You’ll see him at the pass between the kitchen and front counter, or possibly farther back taking inventory, or maybe sitting at a table with his laptop planning upcoming menus for his food truck at Hampton Station or Carol’s Ice Cream Shop across the street.
That list of creative ventures and resulting responsibilities is growing: The bar he’s been planning for the adjacent former Village Grind space will open early May, the food truck has launched a new incubator-type partnership with local hotdog favorite Resident Dogs, and a collaboration with Birds Fly South Ale Project long in the works is taking off.
Truth be told, this isn’t all George is working on, but he’s not quite ready to disclose the rest.
The name for the bar next to GB&D that will have its own identity separate from the restaurant comes from George’s 7-year-old American pit bull rescue.
“Mars is a comfort in my life, and I’d like this bar to be comfortable,” he says.
Mars’ face can already be seen painted along with a dozen other pups on the GB&D restroom wall, but now a geometric version will cover the front of the custom bar.
The cozy, 20-seat space will have its own food menu – a rotation of theme nights such as Chinese bar snacks, TV dinners, and grown-up mac ‘n’ cheese George describes as “better junk food, salty and easy to eat with fruit-forward, fun cocktails.”
Those cocktails will be made with house-made tinctures and bitters, as much seasonal fruit as possible, and won’t be a struggle to drink, he says. The menu will be a mixture of classic and not-so-classic cocktails.
Beginning April 16, GB&D will start serving batched cocktails in the restaurant to tease the bar’s early May opening.
The one day GB&D is closed – Monday – you’ll find George at The Community Tap because Resident Dogs has the Monday night dinner slot.
“There’s no better pairing than hot dogs and beer,” he says.
With that as the motivation, George offered the food cart’s owner, Meredith Bost, a three-month residency at the GB&D food truck parked behind Birds Fly South at Hampton Station.
Combining Bost’s creative toppings with Birds Fly South beer-infused hot dogs made by GB&D butcher James Bryant and house-baked buns using spent grains from the brewery, it’s an ultimate collaboration between the three entities.
George says he hopes this type of short-term incubator will help get locally grown concepts off the ground, with a new concept coming in every three months.
“It’s really important to me for people in Greenville to make restaurants,” he says.
The food truck will offer both GB&D’s and Resident Dogs’ menus Wednesday through Sunday.
Birds Fly South co-owner Shawn Johnson dreamed up the idea of Common Feathers as a name for like-minded businesses who could benefit from each other, share beers together, and continually be involved.
This latest collaboration with GB&D and Residents Dogs has launched that into high gear. The sky’s the limit in terms of what can be done with beer and food – fermentation, reusing barrels to age sauces, infusing hot sauces with beer, and the list goes on.
“We’re both committed to the idea that beer can be a part of GB&D,” Johnson says.
A May 1 beer dinner held in the back of Birds Fly South with a sausage and hot dog-centric menu will serve as a major showcase of the possibilities. Limited tickets for the dinner will be available through Birds Fly South.
“We never stop exploring and never stop pushing,” Johnson says.