By Kim Zachman
On entering the Grey Goose Players Grill, the first impression is the 19th hole, a golfing euphemism for a bar. Even the name is reminiscent of the high-profile tournament sponsor Grey Goose Vodka. With the long, polished wood bar, tall stools, and televisions displaying ESPN, you might feel like you have to show your score card to enter.
However, besides the sports bar, there’s another side to the Grey Goose, literally. There’s a wall inset with tropical fish tanks between the lounge area and the dining area. Even though the dining room continues the golf theme with green walls adorned with framed prints of gorgeous fairways and players with perfect swings, you don’t feel out of place if you don’t have a handicap. Instead of being cozy and dim, it’s brightly lit, spacious, and casual. Everyone would feel comfortable here.
Originally located on Grey Highway, the Grey Goose Players Grill was opened in 1989. It’s been at its present location on Forsyth Street for several years. In February of 2005, Sonja and Marshall Thompson, and Joe and Sonia Hernandez took over ownership and management of the restaurant. As new owners, they haven’t felt the need to make any major changes. “If it’s working, you don’t fix it,” Sonja Thompson said. “We will be adding a few new menu items, though.”
It’s the popularity of some of the old menu items that has made the Grey Goose a fixture in Macon for 16 years. Their signature dish is the ½ lb. ground chuck “Gooseburger.” Their other best sellers are the grilled chicken salad, fried shrimp, and fried whole catfish. The sandwich choices include most of the classics such as reuben, grilled or fried chicken breast, club, Philly steak, French dip, chili hot dog, and a new item, the Cuban. All sandwiches are served with french fries although you can substitute a salad or baked potato for a small extra charge.
On this occasion, I chose the French dip. It was served on a hoagie bun, with melted Swiss cheese, a small cup of au jus, and fries. The roast was tender and simply seasoned. While I normally prefer roast beef to be medium rare, this fully-cooked roast was so tasty, I forgot my bias. The homemade fries were cut from fresh potatoes and fried in peanut oil. They still had bits of peeling on them and were served steaming hot. The fresh hoagie roll was generously sized, but still small enough to take a bite without straining.
The Grey Goose also has an extensive seafood menu with fried and grilled selections. On the fried seafood list, you can choose from shrimp, stuffed crab, oyster, scallop, and whole catfish. If you’re watching your cholesterol, you can choose grilled tilapia, salmon, or shrimp. There’s also surf and turf with an eight-ounce filet and eight fried shrimp. The seafood dinners are served with hushpuppies and your choice of baked potato or fries, and salad or slaw.
My dinner partner opted for the grilled tilapia with baked potato and slaw. Sprinkled with basic seafood seasoning, the tilapia had a good balance of fish to spices. While not technically over-cooked, it would’ve been better if it had been taken off the grill a couple of minutes sooner. The slaw was a simple blend of cabbage, creamy dressing, and a touch of sugar. The potato was large without being daunting and served with butter and sour cream on the side.
It’s appropriate with a golf theme to have a menu section titled, “The Greens,” and the Grey Goose has a great salad selection. One of their most popular dishes is the grilled chicken breast on a bed of greens, but you can also order almost any of their seafood items on a salad including boiled, fried, or grilled shrimp and salmon.
The appetizer list has the typical “bar food” items such as Buffalo wings, potato skins, mozzarella cheese sticks, and jalapeno poppers. One of the new menu items is chicken quesadillas.
As if that wasn’t enough to pick from, the Grey Goose also offers weekly “home-cooked” specials. Available at lunch and dinner, the meals will include such favorites as country-fried steak, beef tips & rice, and meatloaf. The home-cooked menu will change every week to offer a variety for their regular customers.
If you have any gastric volume remaining after such satisfying meals, which we didn’t, you will be tempted by their Reese’s peanut butter pie, chocolate mousse cake, Key lime pie, and pecan pie.
The children’s menu is packed with the kid favorites such as hot dogs, chicken strips, grilled cheese, and chicken sandwich. There’s even a mini-gooseburger for the smaller players and fried shrimp for the seafood-loving tots. “We have booster seats, high chairs and coloring items for the kids,” Thompson added. “We welcome families.”
The new ban on smoking in public places has had a very positive effect on the Grey Goose. “Now, parents are more comfortable bringing their children,” Thompson said. “Our business has definitely picked up.”
Besides cleaner air, another welcome addition to the atmosphere at the Grey Goose is live music on Tuesday evenings. Local musician, Jerry Bunch will be performing easy listening music from the 70’s and 80’s with his acoustic guitar.
Our service on this occasion was perfectly timed. We were allowed to study the menu, but were not made to wait when we were finally ready to order. Our water was refilled automatically and our meals were served hot. Even though it was a busy evening, our server was friendly, conscientious, and capable, not harried or pushy. She seemed comfortable in her job, a sure sign of experience.
Having an experienced and dedicated staff is one reason the Grey Goose has been around for 16 years. T. Morgan has been the cook for 12 years. Servers Ginger, Suzy, and Anna can each boast of many years of employment. Which comes first? Satisfied employees creating satisfied customers or satisfied customers creating a satisfying place to work. Either way, at the Grey Goose Players Club, everyone is a winner.
- Cuisine: American and Southern
- Price Range: Lunch $4.99–$7.99
- Dinner: $5.99–$17.99
- Reservations: Not necessary
- Alcohol: Wine, beer, and mixed drinks
- Child Provisions: Booster seats, High chairs, children’s menu
- Special Services: Live music on Tuesdays
- Hours: Monday – Saturday | Lunch 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. | Dinner 4:00 p.m.– 10:00 p.m.
4524 Forsyth Road
Macon, GA 31210