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Where hard work, hunger meet
Spondivits celebrates milestone
Spondivits 4 es
Spondivits owners Andy and Taylor Camp talk about the 30th anniversary of the restaurant Tuesday afternoon at the Cumming Spondivits. - photo by Emily Saunders

At a glance

Sponvidits is open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Friday and 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Among the 30th anniversary specials/events at the Cumming location:

• Shrimp or snow crab buckets for $19.79

• July 18, 22 and 29: DJ and karoake at 9 p.m.

• July 22: Singer and guartist Chris Roberts at 5 p.m.

• July 24: Comedian Kip Attaway at 9 p.m.

• July 25: Elvis impersonator Harold Lee at 9 p.m.

• July 31: Buck and Duke Band at 9 p.m.

Thirty years is a long time.

It’s an especially long time for a family-owned and operated restaurant chain to stay in business with ever-growing competition from big-box national chains.

But for Spondivits Seafood and Steaks’ original location near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport the 30-year mark is here.

While the Cumming location of the two-spot chain hasn’t been around quite as long — it opened in 1996 — customers will get to take advantage of several anniversary specials and events throughout July.

Spondivits founder and owner Andy Camp believes the secret to both locations’ success is simple.

“We try  hard,” he said. “We stay on top of it. We work hard at everything we do.”

Ed Spivia, a long-time customer of both locations, said other secrets are service and quality of the food.

“The way Andy trains his staff to be friendly and down-home is great,” he said.

“The menu is certainly an attraction too. It’s the best gumbo of anywhere, no doubt about it.”

The quality of food is something Camp prides himself on, and is something he says he wishes more people were aware of.

“For all the people in surrounding counties who think this is just a bar, they’re very mistaken,” he said. “Our chef, Chef Glenn Gane, is a seventh-generation, award-winning chef. And everything we do, even our salad dressings, are made from scratch — no frozen stuff, no junk.”

Some of the specialities cooked up by Gane and his staff include lobster gumbo, clam chowder, crawfish with fried spinach and various fish caught and shipped in daily, Camp said.

The restaurant also offers aged steaks, seafood buckets up to 5 pounds, seasonal items like fresh oysters, crawfish and a smoked fish dip, as well as a deep-fried strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Camp’s 23-year-old son Taylor is a partner in the business. He said some of the top sellers from the bar area include “Strong Island Iced Tea” and “one of the largest shooter menus outside of Las Vegas.”

The younger Camp said the hometown feel sets the Cumming location apart from the Atlanta site.

“We definitely get more regular customers up here than the southside [location],” he said. “And I’ve heard a lot of stories about people meeting their wives here.”

Jeffrey Phillips, who has managed the Cumming Spondivits for nearly a year, said the environment for customers and staff has contributed to the restaurant’s long-term success.

“There’s no corporate environment. It’s more of a family,” he said. “No one’s a number here ... I’ve heard a lot of feedback from servers who have left and come back, and they all say it’s not the typical big chain [restaurant] atmosphere.”

Rachel Battles, whose customers know her as “Rachet,” has worked for Camp for 10 years and plans to do so for “a few more years definitely.”

“He’s a great guy to work for. He’s always been supportive and very helpful in teaching me the ways of the restaurant business and keeping people happy.

“I have three kids and the only thing that would pull me away [from Spondivits] is staying home with my kids. It’s a fun place to work.”

E-mail Crystal Ledford at