A true shining star, Baneshia Benson loves to light up the stage and the dining room at South City Kitchen Midtown. Her vibrant personality and experience as a theatre major translates to her role as a server, bartender and trainer. Learn more about Baneshia in today’s Q&A and have her make you an “Attitude Adjustment” cocktail on your next visit to South City Kitchen!
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Atlanta and grew up in Gwinnett. I graduated from Meadowcreek High School and then went to college in Illinois. I graduated with a major in theater and minor in psychology.
What was your first restaurant job?
I started working in restaurants when I was in college to make extra money. When I was around 20 years old, I started working at The Lantern in Lake Forest, Ill. It was the only tavern in town where they only served beer and wine. We didn’t have a computer system, so I had to memorize all of the codes for each order. After graduation, I stayed in Chicago where I tried to pursue acting. At the time, I worked full time as a bartender at the Polyester Club downtown. After three years, I moved back to Atlanta. The first place that hired me here was Pappadeaux. I was there for a very long time and absolutely loved working there. It was a great corporate company to work for, which gave me a lot of structure, lessons in customer satisfaction, teamwork and work ethic.
How long have you been working with FGR?
I just celebrated two years on July 7! I came to Fifth Group because of my friend, Colleen. I was working down the street as a bartender and she recommended I apply for a job at South City Kitchen.
What is your role at South City Kitchen?
I have a few different roles at South City Kitchen including trainer, bartender and server. I also host and food run when needed. I do a gamut of things here, which is how Fifth Group trains you. If you are capable of doing different things and they need you, I will be there for them. My favorite role is training – I love making sure people are set up for success when they come in. I love being an educator in that way. I also have a passion for making cocktails and drinks. Overall, I’m on the floor a couple of times per week but I’m at the bar full time. I love making drinks and I enjoy the interaction that I have with bar guests – it’s a more intimate relationship.
What is your favorite part about being part of the FGR family?
My favorite part of the FGR family is that it is a family. It’s a family because they take care of their employees very well. From finances to benefits, they make sure we are happy and taken care of. We also do a lot for the community around us. We’re very environmentally conscious and support organizations like Hunger Walk and the Atlanta Food Bank. I take pride in working for Fifth Group.
What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective FGR employee?
If you’re applying for a job at Fifth Group, you must be a serious and professional server or bartender, have a great work ethic and be a team player. This restaurant in particular is a very team-oriented group. You have to come in with the right mindset. The team at Fifth Group are great educators so take advantage of their education in food, beverage, wine and spirits, and professionalism.
What’s your favorite dish and drink at South City Kitchen?
My favorite dish right now is the jerk quail with sweet potatoes, sautéed French green beans and spicy mayo on the side. It’s very seasonal and tender. My favorite drink has to be the “Attitude Adjustment.” It’s my kind of drink – it has Pisco, grapefruit, lime juice, a hint of housemade thyme syrup and some salt served on ice with a twist of grapefruit.
What do you like to do when you’re off the clock?
I like to hang out with my dog, go to the park, go hiking, go swimming and hang out with friends and family.
What was the last TV show you binge watched?
Well I currently have two. My first – of course – is Game of Thrones. My other favorite is The OA – it’s so good!
What would your last meal be?
It would definitely be my mom’s crab boil recipe with shrimp, corn, potatoes and andouille sausage and a bone-in or boneless ribeye on the side. My last beverage would have to be either whiskey, bourbon or an iced cold beer.
If you could only drink one cocktail for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
It would definitely be the “Absolut Cajun” from my old job. It’s frozen and made with hurricane mix, Absolut Citron, margarita mix and a floater of Absolut Mandarin.
If you could be cast in any role on any TV show or movie, what would it be?
Cate Blanchett was robbed of the Oscar when she played Elizabeth the first time. If I could play any role, that would be it. Cate Blanchett made me want to be Queen Elizabeth.
What was your favorite role that you ever played?
This place called “The Good Doctor.” I played an assistant – Mr. Pochatkin. It was a role for a man but they gave it to me. My other favorite role has to be in “Blithe Spirit.” I played a medium and had so much fun.