Nothing’s Too Big for Santa’s Sleigh

By Mickey Wakenigg

The South’s mild winters give us an advantage over other places: We can take our kitchen outdoors any time of the year. For the most enthusiastic backyard chefs, options abound far beyond the standard patio grill.

Using a sturdy combination of stone and steel, these spaces can, with a little maintenance, last for years, creating a beautiful outdoor centerpiece and entertainment area. Where do people congregate most during parties or family get-togethers? That’s right, the kitchen. By expanding that kitchen space outdoors, you breathe fresh air – literally – into the party while also opening up useful kitchen space indoors.

Nothing’s too big for Santa’s sleigh, so consider a new grill or an upgrade for your outdoor kitchen. Our customers typically design these spaces around the grill, and we have a variety of heating sources from which to choose.

Beyond propane tanks and charcoal, backyard chefs can opt for natural-gas lines or even infrared grilling, a specialized technology from TEC Grills that uses a combination of radiant glass panels and infrared energy to cook food evenly while retaining moisture in the cooking chamber. All TEC Grills products employ this patented, cutting-edge technology, and they are the only company in America producing grills with 100 percent infrared. Other brands use 50 percent infrared, and most of their assembly is overseas with lower-quality materials and construction. TEC Grills invented the technology and sets the industry’s highest product standards. Models vary from The Cherokee, a portable tailgate model, to The Sterling G Series, designed for outdoor kitchens.

At The Stone Store, customers can take advantage of a 10 percent discount on any purchases over $40 through the holidays. Visit to get the coupon. At the same time, TEC Grills are having their own holiday promotion that could save customers up to $200 off a range of smoker/roasters when they also purchase a qualifying grill.

It is important to look at all the grill options available and to get a qualified dealer to explain them to you. The final decision depends on the hookups available on the customer’s property as well as what and how they prefer to cook.

To enhance the cooking space, stainless-steel sinks, refrigerators, ventilation systems and heating drawers are also popular options. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit also makes those winter evenings much more pleasant. Tying these spaces together with stone makes them more cozy and creates a seamless connection to the house as well. Landscaping around the space – using grass, mulch or gravel – adds further dimension and interest to the space.

At The Stone Store, a family-owned business in Athens for about 20 years, we have found that getting to know our customers and their personal preferences enhances the result. In addition to showroom space where customers can see and touch their options, the store is ready to consult with customers on installation services from qualified contractors and landscapers. Customers are like members of an extended family, and we walk them through the whole process.

For more information on outdoor kitchen options available at our Athens location, visit our website at

In addition to outdoor kitchen appliances, The Stone Store strives to provide the best selection of natural stone products as well as landscaping materials by quality manufacturers that you can trust.

We carry a huge selection of natural and manufactured stone as well as boulders, fieldstones, rubble, flagstones, pebbles and a whole lot more. We also carry a large selection of quality sand, mulch, soil, gravel, and anything else to serve your landscaping needs.

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