Creative Food, Intimate Music, Uncommon Venue

Three musicians on a small stage: mandolin, banjo and guitarphoto by Brian Benefield

By Brian Benefield

For more articles on food in Cobb County follow this link to all our Second Helpings columns by Brian Benefield.

Tucked away amongst towering trees, there is a small, unassuming house on a hill, this is The Hunt House, and it is alive with many musical stories to tell.

Dating back to the late 1800s, the charming abode is in the shadow of Kennesaw Mountain, rumored to be haunted and a brothel at some point. Now, the living room hosts local artists such as Kevn Kinney (from Drivin N Cryin) and Michelle Malone, just to name a few.

The owner Marc Sommers said, “because of the age of the house and the very thick walls, the acoustics are incredible!”

The music room only holds about fifty people, which makes for a highly intimate experience. You are so close that you can talk to the artists between songs and watch them create their magic on stage. There’s a large outdoor pavilion that, during the pandemic, played host to many musical artists, so guests could socially distance themselves and still enjoy some great tunes.

This area is a multi-functional structure that can accommodate weddings and private parties as well. 

Parsley’s catering is another branch of the business that was started in Dunwoody, GA, by Marc’s Mom, Ellie Sommers, in 1994.

He joined the team in 1998; they moved the entire operation to the extensive four-acre facility in 2009. They built a full-service kitchen to prepare all the food for the live music shows and other special events. Marc has excellent relationships with many farmers and local purveyors that he sources his produce and proteins from and told me, “we try our best to keep the menu ideas ever-changing with the seasons and current food trends.”

I can vouch for the tastiness and high quality of the food they offer while at a show, and you will want to come hungry.

My wife and I have attended many performances since 2020, and it was our saving grace during the pandemic because we could get our live music fix while feeling safe at the outdoor venue. We sampled the mouthwatering smoked beef brisket tacos and homemade pimento cheese with crackers and okra pickles.

They offer local craft brews, wine, and hard seltzers for your imbibing pleasure while enjoying melodic tunes under the stars.  

The Ballroom and Gardens make up the third branch of Marc’s business, and I met Deric Harding, who’s in charge of this sizable, well-appointed facility. This indoor venue is perfect for a wedding reception or cocktail party, complete with a large dance floor, massive windows to provide natural light, and beautiful chandeliers. Adjacent to the Ballroom is a sprawling, lush green lawn and gardens where Marc and his team put on many types of ceremonies and farm dinners.

Speaking of team, Marc told me that most of his loyal employees have been working with him for between fourteen and twenty years, which is, in fact, uncommon in this industry and is a a testament to the longevity of his employees tenure.  

In a way, I wish to keep this place a secret because when you attend a show, whether inside at the Hunt House or the outdoor pavilion, you feel transported away from the hustle and bustle of city life into a secluded world of music, good food, nature, and friendly people.

But, I would be doing the readers a disservice if I didn’t share this remarkable locale, and if you haven’t visited yet, you are missing out on a true hidden gem.  

http://www.hunthousemarietta.com/

http://gardensatkennesaw.com  

http://www.parsleys.com/

Brian Benefield is an Atlanta native born in Dekalb County, who has lived in Cobb since 2003.

He has worked in Hospitality, Marketing, Real Estate, and most recently Food Tourism.

Married to Cecilie Benefield for 12 blissful years and have a dog, Miss Pickles.

Hobbies are mountain biking, running, gardening, and trying new recipes in the kitchen

Member of Les Marmitions cooking club since 2016, where we cook 5-course meals with local Atlanta chefs.  

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