Honoring Grandpa “Chief,” Brian Knight opens grill with family

Published 12:57 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Crackling grease and the comforting smell of fries and hamburgers sizzling on a blacktop greet patrons stepping up to the window to place an order at the newly opened Chief’s Grill. Located at 1378 Zetus Road, it is located right next door to The Funky Monkey and is actually in the kitchen area formerly occupied by The Funky Monkey’s food stand. 

Brian Knight, Bobby Knight, Tina Ruffin and Madison Knight all worked hard in the kitchen as a big order from The Aspen Assisted Living Center in Brookhaven came through. Madison is a trained chef and graduated from culinary school. She and her dad Brian had a dream to open up a restaurant. 

Bobby said Brian loves to cook and is even Tik-Tok famous for his cooking. Wednesday was just a soft opening for the restaurant as they were open from 11-2 but in the first hour patrons steadily stopped by to grab a bite for lunch. Brian paced around the exterior of the building as he waited to get started. 

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“It’s showtime baby. Cooking just runs in the family and it is a really nice and lifelong dream. My daughter and I have talked about this for a long time,” Brian said. “We always talked about opening something one day. Here it is. The beginning. We will get through this day and see where it goes from there. You have to crawl before you can walk. We wanted to try it out and see if it turns into something where we could move into town.”  

Ruffin said they were trying to find a name for the restaurant and settled on the name Chief to honor Brian’s grandfather Robby “Chief” Knight. Robby was a mentor to Brian and died in December 1994. 

Raised in Dentville, located west of Hazlehurst, Robby was in the navy for 30 years and achieved the rank of an E9 Gunner’s Mate Master Chief. Bobby said his father recruited the Brookhaven area two times in his naval career. “Chief” was well known for being a champion skeet shooter and known for his gun smithing. 

“That is where we got the idea from. He loved him,” Bobby said. “When Chief died it was hard on Brian.” 

Chief’s Grill plans to have specials in the future such as jambalaya and barbecue in addition to a menu full of loaded fries, hamburgers, po-boys and other sandwiches. For dessert, the grill offers a cheesecake cupcake with one flavor option being plain and a weekly special flavor. 

Brian said he preaches to his crew the importance of consistency. Food and service at a consistent standard will bring customers coming back. Tina said she is not sure when their grand opening will be but the plan to have their mobile drink stand there and will move to a full hour schedule then. Chief’s is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Saturday this week as they get started.