A four-year member of the Fifth Group family, Mercedes Anderson is a welcome, smiling face in the dining room at Alma Cocina. Find out what we learned about Mercedes in a full Q&A below, then make a reservation to visit her at Alma during lunch!
How long have you been with Fifth Group?
I’ve been here for four years and have been at Alma the whole time!
How did your career in hospitality begin?
I started as a hostess at a sports restaurant called Jocks and Jills at CNN Center when I was 17. That experience really introduced me to the hospitality industry and taught me how to be poised under pressure. I knew at that time I wanted to continue serving people and making people happy through food.
What is your favorite part about being part of the Fifth Group family?
I like that Fifth Group is very thorough when it comes to training and ongoing development, and the opportunities to learn are very hands-on. We get to try a lot of new foods and attend wine blitzes – where we learn more in-depth information about our wine service – and I’ve very much enjoyed learning from senior members of the team at each of those experiences.
Who inspires you most in your career?
I’d have to say my mom, because she works in hospitality too! She’s currently a beverage director for Aramark at AmericasMart. I watched her start her career as a server and grow from there, and she’s always maintained a keen sense of hospitality and attitude of service that I aspire to.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I enjoy spending time with my nine-year-old daughter, first and foremost. Other than that, I like to read and write, and I love music – I want to learn how to play the guitar!
Where in Atlanta do you live?
I live in the West End, which is near the Atlanta University Center where Spellman and Morehouse colleges are. It’s an up-and-coming area and I’ve enjoyed watching it grow.
What are your favorite spots in your neighborhood?
I just tried Lean Draft House, which is right near the Beltline. They have a super cool patio with string lights and it was a great spot to hang out!
What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
Aside from the southern hospitality, I like the variety of people who call the city home. It’s easy to be accepted here and be yourself – there’s something for everyone.
What’s your favorite band?
I can’t choose one! I grew up listening to all types of music and still listen from everything from Migos to Carlos Santana to Fleetwood Mac. You never know what you’re going to get!
What three adjectives best describe you?
Smiley, complex and patient
Favorite celebrity chef?
Chef Chad Clevenger – our executive chef at Alma. He Beat Bobby Flay! I name drop him to my friends all the time.
What is your favorite FGR dish and/or drink?
I work lunch service at Alma, so on that menu I’d have to say our grilled steelhead trout. It comes with an arugula, citrus and avocado salad and is an amazing, light option for lunch. For dinner, I love the mole, which is a signature dish. My daughter calls it “chocolate chicken” and asks me to bring it home constantly!
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 take my dad, who passed recently, to La Tavola. I haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard it’s small and cozy and the perfect place to connect over a great meal. And he loved pasta!