Owner, Jekyll & Hyde’s Sports Bar & Grill
60 Seconds With Gary Hyde
by Clay Neely
How did you end up in Newnan?
I’m a native of Orlando and moved here in 1998 where I opened Texas Roadhouse as the general manager for 7 years. I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was 18. Started as a dishwasher at a Red Lobster then moved up to general manager by age 22 and spent the next 13 years with them. After working as a training manager for Applebee’s in Port St. Lucie for 6 years, I wound up here.
Did the recent economic crisis affect your business?
I have been running Jekyll & Hyde’s for eight years now. The first few years were very good and then it leveled out for a while and when the economy went south, we stayed steady. But soon, we starting to take a beating. For the last two years, our nightlife has gone down a little bit so our concentration is now focused on providing a strong menu. We’ve always had good food and fantastic wings, burgers and ribs but wanted some fresh stuff that was beyond my capability. I hired Chip Reed as our general manager six months ago to help bring fresh ideas and develop a new menu. We’ve introduced a lot of new craft beers, daily chalkboard specials, and a monthly “tap-takeover” where we provide a local brewery with five of our taps for them to showcase their product to our customers.
What has been the biggest challenge for your business?
You have to be creative and stay fresh. We want a new menu every four months. We’re not easy to see either. That’s been a challenge but word of mouth helps. We still go to Taste of Newnan and people ask me “where are you located” and it’s like “we’ve been here eight years!”
Another challenge we face is being stereotyped as “just a bar.” You can bring your family here and enjoy a nice time. You can watch your favorite sports team, enjoy good food. We try to do a lot of things for the schools and charities. Eventually, if sales stay strong, I’d like to open another restaurant on the Court Square. Like Amy (Murphy, owner of Fabiano’s Pizzeria and The Alamo) said, “the more the merrier.” I want downtown to have so much more to do and see. I hate seeing those empty spaces and want to see more people walking around downtown at night. It makes it feel alive. Newnan is a great town and we have a good life here.