Local Diner: The Brick House Eatery
By Bob Canter
Posted: August 10, 2019
Just about every small town in America has one. The local diner. The unofficial town gathering spot. Go there for breakfast on any given day and you’ll find a mini-Who’s Who of the town: the Mayor, the police chief, the editor of the local paper, maybe the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. And regular town folks; lots of familiar faces.
The Brick House Eatery is Monticello’s local diner; that go-to place on the main corner of downtown. If you’re a local, odds are you’ve been there and that you have run into someone you know when you go. For visitors, it’s a well-known Monticello landmark.
The menu and décor reflect the town: Simple, basic food in a simple, basic setting. Familiar and cozy; tasty, not fancy, yet with a surprisingly diverse menu with a Southern flair. Eggs, prepared pretty much any way you want them, with a side of bacon, ham, or sausage. Home fries or hash browns, and toast. Orange juice and coffee. The breakfast menu also features French toast and pancakes, and a variety of omelets. Classic Southern side dishes include grits and biscuits.
The extensive lunch and dinner menu offers an impressive array of options, from the traditional hamburgers, fish or chicken sandwiches, to the standard Club and BLT sandwiches. And there is the eye to the newer and healthier options, as a large assortment of wraps and salad options are featured. Beer and wine are available, and several fun, pub-style appetizers round out the menu: Buffalo shrimp, onion rings, chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks. Fried pickles and fried green tomatoes highlight the Southern-inspired cuisine.
JT Surles is the owner of The Brick House, and it’s clear he takes great pride in his restaurant’s success. A Monticello native, he has owned The Brick House since 2008. Previously a realtor, he got into the restaurant business when the previous owners decided it was time to sell, and as their realtor he was offered the first chance to purchase the business.
Although lacking restaurant experience, JT had enough sense as an entrepreneur to recognize a good business opportunity when he saw one, and he did not let this one get away. His instincts have proven to be right; it’s turned out to be a good decision for everyone.
A dedicated outdoors-man, the 150-pound striped marlin that adorns a wall of The Brick House attests to JT’s acumen as a fisherman. He also owns and operates another well-known Monticello business, Trophy Creek Outfitters, a popular outdoor sports equipment store across the street.
Meeting JT for the first time, you are immediately struck by his youthful energy and enthusiasm. He attributes The Brick House’s continued success and popularity to the basics. “I aim for consistency,” he says. “I want us to be known for fast and friendly service and good food at the right price.” From the looks of the many diners at The Brick House Eatery – both local and visitors – it looks like he has hit his mark.
The Brick House Eatery
190 North Jefferson Street
Open Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.; 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Bob Canter and his wife have been Monticello residents since 2015. Previously, Bob had a career as a public affairs executive for a Fortune 500 company and later as a Chamber of Commerce executive. You can see Bob most mornings in downtown Monticello walking Kona, a retired Racing Greyhound.