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Celebrating 50 Years at the

Atlanta Steeplechase

Order your tickets today – call 404-237-7436 or visit General admission tickets available at, select Publix supermarkets or charge-by-phone 800-745-3000. ank you to V3 Magazine for their sponsorship.


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Don’t even think of showing up to the party uninvited, because HOLLY LYNCH has got news for you. Event planners are on to your scheme and, more importantly, she asks that you think about the hosts you intend to crash. If MLB officials think putting a time limit on America’s sport is a good idea, J. BRYANT STEELE says it will be a cold day in Southern Cali before he agrees. You’d have better luck finding elephants at the circus.


22 30 36 42


fashioned a method of buying and selling that makes them as proud as saluting the red, white and blue.

Two of Rome’s most fashion-forward businesses, LODGE 210 AND MEL&MIMI, have put together an Atlanta Steeple Chase look that puts you ahead, right out of the gate. We find out why bow-ties and big-rimmed bonnets aren’t the only traditions associated with the ATLANTA STEEPLECHASE when we ask the founding families about their memories of the event’s past 50 years. Whether they have four, two or no legs at all, Dr. Dan Pate and the team at WEST ROME ANIMAL CLINIC have created a medical facility for your family pet that is out-of-this-world.

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t’s April and I believe it’s safe to say that everyone has thawed out from a long and bitter winter … by southern standards. With spring finally upon us, we can once again enjoy the outdoors – and the event that marks the season’s arrival for many Northwest Georgians is the Atlanta Steeplechase, which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. You can read more about Steeplechase in our feature, “A Fox and the Hounds,” penned by Oliver Robbins but, for now, I hope you will sit tight and take a little stroll down memory lane with me. Now, the V3 tent has become known as one of the biggest parties on the turn, so we actually began reserving tickets back in mid-February. One of the very first calls I received was from a woman who attended our 2007 tent party, themed “Casino Royale.” She quickly let me know that she and her husband got engaged at our tent and that they are really excited about coming back this year to celebrate with us.

publisher’s note

I somehow missed this momentous occasion, but that year was quite a whirlwind. We had live music, showgirls and even a midget Elvis who called himself “The Little King.” When Gov. Sonny Purdue stopped by, I’m sure he wondered what he had just walked into, but he stayed long enough to draw the news cameras and snap a few photos with some of our guests. It wasn’t my first Steeplechase, but it was my first to be in charge of 300 guests’ experience, so the whole thing is a bit of a blur. But somewhere in all the madness, two lovers decided to tie the knot and they have been happily married ever since. I know that our readers have made an assortment of memories under and around the canopy of our leased space at Kingston Downs, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoy it when people choose to share their favorite moments with me. This year, our theme is “American Graffiti,” and my friend, Jeremy Hulsey, reworked the old movie poster to adorn the cover of this month’s issue. He threw in some V3 staffers, Roman landmarks, and a few other locals you might recognize to make it our own, and we really appreciate his hard work and artistry. For someone, like me, who struggles drawing stick people, it’s wonderful to be surrounded by artists who can take your wildest ideas and make them reality. So thanks not only to Mr. Hulsey, but to Senior Graphic Designer Ellie Borromeo and Executive Photographer Derek Bell for making us look so good! We look forward to hosting all of our friends once again on April 18 at Kingston Downs. It’s sure to be a good time … and you never know, ladies, you might leave with a ring on your finger, so make sure you bring the right man to the party!

Ian Griffin


Ian Griffin, Owner


v3 magazine

Owner&CEO Ian Griffin

Mag Art & Design Ellie Borromeo

Editorial Manager Oliver Robbins

Contributing Editor Tannika Wester


J. Bryant Steele, Oliver Robbins, Erin deMesquita, Holly Lynch

Executive Photographer Derek Bell, MFA 706.936.0407

Contributing Photographer

Christian David Turner

Ad Sales & Client Relations

Chris Forino, Arion Bass, Lauren Winters, Shadae Yancey-Warren

Ad Design & Marketing Concepts Ellie Borromeo, Christian David Turner


V3 Publications, LLC


One West Fourth Avenue Rome, Ga. 30161 Office Phone 706.235.0748


Neal Howard

Cover Artist

Rome born artist Jeremy Hulsey puts a V3 spin on the classic movie poster from “American Graffiti”.

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n light of all the spring gatherings – from horse races, to weddings, to graduation celebrations – let’s pause for a minute to consider the bane of my existence, the pest of the party business – the crashers. The point of this column is very short and sweet. If you’re not invited to the party, don’t go. And don’t ask for an invitation either. Whew. There. It’s been said. There’s nothing more frustrating for me than a wedding crasher (or any party crasher, really). Sure, the movie was cute. A couple of guys get together, study up on the latest society weddings in town, dress up in tuxes, show up as alternate personalities, win over the crowd and score with the girls. Sounds like it should be fun right? Well, not if you’re on the other side of the event. There are certain downtown venues at which, whenever we have parties or weddings there, we can count on crashers. In preparation, I usually

warn the bartenders and the rest of the team about what is likely to happen, and we have a specific question that we can ask a potential crasher to see whether he or she belongs at the party. Sometimes the phrase will have to do with the bride or the host of the event. Nevertheless, some smartypants will try to circumvent the system by claiming to be “with the band” or there to pick someone up. I’m on to you. I know who you are. You show up at events without being asked. And you wear jeans to black-tie functions. It’s so obvious. But beyond the obvious crashers, there are the subtle crashers. This is where I may lose friends or alienate clients. The subtle crasher is substantially more coy. These are people who know they’re not on the guest list but find a way to wrangle an invitation. This social pressure is typically evident among women (men simply crash the party, wearing jeans). These ladies, with probably very noble intentions, offer to help with

a pre-event party or loan decorations or other items in hopes of ensuring a spot on the guest list. I’m reminded of the high school prom, where girls accepted invitations from boys they wouldn’t regularly go out with simply because they couldn’t miss “the” party. Haven’t we figured out yet – by the time we are adults – that another great party or event is just around the corner? Or, conversely, that it’s OK to stay home? Not being invited to a wedding or pre-wedding party usually comes down to one of two reasons: budget or relationship. If it’s a budget issue, no matter how much finagling you try, you really should respect the host. Weddings, in particular, are very costly. Recently published figures show the national average for weddings to be $31k. And yes, that’s the average cost around here, too. For 130 guests. That means that, per guest, hosts are spending


CRASHERS Trends & Traditions with Holly Lynch


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do not cross

over $200. Knowing that fact, do you see what crashing is costing? Indeed, the meal cost may be significantly less per person, but there are other costs, too. Like table linens and bar items and centerpieces. So many factors go into creating the guest list – from size of the facility, to style of the event, to number of available chairs – that you can be sure you weren’t left off a guest list without cause. The national average shows the cost of weddings increasing with the guest count going down (the average used to hover around 150). The philosophy of “the more the merrier”

do not cross do not cross do not c is wonderful, if you know the hosts can afford to invite everyone they know and love (or barely like). Which leads me to the second reason the guest list is leaner. Brides and grooms are no longer “tolerating” having their parents’ friends and acquaintances at their weddings. Modern couples want to know the guests at their wedding in more than a cursory way. When assisting clients with their guest lists, I often help them sort out the level of the relationship to the bride and groom. If you think of the bride and groom as the core of the onion, the outer layers are people they may not know personally. The names are familiar but only because the couple’s parents know them. I try to encourage families to have these conversations together. A wedding (or graduation party) is a time to celebrate and it’s understandable that some people may be meeting for the first time (like the groom’s uncle meeting the bride’s aunt). But this is not the time for the mother of the bride’s work colleague to first meet the bride.

So, even if you are the bride’s mother’s best work friend, if you weren’t invited, kindly offer your best wishes without hinting around for an invitation. Now that I’ve expanded the definition of party crasher, I hope most of our readers are amused and can see the point I’m trying to make. If you haven’t received an invitation to THE party of the season, please relax. Consider your relationship to the host or guest of honor and what the cost of the party may be. Then consider what else you could do with your weekend and what other fabulous party is just around the corner.

Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning, and design company located at 250 Broad Street in Rome. v3 magazine 13

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hings can’t be all bad … it’s April and that means baseball. Time to read “The Boys of Summer” again. Time for poetry; the time when “hope springs eternal” (at least until September). Time to cue up “Field of Dreams” again or “Who’s on First?” the Abbott-and-Costello sketch that is still funny after all these decades. Baseball … the only reason that God himself subscribes to cable. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks I don’t care if I ever get back. The primal beauty of baseball is the escape from the clock. But the powers that inhabit the plane between God and purists like me are messing with the

The greater issue than the pace of baseball is the short attention span – and the thirst for instant gratification – in Americans. I don’t know when it began but I blame television, which begat the remote control. Don’t like what’s on the tube? Stay in your recliner, pick up that little black rectangle and click your way to something that sort of pleases you. That led to the microwave oven. I’m serious. Would you actually need an appliance that could cook your nourishment during a commercial break if there weren’t commercial breaks in the first place? The task of living used to require work and patience. But three or four generations of Americans have spent their lives flipping switches, pushing

and it is incumbent upon me to warn you. (Full disclosure: I’ve long hoped that something would be incumbent upon me. It sounds so … important.) Let’s get to some tangibles: Deep within the canons of baseball, there is a rule that a pitcher must throw the ball to the batter within 12 seconds of putting his toe on the rubber. No umpire actually times this rule; it is just sort of followed in the way that first-graders don’t actually keep single-file but come close enough. Two years ago, in anticipation that the pace of the game would become a matter of rule changes, that 12-second rule was actually studied. Summation: The rule is being met easily. There is supposedly more action in other team sports. Define action. I’d love that argument.

Time on You

crazy Diamond

Cents & Sensibility with J. Bryant Steele

blessing. Major League Baseball’s impresarios have mandated countdown clocks at ballparks this season to “speed up” the game, trying to ramp up TV ratings and, thus, make more money. Since I have invoked the name of the Almighty a couple of times already, it is only right to see what God might think of The Season of the Clock, 2015: They swallow down riches and vomit them up again… -- Job 20:15 There is gold, and abundance of costly stones, but the lips informed by knowledge are a precious jewel. -- Proverbs 20:15 You shall not steal. -- Exodus 20:15 OK, that last one was probably just Moses signaling to a really slow base runner, but overall you can see the metaphorical and apocalyptic warnings from the game’s Biggest Fan.


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buttons and needing prescription medicines to help them pay attention. That’s why you don’t hear much about debate teams anymore, but spelling bees are much in vogue. Right or wrong in a blink. You’re not tethered to a land line to receive an important (or not) phone call. You can dine out without getting out of your car or dine in without darkening your kitchen. You don’t need to launder and fold heirloom dinner napkins because disposable ones are now all prettified. Once, I knew a couple who talked about how, in order to set a romantic mood, they would light their gas-burning fireplace using a remote control from their bed. If they were already in bed, I used to wonder, were they listening to Jim Morrison and taking too literally, “Come on, baby, light my fire?” All of this is sad enough, but putting a clock to baseball? We are crossing into Babylon, we are unarmed

In football, each side can call six timeouts. The clock also stops whenever a pass attempt fails or a runner goes out of bounds. Sometimes those outcomes are deliberately employed specifically to stop the clock. That is not “action” in my dictionary. In basketball, the last three minutes of a game last longer than Easter Day services, despite a shot clock. The first time a clock was employed in an exhibition baseball game this spring, the game lasted 37 minutes longer than the average big-league game last season. So don’t think incorporating a clock into baseball games is going to make the game more appealing. The venerable baseball manager Sparky Anderson once remarked, referring to earlier tinkering with the rules, “The beauty of baseball is no matter what we do, we can’t screw it up.” Our problem is not the pace of baseball but our impatience. Impatience, and its ensuing

stress, may or may not shorten our lives, but it most definitely robs us of life.


In other sports news, the Los Angeles Marathon started a half hour earlier this spring so runners wouldn’t be competing in 90+-degree temperatures. Southern California is experiencing a heat wave and it’s not summer yet. Farther north, the start of the grueling Iditarod, or Great Sled Race, was moved from its traditional starting point 300 miles north to Fairbanks, Alaska, because there wasn’t enough snow in Anchorage. Yet there are still climate-change deniers. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has decided, after enduring-but-not-overwhelming public protest, to cease using elephants in performances and send them to a wildlife conservatory in Florida. Not to be cynical but it probably came down to cost/benefit analysis for the circus giant rather than a humanitarian gesture. Sure, elephants work for peanuts, but shipping them cross country must be cost prohibitive. That’s 53 elephants going to a place that’s nearly like home, and that’s nice. Covering the cop beat is thankfully long in my past, but sometimes a quirky headline catches my eye – which is how I learned that sidewalk awnings at the iconic Schroeder’s New Deli on Broad Street in downtown Rome were “stolen.” “Really?” I wondered. In national news, at almost the same time, a NASCAR race car was stolen in Atlanta.

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was just a case of mistaken identity. It’s a mistake that anybody could make, except that these awnings were over Schroeder’s, for crying out loud. And the race car was found because, you know, those things don’t blend in. But between the two of these, I smell a reality TV show. No matter how inconvenienced or miserable you were during this winter’s weather, here’s some perspective for you: It was so cold in New York, the Hudson River froze. That’s a big river and by definition it’s running water. But it froze nonetheless. U.S. Coast Guard ice cutters had to come to the rescue, clearing channels for barges carrying heating oil, rock salt and other essentials. Imagine how expensive and inefficient that priority would be if it were privatized. It’s got to be a demanding vocation when duty calls, but the summer vacations are probably great.

J. Bryant Steele

has won awards for business writing, feature writing and opinion columns, and is based in Rome. v3 magazine 19

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Auctioneers Keith Baldwin and Lou Dempsey have merged their approach to the auction experience, creating a formula for satisfaction on both sides of the negotiating table.


n a cool Saturday morning in early March, hundreds of farmers, contractors and auction enthusiasts gather at the Calhoun Stockyard. With a thin layer of fog serving as a canopy over the sprawling property, those looking to score the right piece of equipment at the right price lace up their boots and take a short stroll down a gravel road and into the stockyard, where two American Flag-patterned tents await them. With rays of sunlight beaming through the mist, fathers beckon their sons to stay close and keep their eyes peeled, offering the possibility of hidden treasures for both parties just around the corner. The father looks focused; the son, in awe of his surroundings and what lies ahead. As potential bidders register and study the inventory available, the smell of barbeque permeates the air, which is thick with anticipation. The calm before the storm is interrupted by a voice over the PA system announcing that the auction will start momentarily. This voice that echoes across the grounds belongs to American Auctioneers Owner, Principal Broker and Auctioneer Keith Baldwin. Each quarter for the last eight years, American Auctioneers has orchestrated such an auction and while their auction services are comprehensive, ranging from equipment auctions to estate settlements, this environment highlights the foundation on which the company is founded. To put it simply, an auction is a family affair and American Auctioneers considers their customers as just that, family. “I grew up going to auctions with my father and those are some of the best memories I have,” says Baldwin. “It’s the same for everyone else that works here as well. We grew up in this business, we idolized many of the great auctioneers in the Rome area, and we understand what the buyers expect and deserve because of that upbringing. “It was our goal to take all of the knowledge we gained over the years and pass that on to our customers,” he continues. “We believe an auction isn’t a success if the buyer and seller don’t walk away with a smile on their face, and that’s what we strive to provide at each and every one of our auctions.” Keeping with the theme of family, Baldwin followed his father’s footsteps into the auction business. After a short stint as a football coach, he joined his dad at JM Wood Auction in Montgomery, Ala., and quickly acclimated himself to the business. He ascended up the ranks quickly, eventually moving to Huntsville, Ala., and starting a company called Garner & Baldwin Inc. before making the move to Centre, Ala., and opening American Auctioneers. A graduate of Darlington School’s Class of 1990, Baldwin grew up in Rome and – from the moment he left – was always trying to work his way back to the “Enchanted Land.”

“When the time came for us to strike out on our own, I was serving as the president of the Alabama Auctioneers Association,” he recalls. “Centre was as close as we could get to Rome without leaving the state of Alabama, and that move allowed us to find a home where we could be a part of a great community here and still service Rome and Northwest Georgia.” The move to Centre was a blessing in many ways, as the area was a hot spot for real estate auctions due to the abundance of farmland and lake properties. The company found itself in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that by staking its spot in the Centre community through involvement with local charities and churches. “There are 26,000 people in this county and 3,600 within the Centre city limits,” says Baldwin. “You are doing business with your neighbors, and every time you go to the grocery store, to church on Sunday or to eat at a local restaurant you are breaking bread with your customers. If that’s not an incentive to do business the right way, I don’t know what is.” While cementing their place as citizens of Centre was paramount, each member of the American Auctioneers staff has ties to Rome

and Northwest Georgia, so supplying their services to this area was not simply a goal; it was a must. Rome’s reputation as an auction-friendly community is well known, and its rich history of industry-leading auction companies has created a standard to be followed. But with many companies moving toward internet-based auctions, there was a void to be filled in Rome by a boots-onthe-ground company like American Auctioneers. As fate would have it, fellow Darlington graduate Lou Dempsey, a man well versed in the auction business and well known in the Rome market, jumped at the opportunity to work with Baldwin. When Dempsey came on board in late 2013, it was as if the stars aligned for both parties. “I can’t express how much I appreciated the opportunity to come to work with these guys,” says Dempsey, who mans the Rome branch of American Auctioneers. “It really is an honor to be a part of a team like this with so much experience and knowledge about our business. It’s been 19 months since I came on board and I have enjoyed every minute of it.” With Dempsey on board in Rome, business has expanded and American Auctioneers has legitimacy in the Northwest Georgia market that didn’t exist before. This has allowed them to bring

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Lou Dempsey and Keith Baldwin


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to the region their customer-first approach and the quality service that has made them a staple in Northeast Alabama. While equipment, estate, probate and other auctions are a big part of the business, real estate auctions are frequently at the forefront for American Auctioneers. Farms, commercial properties and residential properties are all fairly common, but misconceptions may intimidate residential sellers from potentially making a greater profit on the sale of their home. “People need to understand that an auction is a choice, not distress,” says Dempsey. “Sure, there are clients that are in a must-sell situation and an auction is the only option, but it’s important to me that sellers that aren’t in that situation know that they could stand to gain a lot by putting their property up for auction instead of a traditional sale. “If you compare the two processes, traditional sales start at an asking price and negotiations take that price down,” he continues. “With an auction, we set the price and work our way up. It provides instant gratification for the client and, in most cases, they get more than what they asked for without the home sitting on the market for months or years.” For clients bidding or selling, any tension about the process is alleviated by American Auctioneers’ knowledgeable staff – each of whom has served in just about every position on the Georgia or Alabama Auctioneers Associations.

They make it a priority to educate their customers in order to ensure the satisfaction of both the buyers and the sellers at the end of each auction. The core team of auctioneers includes Keith Baldwin, Lou Dempsey, Ron Baldwin, John Norris and Ben Powell all of whom are quick to note that a successful auction is a true team effort. The relationship between the auctioneer chanting on the microphone and the ring men is paramount, and American Auctioneers is proud to have some of the best in the business. “We try to educate our buyers on the floor,” says Ron. “A good ring man gets to know the bidders before the auction even begins. You find out why they came to the auction, what they are looking for and what they are willing to spend. Whether it’s property or equipment, if you have that knowledge, you can make it a more comfortable experience for the bidders. And when you are dealing with first-time bidders, that comfort level is extremely important, so we truly try to make friends with everyone under the tent.” It’s easy for this team to talk about what makes a successful auction – and their success rate speaks for itself – but their passion for the business explodes when they discuss helping clients who are upside down with a piece of property. This is the case for some of their clients and, more often than not, these properties have not been properly maintained, requiring extra effort to make them presentable for auction. American Auctioneers spares no expense to do just that.

“There are a lot of things I love about my job, but helping a family manage an estate situation is by far the most rewarding aspect of what we do,” says Keith. “To see someone come to you with the family farm, desperate to sell, but emotionally attached to the property is heartbreaking. It’s also a lot of pressure because we really want to help

work to do, but the customers found what they came for; it’s time to grab one more barbeque sandwich, pack up and head for home, wherever that may be. It is in these smiling, satisfied faces that Keith Baldwin and his team find comfort. They know that they have achieved their day’s goal – a goal

We believe an auction isn’t a success if the buyer and seller don’t walk away with a smile on their face, and that’s what we strive to provide at each and every one of our auctions.

those people. So we spend money restoring the property and getting it ready for auction, advertising and searching for potential buyers, and then making the auction an event that buyers want to attend. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing a family turn real assets into liquid assets. I think I can speak for everyone here when I say that is the pinnacle of what we do.” As the sun sets on the Calhoun Stockyard and the 1,200+ pieces of equipment worth a collective $5 million find their way onto trailers and 18-wheelers, another successful auction is moving toward its end. There is still plenty of

that encompasses far more than selling every piece of equipment on the lot. “An auction is an experience and, when we started this company, we wanted to continue this rich tradition,” says Keith. “To truly serve your customers, you have to be hands on, and the result of our doing business that way is a whole lot of former clients that we now consider family.” With the rhythmic chants of the auctioneer still echoing in his head, a future auctioneer looks up at his dad, still digesting the events of the day. He found what he came for without even knowing it. V  VV

v3 magazine 25

“I FELT OVERLY TIRED AND IRRITABLE.” For my heart, I choose Redmond.


Heart Attack Survivor

Women don’t always have the same classic heart attack symptoms as men. Many women may have a feeling that “something isn’t right.” Karen didn’t think she was having a heart attack because she just felt “tired and irritable.” But when she started having pains in her arm and back, thankfully she called 911. The Redmond team was able to resuscitate Karen and provide her with a cardiac stent. Karen says she would not have survived without the emergency heart team at Redmond. She tells everyone to “go immediately” when they have heart symptoms.

Learn more about heart symptoms or tell us your story at 501 Redmond Rd NW, Rome, GA 30165 26

v3 magazine

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Henderson & Sons Funeral Homes “Rome’s Locally Owned Funeral Homes” Barry R. Henderson

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South Chapel 3002 Maple Road Rome, GA 30161 (706) 234-5302

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That’s right! In addition to La Scala’s 18+ years of experience and a history of providing outstanding Food & Service in NW GA’s only Fine Dining establishment We can CATER any & all types of special events & parties. Let us handle your corporate & private events and as a full service catering company, we will help you develop custom menus, suited to your budget & catering needs. From simple to extravagant, La Scala has got you covered!


BREAKING DOWN Steeplechase provides a playful opportunity to sport your favorite spring selections. It happens to be after Easter this year, so linen, seersucker and white bucks (now dirty bucks) are acceptable for the fête. Start with your pants. Khakis are a given, but think about stone. It’s lighter and blends better with most shirts. Solid pants call for patterned shirts – plaids, stripes, checks and prints. This is also a good time to pull out those party pants: Madras, seersucker and others with embroidery, which call for a solid shirt. Be practical when considering the shoes. You are in a pasture. Deck shoe, leather loafer or tennis shoes (sans socks) are all perfect. Blend your belt with the shoes. Shades of brown work well with each other. Black goes with black. Now, really show your individuality: the sport coat. A navy blazer is always great. Pop in a colorful pocket square and you’ve just raised your look to Steeplechase elegant. Drop that chicken wing and grab a glass of champagne. If it’s cold and rainy, the hearty souls that show up will need to take hold of their wellies, a Barbour field coat – and, of course, a good bourbon.

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men Whether at work or play, Hal Richards believes it is always imperative to dress for success. Lodge 210 builds on the strong reputation and successful reception of Richards’ prior ventures, including Downtown Rome mainstays Antares (1973) and H. Richards (1985). After opening the doors in October 2013, the Lodgekeeper has kept busy staying abreast on the latest styles, while tracking his own personal fashion evolution. Function meets fashion at the men’s store, where attire is centered on preparedness and practicality. Expect to find everything for the southern gentleman in this one-stop shop, which features essentials for the club, the hunt and the boardroom. Men’s lifestyle brands like Filson, Barbour and Peter Millar abound in the industrial-space-turned-lounge.

Hal Richards


With beautiful knit shirts, quilted vests, handsome bowties and bespoke options, it is the details that take center stage at Lodge 210. Those looking to gallivant at the upcoming Atlanta Steeplechase should look no further than Lodge 210 to acquire field party essentials like outerwear, hats, sunscreen and lip balm from Jack Black, as well as sunglasses from Atlanta-based Red’s Outfitters. The quintessential Lodge man always thinks venue-appropriate when considering attire. Whether business, formal or casual, his understated charm and good taste lead him to the right look. Hal Richards’ eye for timeless style continues to serve the needs of a growing public, offering a level of expertise typically found in larger cities.

Outfit yourself or a loved one by visiting Lodge 210 at 210 E. Second Ave., Suite 106 in Downtown Rome. For hours and more information, call 706-204-8724 or visit v3 magazine 31

Pretty WOMEN Melanie Morris



has been outfitting women for the Atlanta Steeplechase since the store opened its doors in 1997, just a few years after it moved to Kingston Downs from Cumming, Ga. This new event had Romans racing to achieve the perfect look for a day at the “Downs,” and co-owners Melanie Morris and Mimi Weed were more than happy to help. Located at 203 East 8th Street in a shabby-chic Victorian home a few blocks from downtown Rome, this boutique store is the place to go for women’s specialty clothing, accessories and gifts.


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As Steeplechase approaches, Morris and Weed pay extra-close attention to new trends and inventory to ensure a variety of stylish looks are available to their customers for this very special day. Because, after all, it’s not just about the horses.

Stop by anytime to try on your favorite look! For more information, call 706-2954203 or like “mel&mimi” on Facebook.

BREAKING DOWN Whether you’re looking for an outfit

in a white blouse by Trina Turk paired

that represents the elegance of The Chair-

with a white skinny jean by Level 99.

man’s Tent, the classic style of a hillside

She tops it off with a denim jacket and a

hospitality tent, or the casual-yet-flirty

khaki plaid, all-weather vest by Southern

fun of the infield, mel&mimi promise to

Proper. Accessories include a unisex fedora

have you dressed as fine as a filly.

and classic black riding boots, perfect for

Hospitality tent patrons will agree

trampling through the tracks.

that this classic “Pretty Woman” look

Once you’ve made your final selec-

is the perfect Steeplechase attire. Our

tions, it’s off to the races in an exclusive

model’s dress – a feminine, silk floral maxi

ensemble styled just for you by mel&mimi!

by Johnny Was – is timeless, and the

These fashionistas promise to have you

colorful, floppy garden hat adds just the

standing out in the crowd at the Atlanta

right amount of fun to her look. After

Steeplechase 2015.

all, Steeplechase is the day to use your imagination with a millinery creation. Fascinated by the Fascinator, our model channels Kate Middleton with an ivory dress by For Love and Liberty and a nude patent leather wedge that’s perfect for the field. This outfit will have you feeling like a Duchess. Roam about the races in a navy Trina Turk textured short ensemble with a coordinating Downton Abbey Derby hat. You won’t feel blue accessorized with a pop of pink from Michael Stars; you’ll be ready to stroll the hillside. Now, let’s take to the infield in a playful patterned romper by Desigual, metallic cowboy boots and a wide-brim straw hat perfect for a day of tailgating. Should we experience April showers, show up and show out in your best equestrian chic. Our model looks distinguished v3 magazine 33

Paws for

FASHION identification

Get your Steeplechase on at

Women’s Specialty Clothing, Accessories & Gifts (706) 295-4203 203 E 8th St SW Rome, Ga


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Georgia's Best Sushi & Hibachi

727 Turner Mccall Blvd, Rome, GA


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As we prepare for a day in the country, let’s gaze into a window of the past and see a very candid side of the races at Kingston Downs, compliments of the families who started it all.

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here is something inherently southern about getting together underneath nature’s canopy and celebrating relationships formed with family and friends. Fortunately, things tend to warm up around the month of April in North Georgia, and it just so happens there is an event that allows us to kick off spring in style. Folks, the Atlanta Steeplechase is upon us and the races will, once again, take place at Kingston Downs just southeast of Rome on Hwy 411. This year is, indeed, very special. As Steeplechase prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary on April 18, it is only fitting that we take a stroll through “memory field” and ask some of the founding families about the inception of this much-anticipated running of the horses. The bond among race-goers is organic in every sense of the word – a camaraderie fashioned by men, their mounts and the hunt. Long before an organized race was founded, a group of fox hunters in Atlanta formed the Shakerag Hunt Club, running the wooded farmland on horseback chasing foxes. A tradition in fox hunting, adopted from the Irish by the English and later transported to North America in 1844, was the challenge of running the horses back to the lodge before the other hunters. John Wayt III, the eldest son of Atlanta Stee-


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plechase (ASC) co-founder John Wayt Jr., offers some history. “Anytime someone is on anything that moves, they want to race it – from wheelchairs, to cars, to horses,” he laughs. “So, the fox hunters would bet that they were faster than the others in the group. They would say to each other, ‘I’ll race you to the steeple.’ This was hundreds of years ago and the race has grown from an informal activity to a more formal event. It has sort of evolved from picking a course to, now, putting it on a racetrack.” Of course, there was never a clear path through the forest, so riders would be challenged by stone walls, wooden split-railed fences, small creeks and brush as they galloped toward the church steeples visible above the tree line; the reason why we now see jumping obstacles along modern courses. “Since the 1920s and 30s, there has been this growth of steeplechasing through all of these families that have owned steeplechase horses,” John explains. “The nucleus of it has always been these one-day events.” The late Wayt Jr., former chair of the ASC Board of Stewards, and ASC

co-founder George Chase Sr. eventually petitioned the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association to sanction a race here in Georgia. Once they had secured $7,000 in financial backing, they turned their attention to finding a track. A family farm would be the first field run by the horses. “The history of ASC began on a piece of our farm off of Holcomb Bridge Road along a curve of the Chattahoochee River,” says Martha Wayt, the wife of Wayt Jr. and one of the matriarchs of the races. As she speaks about the 1966 inaugural chase, her love for the social scene surrounding the track is evident. “I remember it started as a picnic. People brought their boxes of food and drinks to watch

the horses race,” she recalls. “We planned for about 200 of our friends to attend, but we ran out of tickets. That was the first year and I am happy to see how it has grown, and how each year things have been added to the races. The event became so large that we outgrew that farm and, in 1971, had to move to another farm in Cumming, Ga.” John offers more to his mother’s story. “The size of the crowds was one reason the race was moved from the first location, which was inside the crook of Horseshoe Bend,” he explains. “The track was built on a sandy floodplain area. This made the area really flat and it made a really

nice bowl that was suitable for racing, but my grandfather, John Wayt Sr., sold that property. As a result of that, in 1971 we moved the races up to another piece of property we owned off of Bethelview Road in Cumming. “The track on that piece of property had to be constructed,” John continues. “We ran cattle on that farm pretty much all year, and we moved them, each year, about six weeks before running the races. The funny thing is that area was actually smaller than the first. It would only hold around 15 to 20 thousand people and we had to really pack them in there, too.” Little did they know, the ASC would, once again, be on the move in 1997 and, this time, the growing city of Atlanta would claim the grounds.

“The Georgia Department of Transportation decided they would like to build a highway through the property with plans for an outer loop, which they never built,” John chuckles, remembering their second race home. “So, they came in and bought the property from us, threw everyone out and never did anything to the property. As a matter of fact, we still cut the grass and maintain the property.” So after an extensive search to find the ASC a new home, founders signed a lease with landowner Carl Bouckaert, making Kingston Downs the new (and current) home of the annual event. Sitting at a white linen-covered table, peering

at high-rise buildings as traffic buzzes by on Peachtree Road, Jim Wayt, the youngest son of Wayt Jr., provides interesting insight into the history of the Buckhead area where we are gathered for this interview. “It is interesting that we are sitting here talking about riding because this was the area used by the Saddle and Sirloin Club,” he says. “It was the 1920s, when riders rode through the country, right here in Buckhead. About three miles as the crow flies from here, is Chastain Park where hunter trials were first held.” Hunter trials was the practice used by hunters to get ready for the hunt. They would release hounds and chase them without actually hunting foxes. “It’s through that history of equestrian connection that the different hunt clubs organized the Atlanta Steeplechase,” Jim continues. “This is the reason why Chastain Park still has an equestrian center and, nearby, there was a farm on a floodplain near Nancy Creek called Moccasin Hollow. This is where the first foxhounds were cast. All of this area was considered the countryside. It’s crazy to think it was less than three miles from here.” Current ASC chairman George Chase Jr. also remembers growing up with his father’s love for steeplechasing outings. “When Jim and I were 15, we got with a few of our friends and decided to build a treehouse v3 magazine 39

Jim, Marty, Gus, George

right on the steeplechase course,” Chase laughs. “So during Christmas break, we went up to the local lumber yard and loaded up Mr. Wayt’s 1969 pick-up truck with lumber. We had so much in it that the front wheels would come off the ground on the way home. John Wayt, III, but we all call him Gus, had to put the brakes on just to steer. I think he was the only one of us old enough to drive. “I think we really got the social aspect of the steeplechase through osmosis from the adults,” he continues. “The treehouse became the party center for our friends. We grew it and formed, what we called, the Treehouse Party.” As Chase decants his story, the others around the table uncork their bottles of tales, releasing the tannins and sweet flavors of their early times at the farms. Mrs. Wayt then pours out her mind’s offerings about some of the not-so-formal times of steeplechases past. “There was the year of the streakers,” Martha recalls with a laugh. “Yeah, there was one year where someone took their clothes off and ran through the race. And then there was the mud. We would sometimes find as many as 150 of one little fancy slipper – no pairs – that were just stuck in the mud. “We have had every kind of weather,” she continues. “We’ve had snow, sleet and tornadoes … pretty much every type of weather. One year, the wind was so strong, it blew all of the tents down the day before the races. I told them to not let the photographers out there. That was the main thing.” Her tale inspires Jim to fill the conversation’s cups with another candid recollection. “One year, I think it was in early March, we had a lot of accounting firms right next to each other in a big tent,” he recalls. “There was a mud hole be-

tween these two tents and, before we knew it, the secretaries from these accounting firms starting mud wrestling in front of everyone. Some people would lose their keys in the mud and, after the races, we kids would find the keys to the cars they left on site and drive them around the pasture.” His brother, John, gets a hearty chuckle from the table after mentioning an area slightly removed from the normal ring of tents. “The area Jim is referring to was called the Pines,” he says. “It was on our second course and it was back behind these pine trees. So, Lanie Rogers decided to get all the really good

Mrs. John Wayt, Jr. (Martha)

parties and put them over in the Pines so that no one could see what was going on. There was a bar called Elan, which was a big disco bar, and they brought a couple of buses full of people. Their tent was in with all of the corporate tents, and they created a big mud hole where they were all dancing. It was crazy!” Chase adds to the stories of mishaps and 40

v3 magazine

mischief. “There used to be a Friday night party,” he recalls. “They would print the tickets on Friday to sell on Saturday, which was race day. The gentleman in charge of the tickets came to the party with the tickets in his car. But when he left the party on Friday night, his car was gone. The powers-that-be panicked and had the printer get his crew together at midnight to reprint the

George Chase, Jr., John “Gus” Wayt, III, Jim Wayt

I think the thing you have to take away from some of these stories is that the Atlanta Steeplechase has evolved from a highly social experience to more of a family experience tickets. The police called him the next morning and told him they had found his car in the bushes. He’d forgotten to put the parking brake on and his car had rolled away! So, he found it in the bushes with all of the tickets still inside.” And to top it all off, John adds, “The guy who lost the tickets was also the printer, so he left the party and had to print more tickets before the race that was scheduled for the next day.”

Soon, the table is tipsy with smiles and laughter after drinking in the extraordinarily entertaining times they have all shared together at the ASC. Although there have been some wild moments in the event’s 50-year history, current leadership has polished the event in hopes of promoting family fun with plenty of room for making memories. “I think the thing you have to take away

from some of these stories is that the Atlanta Steeplechase has evolved from a highly social experience to more of a family experience,” John says with a lighthearted grin. “I don’t anticipate us having very much of those types of [crazy] things happening again.” Of course, Steeplechase is always held with charity at the forefront of its purpose. In 1966, proceeds from the race were donated to help fight multiple sclerosis and this year, monies collected will go to Bert’s Big Adventure, a non-profit aimed at giving chronically and terminally ill children and their families an all-expense paid trip to Disney World. This charity was founded by Bert Weiss (popular radio personality of “The Bert Show” on 99.7 FM or Q100) and his wife Stacey who serves as Chairman of the foundation. Bert, Stacey and the Bert’s Big Adventure board members have also invited the children to attend the races, once more living up to the family-centered environment ASC organizers hope to foster moving forward. “There has always been a charitable and social dimension to the Atlanta Steeplechase but at the heart of it is the National Steeplechase Association,” Martha says. “The national organization provides a really solid, honest, fair and safe racing environment. They also provide the integrity that is essential to the race, which is mixed with the people who love to go fox hunting. All of the other things make the event a really fun festival.” Join Northwest Georgia’s biggest lawn party on April 18 and raise a glass in honor of what has become a true southern tradition. V  VV

For more information about race-day activities, please visit

v3 magazine 41

LIVE LONG & paw sper Now that we have a facility designed with your pet in mind, it’s easy to see why they leave with a lot more love to give. TEXT ERIN DEMESQUITA


v3 magazine



nkle-biters, beak-squawkers, ball-chasers, fur babies and best friends; no matter the make or model of the animal, there is no greater love and loyalty than that of our pets. Sitting in the window or standing by the door, they’re the first to greet us and, most likely, the only ones to act as though they’ve missed us for decades. Our frisky Fluffies and mischievous Fidos comfort us, accompany us, challenge our stamina and, at times, our strong will, just like the rest of the family; and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So when it comes to the health of our beloved tail-waggers and reptilian roommates, we seek trusted veterinary professionals who care about our pets just as much as we do, and who provide an environment away from home where they will continue to be treated like family. Dr. Dan Pate and his team at West Rome Animal Clinic (2012 Shorter Ave.) couldn’t agree more. For 25 years, Dr. Pate has treated countless pets, both medicinally and lovingly. His staff of 16 plus three doctors have harmoniously adopted the motto of “more good years together,” striving to do their utmost to strengthen and maintain the quality and vitality of each pet’s life with his or her owners. “To me, that’s got a good feel to it and that’s what we want. That’s what I want for my own animals,” Dr. Pate smiles, explaining that his Labradors, Lucy and Patty, accompany him to work every single day. “They are an integral part of our family.” Using that same ideology with each animal he cares for, Dr. Pate is constantly guiding his practice toward learning, implementing, and preserving the skills and tools necessary to help his clients maintain the happiest and strongest bonds possible with their pets. Just six months ago, with the help of Pinson’s Inc., Patterson Veterinary and Cevian Design Lab, the clinic underwent a complete transformation. From ground to gambrel, the practice has been rebuilt and fully rejuvenated, offering enhanced development and extended services that benefit the animals and their owners as well as the doctors and staff. Beginning in the treatment areas, the new surgical suite features state-of-the-art equipment such as upgraded LED lights that make for a much cooler, more comfortable working environment for the doctors and staff (as opposed to the former lights that produced a great deal of heat). “We now make our own oxygen,” Dr. Pate adds. “We’ve got scavenger systems (equipment used for preventing waste anesthetic gases from escaping into the air of an operating room), so it’s safer for our employees and safer for the animals.” And when the animals wake up from surgery, Dr. Pate and his team try to add a personal touch

Dr. Dan Pate

to their care by taking pictures and sending them to the owners for a little peace of mind. The upgrades to the facility have also allowed the staff at West Rome Animal Clinic to prioritize the division between healthy and unhealthy animals, providing the clinic with a separate isolation area that is roughly 10 times the size of the one in their previous building. “When we clean [the isolation area], the waste is kept separate from the waste of the healthy animals,” explains Dr. Pate. “We’ve got fans that take the air out instead of going through the rest of the clinic, and we’ve got separate heating and air units so that air in one part of the clinic doesn’t infect air in another part of the clinic.”

Over in the boarding area, animals needing an extended stay have a couple new options as well. “If they’re coming here, they have the option of a suite – color TV, memory foam beds and a separate room for the cats,” Dr. Pate smiles. “I put two windows in the cat room so they can look outside, and I put a nice bird-feeding station out there so the birds can fly in and the cats can watch them. So while you’re at the Hilton on vacation, you don’t have to worry about it; your animal has got it made here at the West Rome Animal Clinic.” Outside the suites, Dr. Pate has created a boarding environment that is far from the “jaillike” feel many wary pet owners imagine. Raised v3 magazine 43

So while you’re at the Hilton on vacation, you don’t have toworry about it; youranimal has got it made here at the West Rome Animal Clinic floors in the kennels allow for comfortable, waste-free nights for dogs in their care, while glass doors provide a spacious feeling and the freedom to let eyes wander further than four walls. He also mentions the importance of the new sealed floors in the kennel runs; unsealed porous flooring, even when cleaned, allows for the possibility of disease to seep in over time. As far as the interior, Practice Manager Maleah Landers immersed herself in the ninemonth mission to dress and accessorize the new facility, and Dr. Pate happily handed over the reins. “I knew I wanted the inside to be rich, homey and only clinical where it needed to be,” she explains.   The cool cream and sage green colors of the modernized craftsman exterior complement the natural elements of the interior. Rich wood floors 44

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stretch the length of the lobby, accentuating the locally acquired antique furniture upon which Landers displays products and information. On the walls above large, golden teak wood chairs are framed portraits of cats and dogs set against a Berry College background that were taken by a local photographer. “It’s not the old animal clinic concept that people are used to,” Dr. Pate says. “It’s modern, it’s updated and it’s got a great flow.” While the structure may be brand new and the atmosphere aesthetically enhanced, Dr. Pate feels that it is important to know that walls are just walls; the proverbial heart of the practice is what’s inside. “You can have a nice building,” he says, “but it’s not the building that makes the practice. It’s the people who care about the animals.” Working alongside Dr. Pate are his 16-year

Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick

colleague, Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick, and Dr. Amber Coffman, a fairly new addition to the team. What began, for Landers, as a receptionist job

in 1996 has grown into an 18-year career that now positions her as manager. “I never get bored because it’s never the same,” Landers says. “I love working with the public, I love working the business aspect, and, of course, I love the animals. Where else are you going to get all of that together?” The 19-member staff agrees that their em-

regular exams and blood work. It shouldn’t surprise owners that the preservation of their pet’s health is not unlike their own. “Sometimes people will come in and they’ll say to me, ‘Well it’s just a dog’ or ‘It’s just a cat,’ and I don’t know what that means,” Dr. Pate adds. “I have a hard time with that and the clients that are going to be happier here are the clients that

Dr. Amber Coffman

digs, however, did not change any dollar signs. “That was one commitment that we made,” he says. “What I’ve always tried to do is charge a fair price and that’s what I continue to do. We did not up our prices when we came here. We have not upped our exam fees or boarding fees or what it costs to get a bath.” Never waning from their mission to bring pets and pet parents “more good years together,” Dr. Pate and the WRAC team worked ardently through the entire construction of their new home. “We actually built the new clinic right behind the old one, and then we tore down the old clinic and had, all of a sudden, a ton more parking,” Dr. Pate smiles. “This has been, for me, a dream for a long time. It’s just fun to come to work. I’ve always enjoyed what I do. I love being a veterinarian. I love helping people out. I enjoy animals and now I’m able to do it in this wonderful facility. I feel like I need somebody to pinch me because I really love what I do.” Our little, wet-nosed trash-eaters and fuzzy meow monsters may not live forever, but to folks like Dr. Pate and his WRAC crew, they are most definitely family members, and they deserve for their years to be full, energetic, and healthy. Toss your fur babies a bone and make sure they get what they deserve – more good years. V  VV ployee standards are simple but important – treat people the way you want to be treated, do the right thing, and, at the end of the day, nothing holds any value above the care of the animals. In line with their motto, WRAC focuses on educating pet owners about the importance of four essential preventative measures for animal health maintenance: parasite control, oral health, nutrition, and early detection of disease through

have a bond with their pet or want to develop that bond. If you can help people with that, what a gift that is. And this new facility, it’s a building but it helps me do that better.” WRAC had become a bit landlocked in its old 1960s facility; there just wasn’t much room for growth. Whether from curiosity of the new look or by recommendation, Dr. Pate has noticed an increase in clients since the rebuild. The new

Visit or call 706-235-8861 to schedule an appointment or take a tour. v3 magazine 45


Reasons to Choose Renaissance Marquis and The Harbor

1. Caring Staff 2. Largest Suites in Northwest Georgia 3. Affordable Rates

Premier AA LivingCommunity Community APremier Premier Senior Senior Living Living Community

4. Cutting Edge Alzheimer’s Program 5. Great Food 6. Great Activities and Life Enrichment Programs 7.Veteran Benefit Approved 46

v3 magazine

3126 Cedartown Hwy Rome, GA 30161 706-295-0014

The Dish 100 Covered Bridge Road Euharlee, GA

PH: 700-383-3383 Open everyday from 11am-9pm Johnny Mitchell’s has hand-cut steaks, fesh seafood selections and authentic barbecue slow-smoked over cherry and hickory wood. Come experience the fusion of Southern hospitality and fine dining.

Whatever you are in the mood for, you’ll find a homemade meal at our Smokehouse that will bring you back again!

2817 Martha Berry Highway Rome, GA 30165

PH: 706.291.8969

Hours: Mon -Thu: 11:00am- 10:00pm Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Sun: 11:00am-9:00pm

WOW strives to serve the highest quality of food with the freshest ingredients. You will leave saying “WOW! What a Place!” Famous for: Wings and over 17 signature sauces to choose from! 406 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

300 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-234-4613

PH: 706-235-0030

Hours: Mon-Thur: 11:00am-10:00pm

Hours: Mon-Sat: 11:00am-8:30pm

Fri-Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm

Sun: 11:00am-4:30pm

It’s the best in town... Ain’t nothin’

The Partridge Restaurant is like stepping back in time when families gathered at the table with real plates and silverware. Each group of patrons are seated at their individual table and served family-style.

mellow about it! (Draft and Bottled

With our variety of meats and

Beers also offered) Famous for:

vegetables, you are bound to find a delicious dining experience with every visit!

Schroeder’s menu includes sandwiches, calzones, soups, salads, potato skins, nachos, wings, and more. And don’t forget our pizza!

Their Roast Beef Relief! 510 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-314-9544

Like us on FACEBOOK Mon-Fri 11:00am-3:00pm

Jamwich - Serving distinctive sandwiches, salads, and soups. Sandwiches built with the finest ingredients: Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, Zelma’s Blue Ribbon Jams and Jellies, fresh sourdough bread, premium Boars Head thick cut bacon and farm-to-table produce.

595 Riverside Parkway Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-233-9960 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-9:00pm

Fri - Sat: 11:00am-10:00pm

Fuddruckers catering can help you feed just about any size group, anytime, anywhere. Our menu will please the most discerning tastes and meet the high standards you require. We know how to make your event spectacular with the WORLD’S GREATEST CATERING. 413 Broad Street Rome, GA 30161

PH: 706-238-9000 Hours: Mon - Sat: 6:00pm-10:00pm 400 Block Bar & Lounge: 4:00pm-1:30am Live music each weekend.

La Scala offers both first-rate service and terrific Italian Cuisine in an upscale casual atmosphere. 50% off cafe menu from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

3401 Martha Berry Hwy Rome, GA 30165

PH: 706-291-1881 Hours: Sun -Thu: 11:00am-10:00pm

Fri - Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm Dine in, Take out, or delivery... Authentic Italian is what we do! We have enjoyed great success by providing our guests with a casual, friendly atmosphere and excellent service. In addition to the healthy portions of our food, you will see our entrees range from homemade sandwiches, pizzas and calzones to pastas, chicken, veal and seafood dishes.

Make it a meal worth remembering. Where to eat in Northwest Georgia. v3 magazine 47


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