Hillbilly Heaven set to open Monday

Owner Cameron Bailey said he originally planned for a quiet opening, but has changed his plans.
Cameron Bailey says people are overreacting to his use of the Confederate flag to advertise his Hillbilly Heaven eatery. Opponents say it's an unwelcome sight in Hamilton's downtown. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The downtown location of a southern-style barbecue restaurant that recently caused a stir for its use of the Confederate flag is set to open Monday.

There are no plans for a grand opening, but owner Cameron Bailey said his original hope for a quiet opening that allowed new hires a chance to learn their roles has had to be altered in light of the recent public and media scrutiny.

"We've had to change plans to bring in staff from the mountain (location)," he said.

"There's still a lot of nonsense on the internet. I hear there's going to be a protest, but I'll believe it when I see it."

Bailey hung a sign depicting the Confederate flag in front of his downtown location last week, launching a firestorm from those who feel the flag is a symbol of pro-slavery ideals. Later that week, the restaurant was vandalized with spraypaint, which Cameron has now removed.

"Aside from cleaning spit off of the window every morning, there hasn't been anything else," he said, noting the attention has resulted in a surge of business for his other restaurant location.

"I guess people are voting with their wallets."

The restaurant is set to open at 11 a.m. Monday morning.