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KirbyG’s featured in World Food Championships


By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

  KirbyG’s® Diner co-owner Neil Daniell said his restaurant represents “a good story to tell.”

  “We should be closed by now,” he said. “The 2008 financial crash happened a few months before we opened. From a restaurant perspective, we should not be here.”

L. to r.: KirbyG’s employees, Ashlea Knight and Paige Akins are tempted by a tray of burgers at the 2013 World Food Championships held in Las Vegas, Nevada.            Special photo

  Instead, Daniell is currently a featured blogger on the website for the World Food Champion-ships. He and his staff recently competed with other eateries around the country in the WFC’s World Burger Competition. In his blog entry, he tells the history of the diner, at 45 Macon St., in McDonough, and how he and his staff reached the championships.

  The contest took place in Las Vegas in November 2013. A program dedicated to the competition is set to air July 10 at 10 p.m., on A&E’s new FYI Television Network.

  Daniell and his wife Erica opened their 1950s-style restaurant, then known as Chevy’s Diner & Pub, six years ago. After gaining a strong following of customers, the couple trademarked the KirbyG’s name in December 2012.

  “We’re really on a record pace this year,” he said.

  Daniell credits the quality of the food and the service as crucial factors in the restaurant’s success.

  “The thing that probably sets us apart is that we do handmade hamburger patties,” said Daniell. “Most places don’t do that anymore. A handmade burger does taste different.”

  He said the restaurant’s good fortunes have also resulted in expansions and menu updates in recent years.

  Restaurants must win contests in their respective areas in order to be invited to participate in the WFC. KirbyG’s won the 2013 Best Burger in Atlanta award in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Best of the Big A Competition, thus garnering a spot in Vegas.

  The diner won the same AJC honor in 2012, and was also named the 2008 Top 5 Burger Place on Southside I-285 by

  In his WFC blog, Daniell wrote that his goal – as well as that of other restaurants in the competition – was to win the WFC’s “Hunka Burnin’ Love” award.

  “So, with the decision made to attend, we began to identify and conquer all the obstacles that can prevent you from winning the World Burger Championship,” he wrote. “But, we were also pragmatic. We are a small diner with no professional chefs, no competitions under our belt, and little knowledge of cooking outside the confines of our tiny kitchen.”

  Daniell added that his secondary goal in competing was to learn as much as he could to make KirbyG’s a better diner.

  A maximum of 50 invitations are sent out each year for the championships, said Daniell.

  “I think we finished 27th,” he said. “It’s not great, but it’s not terrible either. We are one of the 27 best places in America.”

  Daniell said he hopes to return to the next WFC competition but that it won’t be an easy task.

  “It will be a little harder next year than this year because the AJC isn’t running the Best of the Big A contest this year,” he said. “We will have to submit recipes or participate in the Battle of the Burgers, which is not until October.”

  For more information on KirbyG’s, visit



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