November 2009
Natural Gas: The Number One Choice of Restaurants
Brett McCullough of Brett's Casual American Restaurant Says Gas is Best

After 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Brett McCullough started Brett's Casual American Restaurant in Athens with the idea of bringing a different take on everyday college town restaurants.

Though his own restaurant has been in operation for less than three years, McCullough has worked with several restaurant chains including Steak and Ale, Chili's and On the Border, where he cooked almost exclusively with natural gas.

Brett's Casual American Restaurant works off of a gas powered char grill, flat top grill and fryer. Cooking with natural gas allows for better temperature control and heat distribution for all food preparation in the restaurant.

"With gas you can cook food more evenly as well as sustain a high cooking temperature," says McCullough.

Cooking with natural gas is not only better because of the temperature inside of the cooking unit, but also the temperature maintained inside the kitchen. Gas ovens create less overall heat, which allows your kitchen to remain the same temperature.

Whether it is for home or business use, there are several ways you can save money and use less energy by cooking with natural gas. Because gas ovens heat up quickly, shortening the pre-heating time will save energy as well as money. Also, turn the oven off a few minutes before a dish is fully cooked - the oven should remain heated long enough to fully cook the dish.

McCullough utilizes Walton EMC both at home and in his place of business. With wife, Leslie, and four children at home, he doesn't have a great deal of time to spend on anything other than family and the restaurant. Walton EMC has been able to help him maintain both his home and his restaurant.

"I have Walton EMC at home as well as the restaurant and I have never had an issue with them," said McCullough. "I find it very easy to work with them and I couldn't imagine them handling customer service in any other way."

Brett's Soupa Italian


Italian Sausage (Brett prefers spicy) - 1 pound
Chopped carrots - 2 cups
Potatoes, 1/2 inch cubes - 2 cups
Minced garlic - 2 cloves
Chick Peas - 1 15-ounce can
Beef Broth - 1 quart
Diced Tomatoes - 2 15-ounce cans
Water - 2 cups
Italian Seasoning - 1 tsp.
Bay Leaves - 2

Zucchini-julienne - 2 cups
Parmesan-shredded - As needed, to taste


Brown Italian sausage in a skillet over medium high heat and drain excess grease. Add sausage and all ingredients except the zucchini and parmesan into a large pot. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves. Gently stir in zucchini and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Ladle in bowls and top with fresh shredded parmesan. Best served with crusty baguettes.

Yield: 2 1/2 Gallons