Let’s meet Sandy Springs native and UGA graduate Jason Sheetz whose love of Sandy Springs for its neighborhood charm is what drew him back to open a local favorite seafood restaurant, Hammocks Trading Company and then with his partner, Chef William Sigley, they also opened Under the Cork Tree at The Prado.
What inspired you or led to your current career? I grew up with parents and neighbors whose parties revolved around food. At 10 or 11 years old it became my place to work the grill cooking oysters for these get-togethers. From that early start, I always had a vision of opening a place where guests could sit back, relax and enjoy exceptional food and service. From there our motto was born “Eat, Drink, Hangout!”
How long have you lived and or worked in Sandy Springs? I worked in the restaurant business in Athens and moved back here after graduation for the Olympics. I worked in management at various restaurants from Chequers, Blue Ridge Grill and Bones. I met my partner while working at Here to Serve who shared my vision of opening a restaurant. When it came time to think about opening a place in 2010/2011, we choose Sandy Springs because my roots are here and it was a stable area through the economic downturn of the time. We wanted to have the restaurant be Southern Coastal meets Baja, California. We thought it would be a good place to cook great food, throw a party and hopefully make a little money.
What is your favorite movie? I have two – Star Wars and Field of Dreams
Choosing anyone alive or past – who would you like to have lunch with? Chef Gordon Ramsey at Hells Kitchen
Who is the most interesting person you have met here? Sophia Loren – when I was around 10 years old and singing in the Atlanta Boys Choir we did an event at the Ritz Hotel downtown Atlanta with a chamber ensemble group and when we finished they choose me to give Sophia Loren roses after the program. She kissed me on the cheek. I was even on the cover of the AJC. Once a year she sent me a box of chocolates until I was about 15.
What is on your bucket list? I would like to go on a Mediterranean cruise and sample the local wine and food in the cities we stop in. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Well, being in this business can be hard especially when you own a business and wear all the hats. So we now have goals for new concepts for the future and different ways to bring food to people. That way I can have a house on the lake and a condo in Sandy Springs.
What advice would you give to people? Work hard, have goals, be humble and have a good work-family balance
What words come to mind when you think of the word home? The South – Southern hospitality, Sweet tea, Close family