Zac Brown Band pre-concert meal for fans is a gourmet experience

6:35 p.m Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 Entertainment

The Zac Brown Band, which played to a near sold-out Nutter Center crowd Thursday, puts on a pre-show meal that rivals a gourmet restaurant.

The band’s leader, Zac Brown, ran a restaurant in Georgia with his father before his band career took off and has a line of cook book, sauces and meat rubs on the market. (zacbrownband.com).

But they also travel with a chef, Rusty Hamlin, who when he’s not touring with the band serves at the Smyrna, Georgia restaurant Atkins Park.

When on the road, “we don’t do pigs in a blanket,” Hamlin told a pre-concert crowd of about 200 gathered in a lower-level room at Nutter.

That’s putting it mildly. Hamlin’s website, ChefRusty.com, describes it this way: “What started off as a simple way to reduce the awkwardness which arises at a typically rock band ‘meet and greet’ has blossomed into the largest traveling display of southern hospitality known to man.”

Hamlin told the crowd that he had shopped at a little place called Dorothy Lane Market earlier in the day and tried to pick out the best fresh fare he could fine. They try to buy local at every stop.

At Nutter, he served a kale salad with champagne vinaigrette, a pork loin cooked in Brown’s Southern Ground Grub Brown Sauce, potatoes fried in duck fat, beef roasted and coated with Brown’s Georgia Clay Rub, a tomato soup that took four hours to prepare and a dessert concoction of chocolate, peanut butter, berries and a pound cake that was delicious.

The servers were the band members themselves. The meal was an extra ticket that could be purchased by members of the band’s “Zamily” fan club — fans who have bought a $35 membership to receive tour and music information and other perks.

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