Those cravings for Bully Burgers and fresh-cut fries can be satisfied again after Dawsonville’s historic Pool Room reopened Saturday.
“We didn’t have people waiting at the door when we opened, but they started coming in right after,” said Gordon “G.P.” Pirkle Jr., son of owner Gordon Sr. “Everybody’s real happy that we’re open again.”
The Pool Room had been closed since May 9, when revenue agents seized the popular burger joint due to unpaid state taxes.
The family received clearance to reopen in June after setting up a payment plan for nearly $40,000 in delinquent taxes.
They chose, however, to hold off the celebration until some improvements could be made to the diner, which pays homage to native son and NASCAR champion Bill Elliott.
“We put ceramic tile behind the bar, we refaced the bar and put diamond plate on the step to the stools,” Pirkle said. “We repainted, freshened everything up and waxed the floors.
“Everybody has really liked everything that we’ve done in here.”
While there are some aesthetic changes, Pool Room fans can rest assured the beloved eatery’s menu will remain the same, including the daily lunch special announced on the marquee each morning.
Diners will also see a mixture of new and familiar faces on staff, a few of whom joined to be a part of the reopening.
“We have some past employees that were here five and 10 years ago that came back, and we’ve got a lot of new ones, too,” Pirkle said.
Manager Julie Tatum Adams said she is proud to return to the Pool Room, where she worked throughout the 1990s.
“I’m excited. I’ve known the Pirkles for a long time, and now I’m back to help them get the Pool Room back to the way it used to be,” she said.
Describing herself as Pirkle’s “right hand,” she said her No. 1 goal is pleasing the customer.
“We want to please the customers by giving them timely service. Customer service is what this is all about,” she said. “Without our customers it won’t work, and we’re going to make this work.”
If business over the weekend is any indication of future success, then the Pool Room is headed in the right direction, according to Tatum Adams.
“Saturday was very busy and Sunday was steady. A lot of folks passing through on Saturday didn’t even know we’d been closed,” she said Tuesday. “(Monday) we were extremely busy with people coming through from their holiday weekend and a lot of locals, too. I’m expecting our local crowd to be in today, so I’m excited.”
The Pool Room is open daily for lunch and dinner with plans in the next few weeks to also offer breakfast.
G.P. Pirkle Jr. said he wants to thank the community for the kind words of encouragement and support the family has received since the restaurant closed.
“Everybody’s glad we’re opened and we’re glad we’re open,” he said. “I told Daddy he needs to be out here for lunch and for supper to see everybody that comes in. I think the people need to see me or Daddy one here at all times to let people know it’s still the family running it.”
He said a special grand reopening celebration is in the works.
“We don’t have the date set in stone yet, but we’re hoping to have it before the Moonshine Festival (in late October),” he said.
The reopening event will feature a classic car show and cruise-in at the restaurant.
There are also new events planned to benefit the Pool Room, as family members say the restaurant also owes federal taxes.
Jordan Reece, Pirkle’s nephew, was among a group of family and friends that rallied to Save the Pool Room by organizing several fundraisers. The group continues to chase the cause.
“Everyone please remember, even though the Pool Room is back open, we still have a long way to go before it is fully saved,” Reece posted on a Save the Pool Room social media page. “Thank you for your continued support. Please come out to all of our upcoming events.”
Those events include a car show Sept. 29 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and a Murder Mystery Dinner on Oct. 5 at Peach Brandy Cottage. For more information, call 678-617-3307.