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Hogie Joe 's offers a variety from all over

The menu has everything from fried bologna to hand-cut filet mignon.

And while moms everywhere forbid their children from throwing food, kids meals at Hogie Joe's Sports Grill are served on Frisbees.

"We serve everybody from those in flip-flops and shorts to ties. Everybody from 16 to those in their 80s," co-owner Joey Kiel said.

Mr. Kiel and his wife, Amy, and their friend, Mike Hogan, said they've always dreamed of "retiring to the islands and opening a bar." But they couldn't wait.

"So, this is going to have to do right here in Thomson," Mrs. Kiel said with a laugh. "Besides, we got tired of driving to Augusta and spending our money in Augusta."

The menu came from experiencing their love of travel.

"We stole something from everybody, everywhere we've been," Mr. Kiel said.

Nine different burgers topped with every kind of cheese from cheddar, bleu or pimento to grilled cheese sandwiches, are all cooked to order from fresh, never frozen, ground beef. Fifteen different sandwiches are served with crinkle fries, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, pasta salad or chips.

Mrs. Kiel said the Philly cheese steak and prime rib sandwich are the two best sellers after the burgers. Filet mignon, salads, quesadillas and desserts round out the menu. Chef Christie Wilson formerly cooked at White Columns in Thomson. The restaurant has 24 other employees.

When they first opened, some people "had an issue" with the restaurant's alcoholic beverage offerings, Mrs. Kiel said. The list includes domestic and premium draft and bottle beer, wines, cocktails and mixed drinks. "But the word 'bar' is not in our name. We just happen to serve drinks," she said.

"We are no different than Applebees."

True to their name, the sports grill features five flat-screen televisions on the walls, and one more in each bathroom.

"If you're watching the Georgia game, you don't want to wait for a commercial to go to the bathroom," Mr. Kiel explained. "At other places, there'd be a line then, anyway."

One wall close to the entryway is devoted to the McDuffie Arts Council, and features works by the artists for sale. Mrs. Kiel said a different artist is featured each month. And they get a lot of attention, because the restaurant stays busy.

"Everybody has been so supportive and helpful, even the other restaurant owners," Mrs. Kiel said. "We just appreciate it so much."



Web posted on Thursday, June 24, 2010













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