Working at renowned chef Hugh Acheson’s Athens, Ga. eatery 5&10 drew Hunt Revell (J.D. ’22), to the restaurant industry. He waited tables there as a student at the University of Georgia and received a crash course in entrepreneurship.
“When I finished college, the first job I got and the first job I wanted was a full-time table waiting job at a fancy restaurant,” Revell said. “I liked the culture of it. I like customer service, but I prefer the restaurant scene over cold calling people or working for a company dealing with complaints. It’s fun to set up a vibe and make people comfortable.”
He’s remained close to Athens and the restaurant industry, and after graduation, he helped open The National and Seabear Oyster Bar. As he has risen to the rank of manager and now partner at Seabear, Revell has had to use his people skills differently. Instead of just customers and coworkers, his interactions now also include working with employees and suppliers.
“I look at it how I came up in the industry,” he said. “We didn’t have a ton of instruction all the time. They gave us the autonomy and trusted us to do a good job, so that’s what we want to do. With that, it really all comes down to training and making sure everyone is prepared, especially not being on site every day anymore.”
Now, as a student at Georgia State Law, he is looking to use his education to strengthen his impact on the industry and the environment.
Revell earned a master’s in liberal arts from the New School for Social Research.
While in New York, he taught high school freshmen at the Harbor School on Governor’s Island about water quality and environmental history. He also got involved with an oyster restoration program focused on more than just providing food. This is part of what inspired him to open Seabear.
“The students and teachers, along with a group of non-profits affiliated with the Governors Island Alliance, would take this oyster seed and grow it at various designated sites around New York Harbor, monitoring and measuring over time,” Revell said. “This program ultimately developed into the Billion Oyster Project, which is now a huge restoration effort geared toward putting a billion oysters into the Harbor in hopes of cleaning the water.”
The positive economic and environmental impact of oyster farming is has inspired Revell to take his experience beyond the restaurant industry.
The Georgia General Assembly recently passed a law removing some barriers to oyster farming on the Georgia coast, and Revell said he hopes to help solve problems related to funding, research and development, and vertical integration in the industry.
“The goal is definitely to expand on the environmental side, while maintaining my connections with Athens and other small restaurants to help where I can,” he said. “I’m hoping to be involved with growing the oyster business in Georgia– supply and demand.”
Written by Alex Resnak