever had.
A restaurant that specializes in both BBQ and seafood items is a rarity – but Tannery Row Ale House has it nailed down. They understand that great food is at the heart and soul of their business, but that the events and experiences they offer to the community are equally important. With an increasingly packed and eclectic event calendar, The Tannery Row Ale House team keeps cus- tomers on their toes. What customers can expect though is “the best possible food, best service in the industry and overall best experience around,” Campbell stated.
And, it’s things like the 11 x 18 foot HD flat screen TV that add to that over- all experience. You can see that thing from a mile away! It is literally the largest TV that any bar or restaurant in the Southeast owns. And, we are in the SEC…so yes, game days at Tannery Row Ale House are sacred. On Friday nights, a live band or acoustic performer plays during dinner hours, and then from 10pm – 2am it becomes a 21 and over crowd with a live DJ playing dance music. On Saturday nights, they book live bands to play on the main stage. In fact, the popular Journey Tribute band, Resurrection, from Nashville will be taking the stage on November 22nd.
On weekdays, customers enjoy watching DVDs of live performances from The Rolling Stones, Queen and Bon Jovi to name a few. With the enormous screen and surround- sound, you feel transported back to the live show. And, soon, they will begin weekly family movie nights on the big screen as well. “We’re always being innovative”, said Shannon Maxwell. With plans to play host to weekly “paint night” classes and other private and public events, Tannery Row Ale House is quickly becoming a destination spot for Gwinnett; and not just on the weekends.
They ask you to save the date for the most epic New Years Eve Party that Gwinnett has ever seen. It’s going to be an Old Vegas and Casino Night theme, complete with poker and table games, a champagne toast and complimentary glasses, balloon drop, and live Swing/ Big Band music!
Tannery Row Ale House appeals to all ages and demographics. It is a family-friendly environment and they are even careful to book live entertainment that is appropriate for all ages, during family dining hours. Some events are exclusive to 21 and over, but are typically held in their adjacent event facility ‘The Station at Tannery Row’.
With a beautiful indoor and outdoor space, the allure of the historic building, dance floors, lights, décor, a full bar, delicious food, event staff and a huge list of local vendors – The Station at Tannery Row is quickly fill- ing up with bookings of all types of events. “This is an amazing and unique facility. We have the ability to organize any private event…holiday parties, weddings, corporate events, charity functions, you name it,” said Event Manager, Jason Sillay.
A leather and shoe factory from the 1800s – the building itself lends its history, old Southern charm and nostalgia to the atmosphere. “We’re try- ing to maintain the character and integrity of the building and the history of the town and incorporate that into what we do here,” said Sandy Zimmerman, Event Coordinator. And, Tannery Row Ale House is quickly seeping into the pores of Georgia’s original “Leather City” – a city that is rich in history, yet embracing the change and innovation happening around them.
Tannery Row Ale House
554 W. Main Street • Buford