A recent addition to the Fifth Group family, server Austin McAllister lights up La Tavola with her vibrant personality and passion for all things hospitality. An Ohio native, Austin got into the industry because of her enthusiasm for a small restaurant in her hometown, and she loves that La Tavola’s small team feels like family. Check out more about Austin in our Q&A below!
How long have you been with Fifth Group?
I started late last September, so just over five months!
How did your career in hospitality begin?
I’m originally from Ohio, and had always loved this small restaurant in my hometown – I told myself if there was ever an opportunity to work there, I’d take it! I had just returned from a year abroad going into my junior year of college, and I wasn’t sure if wanted to return to school. While I was figuring out my next step, I learned that the restaurant had opened a new location and I decided to pursue an opportunity to work there. I’ve been in hospitality ever since!
What brought you to Atlanta?
I’m a musician, and my bandmate from New York had plans to move here. My last year in New York had me wanting to make a change, so I decided to move here, as well! I’ll be celebrating my two-year Atlanta anniversary this summer!
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I love to eat and drink, and I’ve recently gotten into creating craft cocktails at home. I also make music, and I’m obsessed with traveling.
What is your favorite part about being part of the Fifth Group family?
I really appreciate how much everyone cares about what they do. This is not the kind of place where people clock in and clock out. Everyone is very passionate and invested in the restaurant and each other, and it’s very rare to find that in this industry.
Where in ATL do you live?
I just moved to Decatur!
Favorite spots in your neighborhood?
I used to work at Bread & Butterfly, so I still visit there a good bit! I’m a big fan of Ticonderoga Club and Marcel, too. There’s a very small Mexican restaurant near my house that I love, but I don’t want to give away my best kept secret quite yet!
Favorite band or musician?
That’s such a hard question! Classically, I’m really into Al Green and Chaka Khan. As a teen, I was really into Bright Eyes and Fiona Apple, and now I’m loving Drake and Kelela.
Favorite celebrity chef?
What is your favorite FGR dish and/or drink?
I recently had the new crullers at Lure – oh my gosh, they were amazing. We don’t have it on the menu anymore, but there was a wild boar ravioli dish at La Tavola earlier this year – I think about it often. And the malloreddus! Ecco Midtown also had a great rabbit dish that I loved recently. Clearly, I can’t choose just one. Drinks wise, I love the Il Capo at La Tavola.
What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
Atlanta feels like a city, but also a hometown at the same time. There’s an amazing amount of diversity here, also!
Who inspires you most in your career?
Bjork and Nigella Lawson. But I also really appreciate and am inspired by my team at La Tavola daily. It feels good to want to go to work every day – I think that’s a rare feeling for a lot of people. We really are a family and the Fifth Group team does such a thoughtful job of selecting new teammates.
If you could invite one person, living or dead to dinner at a Fifth Group Restaurant, where would you take them and why?
I would probably bring Nigella Lawson to dinner at La Tavola. I love the way she talks about food and is very insistent about making every moment that you eat enjoyable – without being too fussy about it.