By Jason A. Smith
McDONOUGH — Kirby Godsey of Macon said he had no idea that his son-in-law, Neil Daniell, would change the name of Chevy’s Diner and Pub in McDonough to honor him.
“It’s the kind of recognition that makes you smile,” said Godsey, former president of Mercer University, regarding the newly-renamed KirbyG’s Diner and Pub. “That was very thoughtful of them, a kind thing to do.”
Daniell owns the restaurant, at 45 Macon St., with his wife Erica. He recently announced the change after weeks of submissions from customers to determine the new name.
“It was the name that we all liked the best,” said Daniell. “We actually had several people submit different versions of that name. When we submitted them to be trademarked, there were several names that could not be used. This particular variation of it could be.”
Pam Mehaffey of Rex submitted the KirbyG’s name and won a $500 check when it was chosen in the contest. Mehaffey, who works at the diner as its general manager, said she wanted to do something to honor what she called a “family-oriented business.”
“I just thought it was something that would mean a lot to everybody in the business,” said Mehaffey. “They care about their employees and they care about the community, so I just thought it should be something that reflected all that.”
Changes at the restaurant have already begun in an effort to accommodate growth. Daniell said he has seen a 25 percent increase in sales since announcing the name change.
“When you walk in, it looks a lot different than it did previously,” he said. “We removed the tables that were there, and we added new booths in. It’s very dramatic. It’s a huge change from what it was.”
New KirbyG’s signs for the 1950s-style restaurant will be installed within the next month. Daniell said the eatery will continue to operate under the Chevy’s name until then.
“We’ve had so many challenges trying to get the name trademarked,” he said. “We’re in the final stages of that process. There’s a lot of paper pushing that has to be done.”