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THE DISH: Rick Tanner's Grille & Bar

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman
 Rick Tanner’s in Buford serves up a pulled pork platter with mac and cheese and creamed spinach, a rack of ribs with fries and baked beans and the half chicken dinner with cinnamon apples. 

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Rick Tanner’s in Buford serves up a pulled pork platter with mac and cheese and creamed spinach, a rack of ribs with fries and baked beans and the half chicken dinner with cinnamon apples. 

• Open since: August

• Location: Rick Tanner's Grille & Bar is located in Buford Village, a hub for shops, restaurants and other businesses, near the intersection of Hamilton Mill Road and Buford Highway in Buford. The Buford restaurant is the second Tanner's opened in the past year. The first was in Cumming.

On the menu

• Tanner's Texas beer chili - Piping hot chili under a layer of Wisconsin cheese topped with sour cream and diced onions, $3 for a cup and $4 for a bowl

• Chicken salad croissant - Tanner's chunky tender chicken breast salad mounded high on a fresh, fluffy baked croissant and topped with melted Wisconsin cheddar and jack cheeses, $8

• Dutch apple - A Tanner's original of a marinated grilled chicken breast topped with cinnamon apples and Wisconsin cheeses and served on a bed of rice, $12

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

• Owners: Rick Tanner's Bar & Grill in Buford is a joint venture for Cumming resident Rick Tanner, who started the restaurant brand in 1986, sold it a couple years later and then reacquired the rights to the name in 2000, along with his longtime friend, Gainesville resident Mike "CT" Chartrand, and his nephew, Jeremy Heeren.

• Atmosphere: "Everybody that comes in has got a Tanner's story," Chartrand said.

Indeed, at least three customers dining at the Buford restaurant Monday mentioned eating at a Tanner's location in the past.

"The stories they tell are just endless," said Tanner, who estimated more than half of the restaurant's customers have eaten at one of the previous locations in the late 1980s and early 1990s. "People come in and they don't even look at the menu to order."

The Buford location offers booth, regular and high-top table seating in addition to stools placed around the bar. A banquet room in the rear of the establishment seats 20 to 30 people, while three tables are set up just outside the restaurant for outdoor dining.

• Menu: "Seventy percent of what we sell is from our original menu back in 1986," Chartrand said.

That includes the original, self-basted rotisserie chicken Tanner's is known for, as well as the deep-fried, golden brown chicken fingers.

"Twenty percent of what comes out of the kitchen has a chicken finger on it," Chartrand said. He suggested dipping the fingers in the restaurant's special honey mustard.

But before customers dig in to their entree selections, they might consider Tanner's No. 1 appetizer, the cheesy chicken lips — fried egg rolls stuffed with fresh rotisserie chicken, Wisconsin cheeses and cream cheese and served with a queso cheese sauce.

Also topping the list of customer favorites are the slow-roasted barbecue pork ribs.

In addition to menu items, Chartrand said Tanner's a has a thick book of recipes used for daily specials, anything from chicken spinach lasagna, a fall favorite, to Texas-style brisket, a popular selection with the Sunday afternoon crowd.

• Things you might not know: Plans are in the works for Tanner's to begin brewing its own beer by next summer. Rick Tanner's son, Nick, has been brewing his own beer in his home for about six years.