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Eatery rings in New Year with tradition
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The Dawsonville Pool Room will once again open for lunch on New Year's Day and welcomes everyone to ring in 2015 with the southern tradition of collard greens, black-eyed peas and hog jowls.

The $8 all-you-can-eat-buffet, said to bring luck and fortune for the coming year, starts at 11 a.m.

"We'll start cooking on Wednesday morning and then cook all day and Thursday morning, too," said owner Gordon Pirkle. "I always tell people not to worry about stinking up their houses with the collards. They can come on down to the restaurant where we cook enough to stink up the whole downtown."

Pirkle and his crew are planning to cook more than 60 bushels of greens, 80 pounds of black-eyed peas and about 150 pounds of pork for lunch.

"The recipe we use has been around the family for years and years and years. And every year we did it the same way by cooking the collards outside," he said.

Drippings from the boiled hog jowls flavor the greens so much that there's no need to add any salt.

"It must be good, because I used to have to advertise this, but now everybody knows," Pirkle said. "It's funny, New Year's Day is the busiest day at the Pool Room all year, even busier than the Saturday of the Moonshine Festival."

Pirkle started the tradition more than 30 years ago with the intention of feeding his staff on New Year's Day.

Now, diners drive from all around to get a taste of the southern staples.

"It got to be a real tradition where people came from all around in places like Forsyth, Lumpkin and Hall counties for lunch," he said.