Although LRG Provisions in Five Points is expected to close soon, the venerable Last Resort will remain open, it was confirmed Thursday.
Melissa Clegg, co-owner of the Last Resort and LRG Provisions, said Thursday that after six years, LRG Provisions – which featured a dining room and a catering service – would shutter next month.
“We are closing Provisions at the end of September,” said Clegg, who has been on board with the Last Resort since 1992. “It’s been difficult for us to figure out a formula to stay alive, basically.
“A good portion of our business model was catering, and that business has been tenuous at best. It’s a combination of things, including employees who might not be comfortable working in large groups. That has been a big casualty for us and we’re quite sad about that.”
Clegg added that LRG Provisions’ managing partner, Jeneane McGuire, had indicated she was ready to move on.
“Jeneane determined that personally she wanted to make a shift into another professional direction and she’s got a couple of young children and her focus has changed,” said Clegg.
The iconic Last Resort, which has been in downtown Athens for parts of six decades and in July opened an outdoor beer garden where its parking lot once was, is still open, although like nearly every other comfort venue in America has had challenges dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re doing our best,” said Clegg of the Last Resort, which opened in the mid-1960s as a music venue and transitioned into a restaurant. “We’re trying to do what we need to do to survive and not do too much. We’re trying to do everything we can think of to stay alive and relevant.”
Clegg said that the restaurant was not getting out of the catering business and would still service Wall & Broad, an event venue in downtown Athens that opened 18 months ago.
“One of the reasons we decided to open up (LRG) for the catering was because we really didn’t have the ability to do catering out of our kitchen at the Last Resort – we were maxed out,” she said. “Now that we’re open five nights a week, we’re going to do the catering at Wall & Broad through the Last Resort. We have the ability to because we’re only open five nights. That’s our plan at this point.”
Presently, the Last Resort – which closed its doors on March 15, reopened in June with curbside service and rolled out limited dining hours in July – is open Wednesdays through Sunday nights. Clegg said she envisioned the restaurant would continue with the current schedule.
“I imagine that’s the model we’ll continue with through COVID,” she said. “It seems like a way we can stay afloat and not put too much pressure on the business. Once we get out of COVID, we’ll go back to seven nights a week and analyze what we want to do during the day, which may be Saturday and Sunday brunch and not seven days a week. We haven’t determined that yet. We’re just trying to respond as things are continually changing…It’s been a crazy ride so far.”