Welcome to Last Resort Grill, where the staff, food, and the atmosphere are outstanding. Last Resort is famous in Athens and from what I can tell, is always packed…and for good reason. Favorites on the menu include the fried green tomato sandwich, praline chicken, and salmon and grits. And if you’re a brunch fan (as most Athenians are) then you know that brunch is serious business. Last Resort meets the challenge with their spinach feta grill, which is challah toasted in egg batter topped with poached eggs, portabellas, fresh spinach, artichokes and feta with a homemade roasted tomato sauce. The atmosphere is one of my favorites and the cakes are pretty great too. In short, if you haven’t ever been, there’s no time like the present.
I met with Jaamy Zarnegar, one of the co-owners, who you will see greeting tables, chatting with the regulars, and conducting the show. He has been with Last Resort for twenty years and has seen several of Athens’ most influential chefs and business owners come through his doors, who then continued on to create some of our favorite restaurants, bars, and bakeries.
You may be surprised to learn that Last Resort hasn’t always been a restaurant. In fact, it was once a staple music venue—one of the first in Athens. Performances like Towns Van Zandt, Jimmy Buffet, and even Steve Martin have all graced the stage. It was much smaller then but a favorite spot for locals to enjoy shows and have some beers. From its very beginning, Last Resort contributed to the Athens community and continues to do so today.
In 1992, Melissa Clegg opened Last Resort Grill and later Jaamy came along. Melissa is still highly involved today with Last Resort and is very influential with the menu and other operations. The restaurant has evolved over the years along with the Athens community. Jaamy has seen college students who were regulars come in later with their children, families grow, and seen faces change over the years. When Jaamy spoke of the restaurant, he said that they’ve “grown up with the community”. I think the reason people really love Last Resort is because they feel known. And even if you’re not a regular, you get the sense that you’re taken care of and can be comfortable. That alone will keep you coming back!
Last Resort extends this same care beyond their own doors and into our community. They are known for donating to local non-profits and can be counted on for their support. They support the individuals of Athens, and in return, the community supports them. One such event that Last Resort was involved with was our very own My Athens gallery, which was held in April at the Georgia Theater.
As for the future of Last Resort—Jaamy says, “I hope to be doing the same thing” and continue to provide their customers with the same quality of service and cuisine that they’ve always had. Additionally, Jaamy hopes to build upon their community involvement and stay active in supporting Athens. Learn more about their story at their website. Whether you’re a regular or you’ve never been to Last Resort before, you should drop in soon to experience the food, atmosphere, and meet the friendly staff.