Chris and Katie Bragg opened the Iron Fork Café in July 2017 without making a fuss of it.
“We just flipped on the sign,” Katie said.
Instead, they waited one year to have their grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on July 26, 2018.
“We’ve been in the restaurant business long enough to know that you should try to open up quietly and work the kinks out,” Chris added. “So we didn’t do [a ribbon cutting] initially, and then we got so busy so soon, it just never felt like the right time to do a ribbon cutting, so we pushed it to our one year anniversary.”
The Braggs have both been in the restaurant business for a while now, working for Chris’ mother, who owns the Yesterday Café in downtown Greensboro. Chris was head of the kitchen while Katie ran the front of the restaurant.
“We were both managers over there,” Katie said. “So as much experience as we had, we thought, ‘Why not?’”
The Bragg family as a whole has owned a total of four restaurants, including the original Yesterday Café in Rutledge, the Yesterday Café in Greensboro, a breakfast and lunch café called Broad Street Grill in downtown Greensboro that Chris and Katie owned for a couple of years with his mother, and now the Iron Fork Café.
So why another restaurant?
“It’s hard work, but we love it. It’s dedication,” Katie said. “But, I guess I’ve learned that hard work pays off. I’ve been in the restaurant business for 20 years and this is the first time I’ve done it on my own.”
The Braggs decided on the location of the restaurant for a few reasons. The location was evenly placed between Greensboro and Eatonton, making it easily accessible to residents of both cities.
“We saw it a few years ago, before it was available,” Katie said of the space the café is currently in. “We just saw how it’s growing out here, the doctors offices, the communities out here. People need somewhere different to eat.”
They loved the plaza and patio, Chris added, and that the space can seat over 100 people.
“We thought that people at the lake needed some meats and vegetables,” Katie continued. “There wasn’t really a place out here, except for Publix, so we thought ‘why not?’ It’s something different.”
“We have very loyal customers,” Katie said. “We see some people two or three times a week.”
The café’s customers and staff all varied in their favorite dishes. Sriracha shrimp and fried green tomatoes were amongst the most loved entrées.
Katie’s favorite item is the Iron Fork Steak Sandwich, which consists of steak medallions, grilled onions, swiss cheese and a demi glaze on an open face sandwich.
The Iron Fork Steak Sandwich was chosen this year to be on Explore Georgia’s “100 Plates Locals Love” and was the only dish chosen from Putnam County.
“We do lots of specials and those are usually my favorites,” Chris said, specifically mentioning the crabcakes and Mason Jar Crème brûlée. “That’s one of the unique things about being a small business. If it’s not our favorite, we just take it off the menu.”
Because the first year was such a success, the Braggs have big plans for the next year.
“We’ve had some discussions on expansion, just because we’ve already maximized this space,” Chris said. “I would like to get that done this next year, if possible, and add a full bar and a banquet facility. Those are kind of things that I’m both looking forward to and hoping for this year.”