THE DISH: Top Dawg Tavern

Top Dawg Tavern

656 Exchange Circle, Suite 100, Bethlehem


Open since: March 4

Owners: Brett and Renee Summers

Location: Top Dawg is next to the Carmike Gateway 12 theater overlooking Ga. Highway 316 near the Ga. Highway 81 intersection south of Winder.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays

Atmosphere: The owners spared no expense making Top Dawg a quality environment. The wooden floors contain sound-absorbing material to keep the volume down, all of the chairs are made of sturdy metal with comfortable padding and the TVs are big enough to see but small enough to encourage talking with your group instead of reading the crawl on ESPN. In addition to various local memorabilia, one wall is covered with quotations from sports figures, including Herschel Walker, Babe Ruth and Mia Hamm.

"It's a fun gathering place," Renee Summers said. "We have these big tables built so people can come in and enjoy it."

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, Top Dawg offers "flex casual" dining. Orders are placed at the entrance and patrons can sit down with a number and wait for their food -- similar to Zaxby's or Panera Bread Company.

"People don't have as much time on their lunch break," Summers said. "They might only have an hour, and by the time they travel here they might have less. So it's faster for you. But also since you don't have a waitress, it's more economical since you don't need to worry about a tip."

The porch outside is covered and can be screened in when the weather calls for it. The furniture outside is also high-quality, including a round sofa-like seating area for a party of about 10. There are eight bar chairs at two bar sections that can be served from inside, keeping the staff close by.

Top Dawg plans to host special events such as live music and sports watching.

Menu: Classic American fare is Top Dawg's specialty, but the customizable options and extended dinner menu should have something for everyone.

"We have top-your-own dogs, top-your-own burgers and build-your-own salads," Summers said. "So if you come in and you have something specific you want, you have the ability to customize any of those items to make it exactly how you'd like to make it."

Toppings such as mushrooms, avocado and pulled pork are available for the burgers and hot dogs. Cucumbers, celery and grouper are among the items that can be added to salads.

Flatbread pizza has proven to be a popular item as either an appetizer or shareable entree. Country fried chicken, crab cakes and creamy Cajun chicken pasta are some of the extra items available on the dinner menu.

Top Dawg has buttermilk pie -- a homemade dish similar to creme brulee -- and fresh-baked cookies for dessert. The restaurant also offers a full bar, including beer, wine and liquor.

Thing you might not know: Top Dawg offers curbside to-go orders. Tell the employee what kind of car you drive when calling in a to-go order, drive up to the side of the building and you will be served from your car instead of needing to go inside.