Kris Zimmermann has been serving up drinks behind the bar at La Tavola for 17 years. We sat down with her to talk about her role, favorite drinks to make, and more. Keep reading!
Where are you from?
I grew up in New York, went to college in North Carolina, and then moved to Atlanta after college.
How long have you been with Fifth Group?
I’ve been a bartender at La Tavola for 17 years now.
What is your role at La Tavola?
My title is bartender, but I think my role goes beyond that – to providing great service to our guests, being a food and wine consultant and acting as the point of contact between what we do in the back of the house and what we do in the front.
What is your favorite part about being part of the Fifth Group family?
I really love the people I work with – that has been the best part of working with Fifth Group. I also love that I work with a company that respects and values me. I overheard a teammate say recently that he can really be himself at work – he can do his job, but he doesn’t have to change who he is. And I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about Fifth Group – we have this great framework, but when it comes down to it our personalities can really shine. You don’t have to fit into a Fifth Group mold.
How did your career in hospitality begin?
I’ve tended bars since I was old enough to serve liquor and worked in nightclubs in the 90s, as well as in fine dining. So coming to La Tavola was an easy transition when I was leaving nightlife, because I got to do the fast, quick service bartending but also had the fine dining aspect.
When you’re not working, what do you love to do?
I like going out dancing with my friends – I love house music. I also enjoy yoga (one of my favorite spots is Decatur Yoga).
Where in ATL do you live?
East Atlanta – I’ve been there for 10 years.
Favorite spots in your neighborhood?
I really love Banshee – it’s been my go-to spot recently.
What’s your favorite Fifth Group Restaurants dish?
I love our saltimbocca here at La Tavola – I recommend it to everyone. You’ve also got to love the goat cheese balls at Ecco.
Favorite drink to make behind the bar?
I love making the classics – Negronis, Manhattans, Old Fashioneds. I think making a perfect classic cocktail is really telling of a bartender’s skill.
I don’t think I have any favorites necessarily, but I love to go to concerts as often as possible. I recently saw Janelle Monae at the Tabernacle and she was fantastic.
What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
I fell in love with Atlanta right when I moved here – it was right after the Olympics and there was this exciting energy in the city. But my favorite thing would have to be the people – that’s what has informed everything Atlanta is for me. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming.
Favorite celebrity chef?
I probably model my cooking most after Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten. I come from an Italian family and love cooking Italian food.
What are three adjectives that best describe you?
Friendly, funny, and grounded.
Who inspires you most in your career?
I’m inspired by lots of things and lots of people, but I think the people I work with and the people I work for are the most inspiring. When I work with chefs who are excited about food and managers who are excited about what we do, that inspires me and makes me want to be better. The people that dine here also inspire me – especially those that want to learn more about wine and food. They keep me interested and motivated to keep my eyes and ears open for what’s new.
If you could invite one person, living or dead to dinner at a Fifth Group Restaurant, where would you take them and why?
My grandmother – she’s the one who taught me my love of food. I’d bring her to La Tavola. She was Italian so I think she’d really love it.