Community Spotlight: Peter Dale and Patrick Stubbers of Seabear

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There’s a new spot in town that’s getting a tremendous amount of hype…and for good reason. Seabear Oyster Bar recently opened in Bottleworks, right across from Hendershot’s and Viva! Argentine Cuisine. The atmosphere is intimate and comfortable, and it’s operated by friends, which gives one the sense of being part of the community while dining there.

Seabear, which is owned by Peter Dale, Patrick Stubbers and Chris Luken, does things a little differently by combining a unique dining experience with a comfortable neighborhood restaurant.

I met with Peter Dale and Patrick Stubbers, two of Athens’ most respected chefs and restaurant owners. In a way, both were initially self-taught and built their careers around a love of friendships and great food.

Peter Dale is best-known as the owner and head chef at The National, where he creates fresh, European-influenced dishes. Dale’s cooking background includes an internship in Spain, as well as an apprenticeship with Hugh Acheson at 5&10. Many of Athens’ greatest chefs have worked with Acheson, and Dale is definitely one of the most influential. Dale has also hosted casual dinner parties at his home, where Stubbers was a guest, during which he developed not only his skill, but also his philosophy of food.

Patrick Stubbers is known as a former chef of the legendary Four Coursemen Supper Club. The Four Coursemen was started by a group of friends including some of Athens’ best when it comes to food and wine. The supper club was their hobby and passion, so naturally it grew, becoming one of the most sought after underground dining experiences in the Southeast. Stubbers also worked in the kitchen at The National with Dale, where a friendship was formed and the idea for Seabear began.

Seabear is the first full oyster bar in Athens. And although they offer other menu items, the oysters definitely steal the show. When asked about the idea behind the restaurant, Dale and Stubbers spoke of comfort, community, and the intricacies of each oyster. Dale said he prefers food that is light, tasty and easy.

“That food speaks to me,” he said.

Dale’s inspiration comes from Mary’s Fish Camp in New York City, where a small dining space encourages people to get to know their neighbor.

“Oysters give you a chance to talk to people,” Stubbers said. “You can sit with a tray of oysters and some wine and have a conversation with others”.

There are around twelve hundred brands of oysters on the East coast alone, not including Canada. According to Dale and Stubbers, each oyster has a story and a unique flavor created by the environment in which it develops. They explained that the temperature and nutrient variations of the water changes the taste, allowing for a wide range of flavors. Stubbers also discussed how oysters that are farmed along the coasts are individualized by each farmer’s signature, which means they customize the exterior shell to their preference.

Dale prefers West Coast oysters that are smaller in size and have a creamy flavor, but Stubbers’ current favorites are from Long Island, New York and Massachusetts.

“[They’re] plump and wonderful, with a celery and sage flavor,” Stubbers said.

However, for anyone who is new to oysters, Stubbers recommends trying Canadian oysters, which have a clean and briny taste.

Seabear currently has several oysters to choose from, and it’s almost oyster season so soon there will be even more options. Seabear would like to invite everyone to drop by, try a variety and discover their favorite kind. Any of the staff, including Dale and Stubbers, would be happy to talk oysters and make a recommendation. For more information about Seabear check out www.seabearoysterbar.com.

Side Note: Oysters are also doing great things for the environment and are utilized to clean our water and rebuild reef structures on the East Coast. To learn more, visit the Billion Oyster Project at www.billionoysterproject.org

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Written by Zelda Speight. Photos by Ella Ferguson.

Community Q&A with Artist Karla Pruitt

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Meet the artist: Karla Pruitt

Stay in touch: @karla_pruitt

Check out her website: http://www.karlapruitt.com/

Tell us what you do: I paint and create patterns that I sell in my online shop and license to companies for product development on items like wallpaper and greeting cards.

Tell us about your history: I grew up in South Florida in a design loving family, went to SCAD in Savannah and majored in Fibers (textile design). I moved to Atlanta for a job as a home textile designer, and then worked as a gift product designer in Athens.

Tell us about the importance of your work: I think creating beautiful things to live around is a natural and humble part of being human. I hope my designs bring a little color into people’s lives.

Tell us why you live in Athens: My husband and I moved here just because we liked it! I am greatly influenced in my work by where I live, and walking around Athens helped inspire my wallpaper line for Hygge & West.

Describe your favorite things about this city: I love the perfect little city size of Athens, the people we’ve met here, the local restaurants and shops, and my favorite little neighborhood of Normaltown.

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My Athens Presents + Share a Coke: Recap

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My Athens hosted another event for the whole community on Friday, August 29 at the Bottleworks space on Prince. The “Share a Coke” campaign currently sweeping the nation came to yours truly and the turnout was wonderful.

The “Share a Coke” campaign invites friends and family together to enjoy a personalized can of coke. The location, held outside behind the Bottleworks space, was a reflection of history in and of itself. This space, previously a coke bottling plant, added a touch of history and tradition to the event. See our previous post that talks about the history behind what is now a thriving business community and apartment complex here!

The exciting turnout (1,161 cans printed!) and steady stream of people, highlighted the effective way that “Share a coke” has transformed the simple act of drinking a coke into a creative way for friends and family to enjoy some sunshine and quality time. It was a hot day, so it was perfect that King of Pops was set up with their signature umbrella and delicious pops!

Even during the brief stroll from the parking lot to the space where the event was held I heard a local Athens mom tell her friend on the phone that she was looking for something fun and free to do with her kids on a beautiful sunny day and that is exactly what she found.

I think that is what My Athens and “Share a Coke” intended to create. The inviting space and welcoming atmosphere brought together a wide array of people. From families to college students, and professors to business owners, the diversity of the various outlets in Athens was generously represented. Spencer Frye of Habitat for Humanity, enjoyed the event and Peter Dale, head chef at The National, had a coke ingrained in his name. The event itself was a reflection of the way My Athens continues to strengthen the invisible ties throughout the Athens community.

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Written by Meg Taylor. Photos by Cathy Marszalik.

Q & A with Kaitie Bryant of Gather Athens

Meet the team: Kaitie Bryant (and Mattie Tiegreen, Amanda Knight)

Stay in touch:
Follow them: @kaitiebryant, @pdpaperco, @thecreativeporcupine

Check out their website: www.gatherathens.com

Contact: kaitiebryantphotography@gmail.com

Tell us what you do:
Gather Workshop is a 2-day workshop to help inspire, clarify, and encourage creative entrepreneurs. We focus on business basics, time management, branding, defining your style in a crowded market, and learning how to build boundaries between personal and work life. Our next workshop is on Oct. 10 + 11. Below is a list of our amazing speakers!

    Mica May, owner of May Designs, Her work has been featured on Real Simple, Good Morning America, and People magazine to mention a few!
    Shanna Skidmore, business coach and consultant (with an awesome talent in floral design) based in Atlanta
    Britt Bass Turner, painter and owner of Britt Bass Turner based in Atlanta
    Hilary Maloney, creative communication guru with current work in the interior design industry
    Mattie Tiegreen, owner of Puddleduck Paper Co, and interior designer behind Canvas Studio
    Amanda Knight, graphic designer and branding junkie, owner of The Creative Porcupine
    Kaitie Bryant, wedding and lifestyle photographer
    Paige French, photographer of editorial and lifestyle projects, as well as interiors, food, farms, and gatherings. She makes her home in Athens, GA.

We are so excited about this group of people who all share a heart to encourage other people’s dreams!

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Tell us what prompted you to create Gather Athens:
The idea behind Gather came as we worked together and realized the need for good conversation and community among creative businesses. Starting your own business and staying inspired in the creative world can be a very lonely venture with long hours behind a computer and not a lot of encouragement. We wanted to create an environment for people in various stages of their small businesses to hear wisdom and stories from other people who are on a similar path. I (Kaitie) really craved a gathering where we could be real about the struggles and challenges we face in having our own business and gain insight into what changes we could all implement to make ourselves and businesses better. Mattie, Amanda, and I also just love talking about style and branding and how to develop your own aesthetic and weave it into all your work. This is such a dream of mine to have a space like Canvas Studio to host workshops like this and connect people.

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Tell us about the importance of your work:
I really believe Gather is an important and defining workshop for anyone’s creative journey. For some it was the push they needed to take the next step to making their passion a reality in their work, and honestly I believe we need to hear how other people are working towards their goals to give us courage to do the same. I believe people need to be reminded that they are uniquely wired to create out of their passions and interests and not meant to fit a box that they perceive everyone must fit into. I think Gather is a place to be inspired when a lot of times we can feel defeated in our work. I also think the practical learning about consistent branding, work boundaries, time management, goal setting, etc is invaluable and often overlooked when we start creative ventures, making a workshop like this that much more important.

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Tell us why you live in Athens:
 I came to Athens, like many of us, for college back in 2000. I met my husband in the dining hall (true love always involves food), and we got married and thought we would move for graduate school soon after. But as it turns out we are still here 14 years later, and we are IN LOVE with Athens and have no intentions of ever moving. We decided to stay in the area because we had formed really significant relationships and felt committed to them, and even as people have come and gone that commitment hasn’t changed but grown to a loyalty and love for not just people but also this town. We have 2 boys (Andy and Ethan) and they even have a special pride about Athens. We love this place and think it’s the cat’s pajamas.

Describe your favorite things about the city of Athens: 
Athens is the quintessential American small town with the perfect amount of culture and food and shopping without the traffic and fast pace of a big city. I love the breakfast options in Athens; my biggest crush is Mama’s Boy and I love that they know my husband and I by name and take care of us. I love the vintage stores like Agora and that every table in my home was found there. I was raised in the Atlanta area and knew that driving anywhere between 3-7pm meant an incredible amount of traffic and would plan life around that, but in Athens you can drive anywhere anytime of the day and know traffic isn’t an issue. I love raising my children here, going to the splash pad in the summer for a water playground experience to eating at Ted’s Most Best outside while the kids play in the sand. Athens has the suburban stores that so many of us can’t live without but also the local options that make it the best of both worlds. The University of Georgia brings students in each fall and that creates an energy in August that everyone feeds off of, and having such a young demographic makes the town more diverse in ideas and culture. I love that I can still drive to Atlanta in an hour and not be too far from big events or places but return to a much quieter and chill place that is home to me.

Makers

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