As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, there are some definite “student favorites” when it comes to eateries in and around the Auburn University campus — Guthrie’s, Cheeburger Cheeburger and the like. I would also add Momma Goldberg’s Deli and every chain fast food place known to man. However, if you’re looking for something a little more unusual or upscale or even trendy, then today’s blog and next Monday’s will provide some recommendations.
This was the #1 recommended must-try restaurant that I heard about from a trusted friend and also learned from “people on the street.” Located at 124 Tichenor Ave., The Hound is located on the street behind Cheeburger Cheeburger, conveniently beside a parking deck. The building used to house a printing company, then a brewery, before becoming this exceptionally popular casual dining spot. When you walk in, you will be reminded of a rustic hunting lodge or even a barn because of the concrete floors, brick, weathered wood walls, cedar plank tables, mounted deer heads and antlers and lots and lots of wood accents. This is NOT a tablecloths-and-cloth-napkins kind of place. It is one that is being fully embraced by students, teachers and returning alums of all ages.
Owners are Matthew and Jana (Caruthers) Poirier. Jana, along with lots of immediate and extended family members, are diploma-bearing Auburn fans. The dream of Matthew and Jana was to return to Auburn and establish a restaurant and bar with (according to their website) a “focus on bacon, bourbon, community, and family.” The bacon, by the way, is actually cured in-house at The Hound. Some of the tables and many of the wood beams and decorative touches throughout the decor were handmade using reclaimed wood and other “finds” from Alabama. A large community table and the hostess stand were crafted by Jana’s father and used in her wedding to Matthew in 2010. Upside-down minnow buckets used as light fixtures add to the lodge/barn feel of The Hound — not to mention the large painting of hounds when you walk in the front door.
Since the Auburn University mascots are the eagle and the tiger, I wondered how The Hound got its name. According to our server, Matthew Poirier fell in love with a restaurant in California during a trip there which was called The Bloodhounds, so he wanted to bring a similar vibe to Alabama. Another California connection is a special spicy pepper sauce that they have shipped in to use in several of the recipes.
The Hound is closed on Mondays. On Saturdays and Sundays, it opens at 9:30 and serves a separate brunch menu. Tuesdays through Fridays it opens at 11:00 a.m. and closes at midnight. For our first visit, Steve and I were there for lunch. He chose the Little Piggy Grilled Cheese with a house salad. This was no ordinary grilled cheese. It consisted of 3 cheeses, some of that house-cured bacon, tomato and brandy ketchup on sourdough bread.
I chose — as a result of feeling that I was in a hunting lodge — the Bison Burger and fries. Naturally, I had to ask where the bison meat came from. Rocky Mountain Natural Meats in Henderson, Colorado provides the lean and very tasty ground bison. It was delicious!!
I suspect that the Poiriers will continue to have great success. They have, in fact, already opened another restaurant — The Depot — which is only a couple of blocks away at the railroad tracks and specializes in seafood. It will be on our must-try list for a future visit.
Prices are well above fast food prices, but so is the taste and quality. We enjoyed The Hound a lot and would certainly recommend it.