CONTRIBUTED BY THE HOUND
Alabama’s famous Bacon & Bourbon concept, The Hound, celebrated its 10th Anniversary on Wednesday, March 16. Commemorating this decade of dining, there will be a week-long program of events and discounts to honor the locally loved restaurant now through Sunday, March 20.
Owners Matt and Jana Poirier, along with partners Executive Chef Robbie Nicolasien and Director of Operations, Kasha Walters, are excited to welcome locals, visitors and regulars to mark The Hound’s place in Auburn history. With 60% of restaurants failing in the first year and 80% failing in the first five, The Hound’s upcoming 10-year celebration in light of a two-year pandemic is cause for a massive celebration.
“Ten years later, we know two things forsure,” said Founding Owner Matt Poirier. “First, the success of The Hound has far exceeded our expectations. Second, that success is because of the wonderful community, customers, employees and partners we’ve had the pleasure of interacting with over this past decade. It is for these reasons that my wife, Jana and I are overflowing with gratitude and want to express our sincerest thanks.”
Matt and Jana first opened The Hound in March 2012. Matt was a California native who left his corporate sales job in San Francisco to open a restaurant designed to be a community-gathering space with his wife, then Jana Caruthers. Jana, with deep family roots in the South, also wanted to create an authentic and warm inviting space that served well-executed, approachable food, with quality cocktails. They thought if they could just get 10 new people a day to walk in their space, they could make the business sustainable. Ten years later, The Hound has served hundreds of thousands of guests.
Located in a historic building, the restaurant has been a consistent hotspot since its initial opening, breathing new life into the community. Designed with family and Auburn in mind, the restaurant echoes Southern hospitality, and features traditional American classics reimagined with heirloom ingredients. Over time, The Hound has become a culinary destination especially for Brunch under the culinary vision of Executive Chef “Robbie” Nicolaisen.
Nearly five years ago, Nicolaisen joined The Hound and has been a staple of the Alabama culinary scene since tying on his Hound apron. Nicolaisen’s background has brought a wealth of experience and creativity to the menu with new signatures such as his Shrimp & Grits, featuring domestically wild-caught shrimp, andouille cream, McEwen & Sons heirloom grits, scallions or his Hillbilly Poutine with hand cut fries, venison chile, sour cream, cheddar, red onions and scallions. Nicolaisen’s innovative menu items such as the “Bacon flight” (a selection of various styles of bacon produced in-house or thoughtfully sourced from crafted artisans) are key to The Hound’s success, as people travel near and far to try his famous dishes.
“The Hound has reached an incredible milestone,” Nicolaisen said. “Our purpose is to provide an elevated dining experience within a warm and welcoming environment without pretentiousness. Our team of passionate and talented individuals are committed to providing innovative, yet approachable, food and beverage offerings, thus, resulting in us becoming a favorite Auburn institution within our community and beyond.”
While Nicolaisen runs the kitchen they’ve partnered with Walters as director operations. Responsible for the day-to-day operations and staff management, Walters and her front-of-the-house team have perfected the art of becoming “home away from home” for many students and travelers coming through town. Actively involved in many community and tourism organizations, Walters knows that community is at the heart of everything The Hound does.
“As we prepare to honor our 10-year anniversary of the opening of The Hound, the feelings of gratitude are palpable in our restaurant,” the Poriers said. “We are beyond honored to have become a cornerstone of the culinary scene in the Auburn community over the last decade. From day one, The Hound has focused on creating a space for our guests to be cared for through approachable yet innovative food, delicious libations and genuine hospitality. It is an incredible feeling to know that we have succeeded at caring for our guests and that our community has held unwavering support for us in return. As we start into our second decade, we are celebrating 10 amazing years but we are also renewing our commitment to our main purpose. We will hold steadfast to our purpose of caring for our guests and our community through the love language we know best: food, beverage and hospitality.”
Inviting the community out to celebrate, guests will enjoy the following culinary and drink specials during the week long festivities:
Wednesday, March 16th – 10 Year Anniversary
Whiskey Wednesday featuring Knob Creek
The Hound’s Select Special
Pappy Party (Chance to win a pour of Pappy 10 year for $10)
Bacon and Bourbon Caramel Popcorn ($10) Thursday, March 17:
Pint Night Specials and a Tap Takeover (4pm – 9pm)
Venison Burger ($18)
Friday, March 18:
$5 Throwback Signature Cocktails (4pm- 6pm)
Lunch: Piggie Smalls Sandwich – ($14)
Dinner: Skirt Steak – MKT
Saturday March 19: BRUNCH *
Featuring $10 Bottles of Mimosas
Steak & Eggs MKT, Cereal French Toast ($13), Gravy Flight $12
*Closed for Private Event on Saturday evening
“We’ve put together an awesome lineup of The Hound’s greatest “culinary” hits for everyone to enjoy and I am incredibly honored and proud to be a part of this restaurant and look forward to celebrating many more,” said Nicolaisen.