One of the premier attractions of the recently opened Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar at Town Center in Peachtree Corners is that you can host your own special canine on the patio, and set them up with a bowl of water. Once the local powers permit, you can even order a doggie dinner with grilled hamburger or chicken and brown or white rice with peas and carrots.
But as Fido-friendly as the popular California-based concept can be, it’s the scratch kitchen, sprawling menu, and buzzy happy hour and late bar scene that keep the humans coming back for more.
As you will hear from the management team, founder and CEO Chris Simms had his eureka moment during a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, when he noticed a dog contentedly curled up in front of a fireplace. Simms decided everyone should enjoy life that much. And Lazy Dog was born.
Wyoming figures prominently in the Craftsman-meets-chalet design and decor of the restaurants. Imposing wood beams, rustic stone work, a crackling fireplace, and a fire pit on the patio join portraits of favorite dogs and a pair of metal dog sculptures that flank the pass to the open kitchen to create a cozy getaway atmosphere.
The menu is equally comfortable, and occasionally a bit wacky. Bestsellers include pan-seared jumbo shrimp with cheesy Geechie Boy blue corn grits, BBQ Bison Meatloaf with smoked bacon and red skin potato mash, and the PB and J Burger with candied bacon, havarti cheese, peanut butter, and grape jelly.
Craft beer is a big part of the beverage program, with Southern California’s Golden Road and Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing producing a line of house beers available on draft, plus samplers and crowlers to go. Look for lots of local beers, too. And featured cocktails include the Smoked Maple Bacon Old Fashioned with maple syrup and bacon candy.
As it turns out, Peachtree Corners is the first among several suburban Atlanta Lazy Dog locations planned, with Perimeter/Dunwoody already in the works, and more to come in 2020.
Last week, regional operations director Mike Ogilvie sat down on the Peachtree Corners patio to talk about the past, present and future of the concept.
“I think Chris was going for his own vision,” Ogilvie said, speaking of the genesis of Lazy Dog. “I don’t think he was trying to model anything else. And he was really trying to bring all the warm feelings he had staying and partly growing up in Jackson Hole. I think he really brought a piece of his heart into the concept. And that’s what you’re seeing throughout everything.
“Lazy Dog is a feeling, not an actual dog. But all but two of our locations can serve dogs on premise. It’s been very successful, and very communal everywhere else. And I know the community here is really getting behind us being able to serve dogs on the patio, as well. Right now, we’re just working through the proper channels. And as of now, we can sell to-go food for dogs.”
Speaking about the people menu, Ogilvie allowed that it is really big, ranging from seasonal to happy hour offerings, and everything in between.
“We like to be fresh and relevant, and stay fairly innovative,” he said. “But with that, I think we offer comfort food with a twist. We have very fair portions for a very fair price, so almost everyone leaves with a box. And we have almost a 100% scratch kitchen with seven stations. We even make our condiments in-house, which is something we’re very proud of.
“Typically, our regulars start with some of the classics, like the burgers, pot roast, or pot pie, and then they’ll start venturing into some of our more adventurous dishes. It’s a very big menu, and a lot of love goes into it every single day. There’s probably about 15 starters, and most of those are on our happy hour menu, which I think is a very, very fair offering from $3 to $8. We were really curious to see how our shrimp and grits and our fried chicken would do in Atlanta, and they’re both doing really well.”
Asked about the future of Lazy Dog in Atlanta, Ogilvie said he wasn’t at liberty to reveal anything beyond the Perimeter location. But he did confirm that there will be more than two locations.
“Absolutely. I’m very confident in saying that,” he said. “We do have big plans for the Atlanta market. We’re very, very excited to be here. We really believe in being a part of a community we go into, and we factor that into the trajectory of the company. We want to make sure that everywhere we go, we’re giving back. And so far, the reception has been outstanding.”
5224 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners. 470-735-4501, lazydogrestaurants.com.
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