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GA Voice - - Outspoken -

CON­TIN­UED FROM

party show. How did that get started?

I started do­ing that about two years ago. Fans would show up at my birth­day shows with these lit­tle gifts that were so sweet. But I thought, “What if they took that $10 or $20 that they spent and put it to­wards this much needed thing.”

It also made me feel better about not be­ing able to ac­tu­ally vol­un­teer in per­son. I was ei­ther on the road so much or work­ing at our restau­rants all of the time—I couldn’t al­ways be a phys­i­cal pres­ence. Ask­ing my fans to mo­bi­lize for a cause and see­ing them rally was much more mean­ing­ful to me than re­ceiv­ing a gift.

You’re not a na­tive At­lantan. How did you wind up here?

I ac­tu­ally came to be my cousin’s birth part­ner. The baby came early and I was still here and went to Ed­die’s At­tic’s open mic night. This was 20 years ago but even back then, Ed­die’s At­tic had a rep­u­ta­tion out­side of Ge­or­gia for be­ing “the” place to play. I won that night and went back 2 weeks later to com­pete with all of the other win­ners in the semi-an­nual “shootout” and I wound up

We own a restau­rant group called We Feed Peo­ple. We met shortly after I got here – I was mov­ing into the apart­ment that she was mov­ing out of. She still had the key so she showed it to me. Years later, we wound up liv­ing across the street from each other and wound up spend­ing time to­gether. Then, we re­al­ized that we made a great team and we opened Ur­ban Can­ni­bals to­gether.

It was just a lit­tle sand­wich shop to get us up and run­ning. But then, Food Net­work called and we started re­ally tak­ing off. I made the con­scious de­ci­sion to take a tour­ing hia­tus un­til we could hire other peo­ple to run it. It just never got to that point. We opened a big­ger Ur­ban Can­ni­bals, then two more spa­ces came open. She’s at Madre + Ma­son and I’m run­ning the Tip­ple + Rose Tea Room in Vir­ginia High­lands.

Do you see your­self more as a mu­si­cian or a res­tau­ra­teur?

I am squarely both. I re­ally try. When you get older, you have to make some re­ally tough de­ci­sions.

I’ve learned a lot from my wife about that. I love the fact that I have these two things that I can do and am do­ing well.

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