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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Highlands Bar & Grill at Work


Goren Avery

Highlands Bar & Grill

Goren “Red Dog” Avery, born in 1953, has worked as a waiter at Highlands Bar & Grill since the restaurant opened on November 22, 1982. A Birmingham native, he began his career in the early 1970s as a waiter and captain at The Relay House, a private club in downtown, Birmingham. In 1975, he took a waiter job at Hugo’s Rotisserie, a fine-dining restaurant at the Hyatt Regency hotel. While there, he worked alongside Frank Stitt, who was the food and beverage manager. At Hugo’s, Avery polished his skills and worked his way up to captain, serving tableside dishes like Steak Diane and Baked Alaska.

When Stitt returned to Birmingham to found Highlands, Avery joined the staff as a waiter. Avery is very popular with regular guests, who value his bright personality and social skills. He brings a wealth of knowledge to each table. Longtime customers often put themselves in his hands, knowing that a menu Avery chooses will show the kitchen off best.

Date of interview:

Eric Velasco

SFA Archives

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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