The Dinner Conversation

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mothers Day Brunch Menu

We are excited to open Dovetail on Mothers Day, May 12th,  for a very special brunch celebrating the moms who made us all into the people we are today!

The Dovetail chefs have come together to create a distinguished, southern inspired, brunch menu that take Sunday favorites and makes them worthy of a mom who deserves something special for all that she's done over the years.

Duck Fat Fried Potato Cake     8
Pimento cheese, grain mustard crema

Avocado Celery Salad     8
Toasted walnuts, grape tomatoes, Southern Swiss feta, lemon tarragon vinaigrette

Grilled Brioche     9
Hint of cinnamon, whipped maple syrup, bacon brown butter, pickled strawberries, micro mint

Ground Bacon Burger     12
On English muffin, fried farm fresh egg, silver medal cheddar, pineapple basil mayo, new potatoes

Corn And Boudin Hash     12
New potatoes, maux choux, grain mustard, soft boiled egg

Fried Chicken Benedict     13
Bacon jam, poached egg, hollandaise

Huevos Rancheros     11
Farm fresh eggs, house made corn tortilla, black beans, salsa verde, queso fresco, Vidalia onion tapenade

Salmon Croquettes     12
Wilted spinach, marinated tomato salad, mustard greens, Caly Road feta

Steak And Eggs     12
Char grilled steak, farm fresh eggs, pomme frites, smoked ketchup

Shrimp Cobb     14
Georgia wild shrimp, chicken skin croutons, Benton's Ham, boiled egg, Southern Blue, grape tomato, red onion, buttermilk herb dressing.

Fresh Fruit     4
Louisiana Crystal Chicken Biscuit     5
Blueberry And Goat Cheese Scones     6
Queso Fresco Red Mule Grits     5

Please make your reservations now. You can make reservations online at
or you can call us at 478-238-4693.

We'll see you soon.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why I Love Living Downtown

A little while ago New Town Macon stopped by The Rookery to interview me. They wanted to know why I loved living in downtown Macon.

The answer is simple, even if it does lead to a long conversation with me gushing over downtown Macon.

I love living on the pulse of this beautiful city. Macon is definitely a city that changes from it's core and radiates out. So, whatever happens downtown is fresh and new and it spreads throughout the city.

I have been living in downtown close to 10 years now and the changes I've seen happen over years have been tremendous! 10 years ago the perception of downtown was that it was violent and unsafe. However, at that time for me downtown was full of the most interesting people in Macon. The people who lived in downtown were all like me in that they saw the beauty of the buildings. We saw the potential for each store front to be filled with places to shop, to eat, or to have fun. We saw the old homes around downtown for all their charm and while others chose the neighborhoods in other parts of the city, beautiful though they may have been, for us there was no question that downtown was home.

We viewed downtown as our own playground. We bonded together as a neighborhood with some streets taking on nicknames for all their residents. Then we began pushing to see the kind of fun we wanted. Before long the changes were starting to show. In time I was able to find work downtown at one of the eateries. I was bartending and serving up great food! It was then I began preaching the gospel of how great it was to live downtown.

Every day, I walked to work enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery. I walked to my favorite spots to hang out with friends who also lived in downtown. There was great music coming in from all over the region, and the local bands all played around downtown. Still, one of the things I would get asked is, "Isn't it unsafe to live downtown? Aren't you scared you're going to get robbed or worse?"

The thought never crossed my mind. I walked the streets of downtown all times of the day and night and all I ever saw were friends. Now, I'm not saying there was no crime. It's just that it was far less than what some people expected it to be.

We were having a great time living downtown but we never rested on our laurels. We had a dream of a thriving downtown to live in and we continued to push to see improvements and more happenings. Others took note of what was happening. Now some of us who started out as young barflys were moving into jobs that could help to expand on our love of this beautiful downtown area we called home.

New businesses were starting to open up. Old businesses, like our very own Rookery, took on new life. Festivals like the Cherry Blossom Festival,
Bragg Jam, and Pan African Festival got better each year. The best part of it all was that it was open for all to see and enjoy. We welcomed each new face we saw in downtown with a smile, a handshake, and the offer to buy them a drink at our favorite bar. We didn't care about race, sexual preferences, economic status, or even if people downright considered you to be weird for whatever reason. In fact, we preferred the weird ones!

Now when I walk these same streets I've been walking for the past 10 years, I have great places to stop and get coffee. They are full of some of the best places to eat in all of Macon. There is still plenty of music to be had and even bigger names have taken note and are starting to stop by venues and events held in downtown. Now people no longer seem to even know of the stigma of being crime ridden that downtown Macon once carried. It has faded away to a bight new day where families enjoy Second Sunday picnics and music at Washington Park thanks to the College Hill Alliance, and where kids of all ages flock to Magnolia Street for the Soap Box Derby each year.

Now, we know for sure that downtown Macon's First Precinct has the lowest crime rate in Macon. People feel free to enjoy great activities like the Mulberry Street Market every Wednesday. They flock into downtown to enjoy the food, arts, drinks, and music that has come to represent the celebration of First Friday each month.

The secret of downtown is out! There's no stopping it now as more and more people move into downtown. Even superstars are coming to downtown to hang out! It's becoming natural to see announcements of movies coming to town to film the next big box office hit in Macon. It's almost no big deal when you look over and Harrison Ford is sitting at the next table over at The Rookery eating one of our famous burgers.

Just yesterday I spent the day with Food Network's Emily Ellyn. She is touring Georgia with the Georgia
Cattlemen's Association to find the best burger in Georgia. Her first stop was The Rookery because she had heard about our Rocking Chair Ranch burgers.

And each time someone visits us here in downtown, they return home singing the praises of the Macon. They talk of the good times they had and how beautiful the city was. As a person who has lived in downtown for so long, I am filled with a sense of pride. People love the little area of this town I live in as much as I do!

I was overcome with pride as I sat in the movie theater seeing the Jackie Robinson movie "42" for the first time. As the camera zooms in on what is undoubtedly downtown's Third Street Fountain and Jackie Robinson steps off the bus, downtown Macon had never looked more beautiful to me. As I watched the scene unfold with a giant grin on my face, I could only think, now the whole world can see this beautiful neighborhood I call home!

This is downtown Macon, and I wouldn't live anywhere else!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) Available At The Rookery

We've come a long way at The Rookery when it comes to beer. We've gone from only carrying the old standards of Budweiser and Miller, to carrying lots of Georgia beers, craft beers from across the country, and fine imports from all over the world.

 We first started carrying craft beers because one of our owners, Wes Griffith, enjoyed them so much. As we began expanding our selection past the usual suspects the response was incredible! People started coming to the bar at The Rookery because they heard we were carrying certain beers.

So then it got good to us and we started doing special beer pairing dinners that we called Unveil The Ale. We started that series of dinners off with the first run debut of Dogfish Head's "Miles Davis Bitches Brew" and we paired it with a chicken curry marsala dish. People loved the idea of eating, drinking, and talking about beer.

The next step for us was installing a 10 tap system so we could carry an even more diverse selection of beers. Once we did that, people knew we were serious about beer and we became a beer lovers' destination.

Every now and then we get our hands on some really rare beers that are hard to find around Macon and middle Georgia and our guests call their friends saying, "Guess what The Rookery has down here!"

Justin also likes desserts
Well, one day we got a keg of beer that we didn't order. We started checking invoices and order guides and yep, they sent us this one by mistake. We were making preparations to send it back when one of our bartenders, Justin Cunningham (our resident beer expert) realized what it was and said, "NO! ARE YOU CRAZY!"

Turns out we had a keg of a beer so rare that no one in Georgia south of Atlanta got any in kegs or bottles. People line up at stores when batches are released each year. It's considered by some beer lovers to be a Holy Grail Beer because it is so hard to find. It's Founders Brewery's Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

Founders is a brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan and we've carried a few of their beers over the years. We found a big hit with their regular Breakfast Stout. It reminds you of coffee with hints of chocolate and oatmeal. Well, the KBS isn't just Breakfast Stout aged in a barrel. It's a completely different beer.

KBS has all of the flavors you love in the original Breakfast Stout but it's aged in a Kentucky bourbon barrel for a year. This mellows all those flavors while adding a touch of bourbon to the flavor pallet. This beer is also a serious beer in the strength category, weighing in at a whopping 11.2% ABV.

Beer advocate rated this beer at 100 / 95, and labels it an American Double / Imperial Stout. We are serving this rich stout lover's dream with a 12oz pour in a snifter to allow drinkers to enjoy the characteristics and aroma of the brew.

If you love fine beers and want to check a really rare one off your beer bucket list, come on down to The Rookery and try this amazing beer. It's $12 per glass but it is more than worth it. Plus you don't even have to leave middle Georgia to try one of the most impressive beers you'll ever taste.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pasilla Negro Catfish with Fennel Leek Slaw Recipe

It's been awhile since we've posted a good recipe for everyone to try out, so I took Chef Doug into the kitchen and made him share one of his secrets with us.

He was nice enough to tell me how to make the Fennel Leek Slaw we top our scallops with and a fried catfish recipe that adds a little something special to the flavor. We'd love to hear how the recipe turns out for you when you try it! Enjoy.

Fried Catfish With Fennel Leek Slaw

             Fennel Leek Slaw
1 fennel bulb (reserve fronds)
1 leek (white part only)
¼ cup sparkling cider vinegar
Black Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
1 Tbsp Tupelo Honey
Juice Of 1 Meyer Lemon

Thinly slice fennel bulb and place in bowl.
Pick and reserve green fronds.
Shave leek into mixing bowl.
In separate bowl, whisk together sparkling cider vinegar, honey, lemon juice, black pepper and salt.
Pour liquid over fennel and leek mixture.
Toss with reserved fronds.

Pasilla Negro Fried Catfish

6 Catfish Fillets

1 cup Olive Oil

Fry Mix
2 cup All Purpose Flour
½ tbsp pasilla negro
½ tbsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
Egg Wash
2 Eggs
2 cup water

Mix together flour mixture in bowl.
Whisk together egg and water mixture.
Dredge catfish in egg wash and flour mixture
Pan fry catfish in olive oil on medium high heat until golden brown.
Remove catfish from oil and drain.

Transfer catfish to plate and top with fennel slaw and drizzle with olive oil.

Serve and enjoy!



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Robert McDuffie - McDuffie Center For Strings - Part 1

This is one of the moments I love when it comes to working with the Moonhanger Group restaurants. I am a huge music fan, so to be able to sit down with one of the world's greatest violin soloists was about as good as it gets for me.

Robert McDuffie is a very accomplished musician. He studied at Juilliard. He has toured the world as one of the most sought after violin soloists playing today. He teamed up with composer Philip Glass to record Glass's Violin Concerto No. 2 “The American Four Seasons”. He is the head of Mercer University's McDuffie Center For Strings at the Townsend School Of Music. With all of that, if you ask me, the best thing about Robert McDuffie is, he's from right here in Macon, and he still loves his hometown.

McDuffie just took some of the very talented artists from the Center For Strings to New York where they performed “The American Four Seasons” at Le Poisson Rouge on February 4th.

I sat down to dinner with McDuffie in December around Christmas time. We had a wonderful conversation about music, his career, The Center For Strings, and Macon. This is just Part One in a multi-part conversation with violinist, Robert McDuffie.

RR: I saw you last Saturday at the Grand Opera House. It was really cool that PBS decided to come to Macon to record the concert. But, I'm sure you had a hand in making that happen. How did you do it?

RM: Actually this was a Mercer initiative. The McAfee family, who endowed the Townsend School of Music, wanted to do this for years. When I came on the scene six years ago they were still talking about it. I said, "Let's just be patient. Let's just wait til we have a real product to show." You don't have that second chance to make a first impression so you want it to be really good. It was then that I was dreaming of starting the Center For Strings. I knew it would be good eventually and even just after a few years I thought we sounded good enough to present to the country.

Larry Brumley
When Larry Brumley, the Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications at Mercer, was still at Baylor he used a production company called Brandenberg Productions that did Christmas At Baylor about 8 or 10 years ago. They did really good work. They do a lot of the Boston Pops specials. So they came in and produced the thing. Former musicians who are now heading up the company and had a really good track record. They're very well respected and I liked them a lot.

From what I understand GPB is going to use it as their pledge show December 2013. Then we're just going to just throw it out to 300 PBS channels around the country and see who picks it up. I was honored to be asked to MC the thing. I still love my home town and I'm proud of it. And I want more people to know about it.

**Just then our server, Michael Collins, visited our table to explain the menu. One of the items available for that day was a Southern Style Lasagne. The lasagne was completely crafted in house. It was made with smoked BBQ chipped pork, creamed collards, a ricotta cheese made by our Sous Chef, Dan Couch, corn meal noodles made by our Chef de Cuisine, Brad Stevens, and a tomato sauce made by our Executive Chef, Doug Sanneman. After Michael explained the new items, we turned to conversation on the Dovetail dining room.**

RM: This is a great room.

RR: Thanks. If you could only imagine what this room used to look like. This entire upstairs was all storage and junk and stuff that had been thrown in corners since 1976 when The Rookery first opened. It was nothing but saw dust and dirt. The idea came about after us doing all the Locavore Specials downstairs at The Rookery. People really took on to it so we began to think, 'Why don't we do an entire restaurant like this. We have all that room upstairs.' So we went to cleaning this space out and tearing it out. I wish I could put in your head what this room looked like before because watching it evolve, when the day finally came when it was ready I looked around and said, “I can't believe we did this.”

The coolest part is, the wood around the base of the bar, the wood behind the kudu head -the multicolored slats- and the wood in the wine cabinets in the private dining room is also multicolored, that's all wood where we tore out the floor to build the staircase. So that's all wood that we reclaimed to make some of the fixtures up here.

Amy Schwartz Moretti
RM: I have to tell Amy about this. Amy Schwartz Moretti, who runs The Center, she and her husband Steve Moretti would love this.

RR: Steve actually worked with a friend of mine, Floco Torres. He won the Gateway Macon, Macon Music contest.

RR: Yes he did.

RM: Well what do you think we should order? I'm not going to get too much. I think the tapas sounds like a good idea.

RR: Well my favorite is the Put-Ups. Why don't I order one of those and we can split it and then you can order one of the small plates and I'll do the same.

RM: Well we have to go with the lasagne, don't we?

RR: Go for it!

**As we finished deciding, Michael returned to take our order. McDuffie ordered the Southern Lasagne and I ordered the revamped Duck Breast that now comes with a rutabaga risotto. Sadly, I was so caught up in the conversation that I forgot to take a picture of the Southern Lasagne. Even worse the chefs only ran that dish that one day. - ): sorry! - After the orders were placed we began to talk about how the idea of the Center For String began to first take shape.**

RM: I wanted to bring something really great here. Kirby Godsey, who hired me back in 2004, said, “Just put Mercer and Macon on the national map in music.” Well, obviously not the music that Macon is famous for but classical music. I didn't know what that was going to be.

RR: How long had you been away before this opportunity came up?

RM: Oh, I've lived in New York for 38 years. I moved up there when I was 16.

RR: So, 16, you went to Juilliard and you never left New York. Was the city, for you, everything they said it would be?

RM: And still is. It's a privilege to live in New York. I may play in New York once or twice a year so I don't contribute to the city as a performer. Being a soloist, I'm just traveling most of the time. I've been doing that 30, 35 years.

So we worked out a situation where I would just come down once a month back in 2004 and see what could be done. So, I had my 3pm scotch on the veranda at the 1842 Inn, and played golf with my best friends, and saw my parents and just had a great time but I wasn't doing much because there wasn't much to do. There was a fledgeling string department but they weren't even music majors. They were education majors.

RR: You mentioned that you had your 3pm scotch. What's your favorite scotch?

RM: I'm not a big expert. I'll take a single malt. Glenlivet. I like a Knockando. I keep McCallan at home.

RR: You keep McCallan at home? What year?

RM: I'm cheap. 12!


RR: The reason I ask this is because earlier today Wayne (Temple our mixologist), Chef (Doug Sanneman), and I were talking about an article that I ran across. A guy in Atlanta paid $94 thousand dollars for a bottle of 55 year old Glenfiddich. Glenfiddich made this batch of scotch that they named after the granddaughter of the original Glenfiddich distiller. They've been holding it back. They have some in reserve. On her birthday this year they released a limited number of bottles to auction. At auction, this guy in Atlanta paid $94 thousand for this ONE bottle.

We sat down and we did the math on what it would cost if we had the bottle here and someone wanted one drink.

RM: And?

RR: With our normal percentage of mark-up, it would be $16,000 for one drink.

RM: I would have to borrow that money from Amy Schwartz Moretti, my director, to get that glass.

*more laughter*

RM: That's really crazy.

Well I think the 1842 Inn had Glenlivet. So I would just do my thing.

But then, it could have become a boondoggle for me down here. But I really just love the town. I got tired of hearing, “Macon has such potential.”

RR: Don't we all tire of hearing that.

RM: “It has such great bones. If only we could do something with Macon.” You know, all that kinda of stuff. And I realized how great Mercer was. How impressive both Kirby's and Bill Underwood's visions were for the school.

A lot of people like to say Kirby teed the ball up for Underwood and Underwood hit it 350 yards down the middle of the fairway. Underwood's initiatives were really impressive to me. I felt that if we could get something started here, it would not only help put Mercer and Macon on the map in not only in classical music but in education. We would be part of a rising tide of excellence that was happening. So that's when I decided to make the pitch to the university to start a conservatory for strings.

I identified ten of the top performers from around the country who were at the top of their professions. Concert masters of major symphony orchestras, principle cellists, major soloists, to great pedagogs and they bought into having a conservatory experience but with a specific curriculum that would prepare them for real life.

RR: That is fantastic. When you mentioned that Saturday, I could have jumped out of my seat. I wish every musician had the opportunity to go through that, no matter what the style of music is. To learn, this is what you need to know about what you're getting into. Yes you need to be able to play great music but you also need to know how to write a contract. How to read a contract...

RM: How to negotiate. How to raise money.

Musicians just aren't empowered in the real world. In many ways classical musicians, especially orchestra musicians are taken for granted. I just want my kids to be ready for whatever happens. I don't know exactly what's going to happen but I might be able to predict after having toured as a soloist with orchestras for 35 years and seeing how they work.

You've got a board of directors, a non-profit board, you've got the management, and at the bottom, you've got the musicians. The talent. Hopefully one day it will be inverted where it will be Musicians, board, management.

The chairman of the board of directors of a major non-profit, that's in charge of a symphony orchestra should be a member of the orchestra itself. A board, especially a non-profit board, who actually donates money to be on a board instead of receiving money if you're on a corporate board like American Express. These people want something beautiful to happen in their town, so they want to support the symphony orchestra.

They may not know how to pronounce or spell Prokofiev, or Shostakovich (Don't worry. I didn't know either. I had to look it up. -RR) but they want the right thing to be done and they want the experts to do it. They will follow any pied piper. I think that leader needs to come from the musicians. I think the world is shifting towards self governing orchestras right now instead of having boards and management decide so much.

As great as the musicians unions have been for us, especially during the 50s and 60s when the typical orchestra musician made $5000 a year. The unions saved us. They came in and fought for our rights. They fought for rehearsal rights, you know? It's kind of gone too far the other way now, where musicians are being treated and have allowed themselves to be treated as rank and file employees instead of as artists.

It's gotten to the point where management especially, in many cases are looking at the musicians – who have worked 4 hours a day since they were 6 years old to get to where they are – as airport baggage handlers, or as assembly line workers. They're not. They are artists. Artists who deserve to determine their own future but they need to have the tools to do it.

Nobody has the tools to do it! I went to Julliard I didn't know anything when I came out! I came out, there was nothing.

RR: Well, how did you get over the hump?

RM: Well, there was a much greater margin for error when I came out. Many more slots were available. Orchestras were doing pretty well. The NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) had given a lot of money to orchestras and I think that kind of backfired on them.

I'm talking about the symphonies even though there are so many facets of the music world. The large majority of conservatory graduates end up in symphony orchestras that's why I keep bringing them up.

The conversation continued on with more interesting stories from the world of music. Check back with us soon to read more about what the Center For Strings is teaching its students and where it is headed in the future, from my conversation with Robert McDuffie.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Samuel Adams Barrel Aged Beer Dinner Menu

For years wine has been the go to drink of choice when it comes to pairing with a meal. However, now we see more and more pairings with beer.

Epicurious has a FAQ sheet for how to pair beer with food. If you type "Beer Pairings" in the search on, you get a list complete with what beer to pair with Thanksgiving dinner, beer and cheese pairings, and even what to drink with Kentucky Fried Chicken (I don't really suggest you try this pairing, but who am I to judge if you give it a shot?)

My point is, times they are a'changing! Now more people see beer as a drink that helps accent and highlight flavors in food. We even had a very successful run of dinners at The Rookery called "Unveil The Ale". At "Unveil The Ale" we spotlighted a hard to find beer for this area and paired it with dinner and an album. We all sat around the bar and talked about beer and food. It was a lot of fun, as well as delicious, and informative.

We had been scratching our heads trying to figure out how to revive the dinner and a beer concept when we were approached by a Samuel Adams representative about helping to introduce their new Barrel Room Collection to middle Georgia. It was like lightning struck and we had our answer. Dovetail was going to host our next beer pairing dinner!

We were all excited and bubbling with ideas as we tasted the new beers. Chef Doug Sanneman was shouting out flavors and possible combinations as soon as the beer hit his tongue. We sat down and created a four course meal that starts where it all started for Samuel Adams, their Boston Lager. Then brings you up to date with the brewery by carrying you through three of the new Barrel Room Collection beers.

Dovetail is usually closed on Mondays but for something as special as this we have decided to open our doors to the very special 40 guests who will join us. That's right, this dinner is limited to the first 40 guests who make reservations.

Chef Doug Sanneman and Dovetail present:

Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection Dinner

Course 1: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Pear and Golden Raisin Tartar
bacon marmalade, bleu cheese mousse, shaved toasted pecans

Course 2: Samuel Adams New World Tripel
Lump Crab Salad
macerated kumquats, fennel dressing, micro mint

Course 3: Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red
Dill Crusted Lamb Rack
roasted garlic cauliflower, harissa, caramelized carrots

Course 4: Samuel Adams Thirteenth Hour
Banana Fig Goat Cheese Dumpling
banana ice cream, cardamon creme anglaise, toasted coconut

Dinner is served with a 12oz pour of each beer and is $85 per person. You must make reservations for this special event. Seating is limited to the first 40 reservations. To reserve your seat, call 478-238-4693. You must reserve your spots with a credit card number.

We are excited about this special event and look forward to reserving your spot.
See you soon.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dovetail's Valentine's Day Menu

Chef Doug Sanneman and the rest of the Dovetail chefs have prepared a very creative Valentine's Prix Fixe menu for February 14th.

Guests who joined us for dinner this New Year's Eve are sure to want to have reservations for this special four course dinner. The four course meal is $85, the first course is served with a glass of champagne, and the dessert is prepared by Pastry Chef, Ashley Dunn.

Valentine's Day Menu

Amuse Bouche

Lobster Wellington
picked lobster in puffed pastry, grilled corn, avocado salsa, served with a glass of champagne

Appetizer (Choose One)

Heart Of Palm Salad
heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, artichoke hearts, blood orange vinaigrette

Trio Of Hearts
chicken heart satay, pastrami beef heart, stir fried pork heart

Quail Risotto
Carolina plantation rice, country ham, quail breast, pumpkin seed molé, silver medal cheddar, quail egg

Entree (Choose One)

Coco powder and coffee dusted Kobe flat iron
curry roasted carrots, shaved Brussels sproust, flash fried coconut

Seared Grouper
beluga lentils, spinach, rustic tomato sauce

Roasted Chicken
wild rice risotto, dill carrot cream sauce


Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake
wildflower honey ganache, clementine and grapefruit sauces, topped with a truffles duo and micro mint.

Our regular menu will be unavailable on February 14th. Be sure to get your reservations made early. Call 478-238-4693 to make reservations. You can also book reservations online at

Wishing you a special Valentine's Day.