Community Spotlight: Jaamy Zarnegar of Last Resort Grill

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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.

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Written by Zelda Speight. Photos by Hannah Pap Rocki.

Community Spotlight: DTproductions

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Meet the crew of DTproductions—Sam Birdsong, Andrew Levy, Cartter Fontaine, and Kelly Smith. They’ve created a video production and marketing company that has received rapid growth…and for good reason. Their videos tell stories that connect their clients to the public audience in a creative, human way that their mission statement describe as, drives emotions, captures content, and boosts brands though a raw, real, and responsible attitude”. Sam, a graduate of UGA, explained that, “as we’ve developed as a company, we’ve developed our DTproductions’ style”. Whether they’re filming Athfest, a dry cleaning company, or a video for My Athens, the films have a distinct feel that’s moving and artistic.

DTproductions initially began in June 2011 when the Ho Ho Ho Down and Create Athens Presents introduced them to Videography and Production. They then spent the next two years developing their process and gaining experience through trial and error, resulting in the modern day DTproductions–established August 2013. They are now a full-scale production company with both local and regional success stories, which can be attributed to their talent, passion, and the team’s communication. Sam explains that, “the group dynamic is at the heart of the momentum, as roles have been defined and chemistry continues to trend upwards.”

In August 2013, Athens became the home of DTproductions. Cartter describes Athens as a place that’s “small and breeds creativity”, which I imagine will provide ample inspiration and encouragement for them as they continue to grow.  Their videos allow their clients to engage with the consumer, increase communication, and build a relationship. Some of DTproductions’ capabilities include video conception, production, editing, music placement, and video distribution–just to name a few.

DTproductions is comprised of  two teams– Business Development and Creative Production–which operate efficiently and collaboratively with each other. Sam and Andrew work with business development while Kelly and Cartter are with creative production.  They work with their clients to create a video true to their art but that communicates with their client’s audience. When speaking about their process, Kelly says that it’s their “passion to create. That’s what got us here now”. Their mission is to visually express stories, create an emotional connection, and do so in a genuine way. Andrew spoke of a “tangible energy” that comes from the creative process. You can see the evidence of this in their portfolio at www.dtproductions.com

After speaking with the guys of DTproductions, I would characterize them as risk takers with a vision who invested in their potential, and it seems to be paying off. They’ve seen rapid growth in the past year and will only continue to perfect their craft. They are on the official Athfest team and will be responsible for filming our favorite bands and events. They will also have an interactive booth for all the music-loving Athenians to participate with, so definitely make a point to stop by. Check out this preview of Athfest on DTproductions’ website and be sure to purchase an Athfest wristband Athfest.com.

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Written by Zelda Speight.

Photos by Hannah Pap Rocki.

Community Q&A with Lindsay Troutman of Copper and Torch

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Full Name: Lindsay Troutman

Instagram/Twitter Handle: Copper_and_torch/ @copperandtorch

Website: http://copperandtorch.com

Email Address: copperandtorch@gmail.com

Describe what you do for your Audience: I make soldered glass terrariums, wall vases, jewelry using antique lace, and decor items.

Tell us about your history: I’ve been using traditional stained glass techniques for over a decade but launched “Copper & Torch” just 6 months ago! Since then, my business has grown so much and I’ve expanded to include a wholesale line that is quickly showing up in stores across the country! It’s very exciting!

Tell us about the importance of your work: It’s important to me to make something completely from scratch. I love taking a flat piece of glass and cutting and sculpting it to create a 3 dimensional, functional piece of art. Whether it’s a vase that holds water, a terrarium necklace that you can actually plant something in and wear, or a valet tray for your dresser using leather and glass to keep your surfaces tidy, the whole process is enjoyable for me. I love what I do and I hope that kind of quality and beauty and shows through my work.

Tell us why you live in Athens: We moved to Athens when my husband was accepted into the law school here. We chose Athens over several other schools because of the community, the art scene, the beauty and the FOOD!

Describe your favorite things about the city of Athens: I adore the people that make this city unique. I love that I can meet someone at a local gallery or event one day, and the next day you are planning an event together! It’s so much about connectedness and it’s something I’ve never experienced anywhere else. I really feel like Athens is a creativity incubator. You can’t help but flourish in these conditions.

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Community Spotlight: Steve and Mandy O’Shea of 3 Porch Farm

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We drove for about half an hour as the towns were slowly replaced by rolling fields and the occasional friendly folks waving to our car. We were in pursuit of 3 Porch Farm to meet Steve and Mandy O’Shea. They’re staples at the farmers market and their Honey Pops are gaining popularity around town. I highly recommend the Chai Honey Pop!

Highways eventually turned to dirt roads and we found ourselves in the most idyllic place— their home, 3 Porch Farm. Bella, the Great Pyrenees and farmhand, greeted us and was just as much a part of the interview as Steve and Mandy. I suppose it would be considered a small farm in comparison to others, but it supplies all that they need and then some. There are fruit orchards, a strawberry field, dozens of flowers blooming, beehives, and Shiitake logs. The barn leads to a workshop where Mandy creates beautiful floral arrangements. They’re sold at the farmers market and also decorate some of our local restaurants. In addition, she has various floral packages for weddings or other events. Steve also has several impressive projects that are a major part of the farm’s operation. Their farm is solar powered and also runs off bio-fuel, which Steve engineers and maintains.

Having a limited knowledge of 3 Porch Farm and Steve and Mandy’s gifts, I had no idea how entrepreneurial and creative they both were. When they began the plans for their farm, they had many ideas or as Steve says, “We started with a million ideas and now we have….five-hundred thousand!”. They’ve paired it down to what works for them and it’s constantly evolving. They’ve learned through doing. Many ideas didn’t survive not because they were lacking in any way, but because of practicalities like costly production or time efficiency. Through this process they’ve found a niche market. They work extremely hard to run their farm in a sustainable way leaving the smallest footprint possible. That philosophy is visible across the farm and at the market. For example, they’ve chosen to focus on fruit orchards, Shiitakes, their handmade delights, and flowers so that they wouldn’t create competition with friends who are also farmers. In this way, they don’t negatively impact fellow farmers while also filling a need in the market.

Unfortunately small, organic farmers have difficulty supporting their livelihood through farming alone and often must seek other forms of work. The product is higher quality, sustainable for our environment, better for our health, and grown by individuals who have a passion for their labor. Supporting local farms for your personal beliefs is highly valuable but forming a relationship with the individuals who grow your food will only strengthen your ideologies. We shop locally because we know the names and stories of those we encounter, and that’s the same for our farmers. This is what forms our unique community—we support it and it’s ultimately supportive of us as individuals. “Know Your Farmer” has a whole new meaning when you actually know your farmers.  So I highly encourage you to seek out local farms, build a relationship, and gain a richer community, environment, and health.

As for 3 Porch Farm, when you stop for a moment to think about what it really takes to run a sustainable and profitable farm, create culinary delights (the many hours of preparation, delivery, etc.), develop the floral branch, and continue to build a loving marriage, you quickly realize that this is not for the faint of heart. As Mandy and Steve both mentioned, “It’s a passion” and one that they cannot live without. Though some days are exhausting, the fruits of their labor are clearly made from their joy. They delight in each other, the earth, and the relationship that they have with their community and environment. Steve and Mandy are the center and heart of 3 Porch Farm. When you enter the property you feel like you’ve stumbled upon something incredibly special. They work, live, explore, and express themselves all at this one place. It’s more than just land. It’s a place that provides peace and nourishment.

Steve and Mandy O’Shea are at the farmer’s market on Saturdays in Bishop Park. Their Honey Pops can be found at World Famous, Treehouse Kid & Craft, and Daily Grocery Co-op. In the future, they hope to have more time for educational aspects of their farm, so you can look forward to that. And as for other future plans, they “hope to grow their happiness, their relationship, build a sustainable profit, and gain more freedom to develop their personal creativity”. They’re a great addition to the Athens community, so definitely stop by their tent on Saturday to say, “Hello”. Check out their website at to learn more about their story and what they bring to the table…literally.

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Written by Zelda Speight.