ATHENS, Ga. -- When the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens battle for the National Football League crown Sunday, Athenians will be able to watch the Super Bowl at the restaurant of a Georgia sports legend.
Former Bulldog running back and Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker’s namesake restaurant will open to the public at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Herschel’s Famous 34 Pub and Grill will mark the occasion with a wings and ribs buffet to show off some of its 34 sauces while patrons watch the game on its six 60-inch TVs. Folks can also watch some highlights of Walker’s career, which sprawls from when he ran over Tennesee’s All-American safety Bill Bates in his first game as a Bulldog during the national championship season to a cooking show he did with Dover Downs, the company backing his restaurant.
Walker said in an interview he’s excited to again have a presence in Athens and more so to be building a place for people to work and for friends and families to meet in a city he said is like a home.
“I hope that this is the start of something great,” he said.
George Fiorile, vice president of DD Leisure Management Corp. out of Dover, Del., which owns the restaurant, said about a year was spent developing the unique menu that includes wings in a sauce of Doritos nacho cheese, chicken tenders sandwiched in banana cream-dipped French toast and an “Oh You Herschel Walker” grilled cheese — a concoction that’s a challah bread sandwich filled with bacon, peppers, mushrooms, onions and choice of meat and covered in melted cheese. But they also feature healthier fare, such as the Hail Mary Wedge salad and more, Fiorile points out.
The ingredients will come from Renaissance Man Food Services, Walker’s Savannah-based company.
He notes the iPads on each booth as well that let customers watch Walker’s highlight videos, search the menu, connect on social media and leave feedback for customers.
“This is the flagship,” he said of the concept for the new restaurant. “We want it to be terrific. We want to form that connection with our customer.”
Walker said this restaurant will represent his brand and that he wants it to demonstrate to people that if you work hard, be it at restaurants, athletics or anything else, it can lead to success.
“You can do anything, but you’ve got to work,” he said.
Walker helped the Bulldogs win the national college football championship in his first year as a running back for UGA in 1980. He went on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1982 and spend more than a decade in the National Football League. Walker’s athletic and personal accomplishments will be displayed on the windows and walls of the 110-seat restaurant, according to a release.
On top of the restaurant’s name, the offerings will also pay homage to his jersey number with its 34 sauces for wings and chicken tenders and 34 craft brews on tap, several of which come from Athens’ Terrapin Brewing Co.