Shenanigans lives up to its rollicking name, with creative food, quality libations, and a convivial atmosphere. However, owners Deb Rowe and Tommy and Andrea Lee take their hospitality mission seriously, and they work to extend it to their community in Dahlonega and beyond.

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(Photo by MB Shaw) ACE named Shenanigans “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2013. From left to right: Owners Tommy Lee and Deb Rowe, accepting the award from ACE loan officer Courtney Lynn.

“Shenanigans excels in community involvement,” said ACE loan officer Courtney Lynn.

The popular restaurant and Irish-themed pub on the downtown square also provides jobs for more than 30 employees. “It’s a great venue where you might run into big-name musicians like Zac Brown or Amy Ray,” Lynn said.

Shenanigans — a beloved hangout for hip locals, tourists, and academics from the nearby university — plays a significant role in several fund-raisers, including Hemlockfest, a benefit to save imperiled hemlock trees, and “Shucking for Shamrocks,” an annual Labor Day event to support research and treatment for multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy — disorders that affect Rowe’s siblings.
“Engaging the community is very important to us, partly because I’m a just sucker for a good cause,” she said with a laugh, “but also because we want our business to be associated with doing good and with making a difference. It’s good marketing, with a purpose.”Evidently that strategy works. So far, Shenanigans  has posted sales growth of four- to 10-percent in almost every month of its operation for the past five years, including those otherwise lean times during the economic recession, when many diners were staying home.

“ACE helped our dream come true,” said co-owner Tommy Lee. “Banks were tightening up during the credit crunch, so we were excited to find ACE, which supported our vision financially and with business advisory services that are always accessible and helpful. They’ve helped us grow and provide more and more jobs for people in north Georgia. There’s a ripple effect that is hard to measure, but it can be felt.”

Sláinte! (The Irish toast to good health.)

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