Bacon and bourbon centered restaurant The Hound hit a milestone this month. They celebrated ten years in business.
“This is special because of how hard we’ve worked to continually get better,” owner Matt Poirier said.
The Hound was first open in March 2012. Poirier and his wife, Jana, moved to Auburn from Matt’s home state of California. They wanted to start a restaurant that was centered around community, Southern cuisine and locally sourced ingredients.
The Hound is located on Tichenor Avenue just beside Auburn City Hall. They have a limited menu, which Poirier and Executive Chef Robbie Nicolaisen both believe contributes to the quality of their food.
“What you got three months ago will hopefully be the same today,” Nicolaisen said.
Poirier and Nicolaisen noted, along with the quality food they provide, that the food they serve is consistent.
“We have a one-page menu,” Poirier said. “And there is no room for something that’s not great.”
In a press release from The Hound, they mentioned the fact that 60% of restaurants fail within the first year, and 86% fail within the first five years. Ten years in business was a thrilling milestone for The Hound.
“For any restaurant, to make it five years is an exceptional goal,” Nicolaisen said. “And to make it ten is just that much more rewarding, and now we’re just trying to make it another ten, twenty, thirty.”
Striving for relevance, creativity and originality is important for a restaurant. But Poirier noted how he would like for The Hound to achieve these things without allowing trends to dictate their success.
“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing without being stagnant,” Poirier said. “I don’t think we’re ever going to be a restaurant that’s chasing all these fads, but we’re still going to stay relevant.”
The originality and comfortable atmosphere are what brings customers into The Hound. Poirier and Nicolaisen shared a reason behind these factors. They agreed that The Hound is both original and comfortable but is not pretentious.
“This is a place where you can come and feel comfortable,” Nicolaisen said. “It’s not pretentious by any means.”
Poirier went further and said that The Hound is approachable. This is due largely to the hospitality of the staff.
“I think the hospitality overall is what keeps people coming back,” Poirier said. “We invest a lot of money and time into service and try to make sure things go well.”
Aside from the service at The Hound, the work done by the chefs also play a huge part in their success.
“People love coming to The Hound because it is consistent and it’s good,” Poirier said.
Nicolaisen, being The Hound’s executive chef, also agreed that the work done by his staff was remarkable. He said that he enjoyed getting to experiment with new flavors and ingredients, all while working with his fellow chefs and helping guide them along.
“Getting to work with new flavors and being able to teach the staff new things are some of the best things about working here,” said Nicolaisen. “I love getting to watch people grow and build their skills and knowledge.”
Poirier also mentioned the complexity of the restaurant business. He said that watching his employees learn their way around was exciting.
“The restaurant business is a business with many moving parts,” Poirier said. “The mentoring part, for me, and making partners have been some of my favorite things with The Hound.”
Poirier said that the leadership team at The Hound was important. He noted that what they do is very impactful on the employees, which is why they always seek to do what is best for all of them.
“Ten years is exciting because of the personal development we’ve made, the people we’ve encountered and the partnerships we’ve formed over the years,” Poirier said.
The impact that Poirier and his team have, particularly on his staff, is substantial. He said that it’s always a good feeling when they work to do what’s best for everyone at The Hound.
“We’re going to focus on what we do well and keep reinforcing those things,” Poirier said. “And we’re going to keep getting better.”
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Tucker Massey, junior in journalism, is the content editor for The Auburn Plainsman.