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Steaks at the Snug

AMYCHRISTIAN

For 20 years, diners have visited the Bentleys for great beef, seafood and more

It’s a testament to how much diners love the Snug Steak & Grill that business stayed steady during the almost two years it took to expand Walton Way Extension, Davis Road and Bobby Jones Expressway. “Our emergency entrance in the back, that’s how people came in and out,” said owner Kay Bentley when asked how they managed during the construction, which was right outside their front door. “But dinner stayed okay and it was fine. People just had to get used to it.” Turns out, diners will put up with a little driving frustration to get a good steak in a relaxed, homey atmosphere, which is exactly what the Snug offers. Opened by Kay and husband John in November of 1992 and built from the ground up, the Snug is a family run business in the truest sense of the word. Their two eldest sons, Birk and Chris, helped the couple get the business started. “We decided to open a restaurant when Alex and Colin [their younger two sons] were at Episcopal Day School and the older boys were out in Colorado just out of school and working different places,” Kay said. “So we called them and said we are thinking of doing this and would like your help so just think about it. And I think they were thrilled. They jumped on it.” Today, their younger sons, Alex and Colin, do all the cooking and prep in the Snug. Alex also runs the attached Bottle Shop along with his elder brother, Birk. The Bottle Shop is a liquor, wine, and beer store that opened three years ago in space that was formerly reserved for banquets. Throughout the nearly 20 years, Kay and John have remained heavily involved in the day-to-day business. “It’s family,” she explained. “We’re here all the time. It’s really not that different from being home. Our servers are pretty much the only employees we have. Most of them stay here a long time. Last year everyone that started the year with us was still here at year’s end. We had no employee turnover whatsoever.” 9AUGUST2012

The family atmosphere is one they extend to customers, who are invited to come in, sit down and make themselves comfortable. It’s almost like being in the Bentley’s den. “It’s fun and casual and we don’t hurry anyone along,” Kay explained. “Once you get in that cozy booth, you can just sit there and enjoy yourself. You get a server and that is your server. That’s the one you see and that’s the one who’s going to take care of you.” The staff at the Snug definitely takes care of their customers. During the daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m., customers receive two for one specials on well drinks, bottle or draft beers and house wines. They don’t have to be there right on time to get something off the $5.95 top shelf martini list, however, which includes 12 choices from the caramel apple to the Georgia peach, or the $8.95 Patron margarita list. Those are regular prices. Right next to the Snug is the Bottle Shop, a friendly place well worth a trip on its own. “It used to be our banquet facility but when the economy went south in 2008, everything changed as far as banquets were concerned, so we decided to open the Bottle Shop and it has been a very nice addition,” Kay said. “A lot of people will go in there, buy the wine they want and come in here for dinner.” And then there’s the food. Kay and John grew up in the restaurant business and love to experiment, which has produced some of their most popular items including the wildly popular crab dip appetizer. “We invented that,” John said, saying the recipe was created after he and Birk had a similar, but not nearly as good, dish at a restaurant in Northern Virginia. “We invent everything here. It’s well thought out before we put it on the menu.” That includes all the sauces and dressing, which are homemade, and the bread, which is baked in house and has been since they opened. One of the most popular sauces is the blueberry port wine sauce, which has a surprising story.

“Someone came in one night and said he had a blueberry steak sauce at a restaurant in Boston and bet me I couldn’t make a better one and I said I bet I can,” John said. “So I did, and it’s to die for, especially on filet mignon. We top the filet with the blueberry sauce and then sprinkle on crumbled bleu cheese. It’s fabulous. We’ve got customers that say are addicted to it.” Being a steak house, the Snug is naturally known for their filets, ribeyes, prime rib and New York strips, but they do much, much more. In addition to the popular Neptune’s Cow, a NY strip or bacon-wrapped filet topped with shrimp and blue crab sauce, they offer burgers, seafood and a very popular pasta dish called the Cajun Canoe. “Our seafood is very good; we have a great blackened chicken sandwich and fresh salads which are very popular,” Kay said. “So we have a little bit of everything.” Attention to detail in the kitchen and a family atmosphere in the dining room has resulted in a core group of faithful diners that the Bentleys are grateful to have. “We have some really loyal customers, which is nice,” Kay said. “And I hope that it’s because of the food and the atmosphere and the service and because of the way we treat them.” The Snug Steak & Grill 240 Davis Road, Augusta Monday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Reservations recommended, especially on weekend nights The Bottle Shop Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, noon-11 p.m.; Sunday, 12:30-6:30 p.m. 706-863-1118 | thesnug.net AUGUSTA’S INDEPENDENT VOICE SINCE 1989

METROSPIRIT 35

Metro Spirit 08.09.2012  

The Metro Spirit is a free weekly newspaper that serves readers in the Augusta and North Augusta area. Editorial coverage includes Richmond...

Metro Spirit 08.09.2012  

The Metro Spirit is a free weekly newspaper that serves readers in the Augusta and North Augusta area. Editorial coverage includes Richmond...

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