By Anna Grace Moore

Photos by Untold Imagery

Mountain Brook residents have enjoyed upscale dining in an unpretentious environment at Daniel George “dg” Restaurant ever since owner Daniel Briggs and his then business partner George McMillan III opened their doors in August 2000.

“Daniel George was conceived by George and me during our down times as private chefs,” Daniel says. “There was plenty of spare time and desire for new restaurants in our city. We had trained hard and learned a lot from our jobs before, and along with our different styles, it was an opportune time and recipe for a new spot.”

Daniel and George both grew up in Mountain Brook as did Daniel’s longtime friend and general manager, Debbie McKinstry. Daniel and Debbie both graduated from Mountain Brook High School, and their children have grown up together, too.

“I have always been in the restaurant industry,” Debbie says. “I started working at a place that’s not in existence anymore called Bombay Cafe. It was down in the Lakeview district. I worked there for years while I was in college up until I had my first child.”

Debbie says she first began working at dg when the restaurant opened nearly 23 years ago, and she chooses to stay because of the tight-knit friendships she has made with the staff that make her career so enjoyable.

“It’s a very laid-back place to work,” Debbie says. “Daniel is very easy going. We’ve got a great kitchen staff. They all work really hard and make everything happen. Not very much of the staff turns over, especially the server positions. I would say most of the servers have been here seven or eight years.”

Daniel and George worked together to create dg’s reputation for fine dining and quality customer service until 2010. George sold his shares to Daniel and later went on to open FoodBar in Cahaba Heights. At this time, Debbie was promoted to general manager.

“George decided to do something different, but they had a lot of different ideas that really complemented each other,” Debbie says of Daniel and George’s working relationship.

Having weathered a global pandemic and recession, in July 2021, dg Restaurant underwent a radical transformation complete with new flooring, paint, lighting, artwork and more–compliments of designer Pam Evans of Maison.

“Thankfully, dg has evolved over the years to become a relaxed neighborhood restaurant,” Daniel says. “Our initial push for a fancy fine dining experience has been tempered and refined to be more than a once-a-year destination. We have moved to a much more casual approach to the food (but not for service).”

Debbie agrees that while the restaurant is fronting its new look, the quality of food and exceptional service remains top priority. Serving becomes easy when the customers are always so kind, she says.

“The restaurant business is a hard one to keep going, so we’re really grateful to all of our patrons,” Debbie says. “We have a lot of repeat customers, even people that live right down the street. Sometimes, they walk here. The community is really supportive.”

Daniel says the growing community of friends from all over Mountain Brook makes dg a great place to work.

“Daniel George has always provided a lot of inspiration and affirmation,” Daniel says. “I love the hospitality and industry in general. Our goal is to make people comfortable and happy. Our guests have become our friends, and my staff has become part of my family. It is an immersive, interesting and satisfying job.”

When asked about the best cuisine on the menu, Daniel says he could eat fresh snapper and grouper every day, happily.

Other fan favorites on the menu include the pan-seared gulf white fish, which is paired with rock shrimp, spring lady pea and bacon succotash and basil aioli, and the roasted rack of lamb, which includes roasted pepper mashed potatoes, baby carrots, spinach and pistachio tapenade.

Debbie recommends newcomers peruse the cocktail menu and not forget dessert, too. Dessert specialties include a variety of pastries and chocolate-filled dishes, but the vanilla bean creme brulee and apple empanadas are some of the most popular.

The menu changes periodically as well. Daniel is always trying new things, eager to scratch his creative itch to make both aesthetically pleasing and delicious dishes to the community that has invested so much into him.

“Very simply, we are only here because of our customers,” Daniel says. “We are so thankful and ready to listen to their wants and needs.”

Debbie agrees that with wonderful customers, camaraderie between the staff and an inventive and encouraging boss, working at dg has been one of the best decisions she has made.

Daniel George Restaurant is located at 2837 Culver Road. It is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-9 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m.; and Saturday from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Visit for a full menu.

Food for Thought
Tell us your thoughts on these dishes by tagging @mountainbrookmag in your #dgbham photos on Instagram.

Cornmeal Crusted Oysters
-with spicy remoulade

Pappardelle Bolognese
-beef, pork, caramelized onions, shiitakes, roasted tomatoes and parmesan

Warm Chocolate Lava Cake
-with chocolate ice cream