Atlanta restaurateur and Eater Young Guns semi-finalist Ryan Pernice opened Table & Main, his Southern tavern and bourbon bar, in August of 2011. Now, at 27, the owner/operator has another restaurant on the way — Osteria Mattone — this one Italian instead of Southern. Both are housed on a small stretch of historic downtown Roswell called Canton Street in the suburb north of the city in which Pernice grew up. Before coming home after attending Cornell, he helped open Danny Meyer's Maialino in New York, all the while hoping to one day have a place of his own. Says Danny Meyer of Pernice, "He pioneered a restaurant row and had immediate success and is already in the process of opening his second place. He's got the full package: food, service, hospitality, entrepreneurship, smarts, everything." Below, Pernice talks about what it's like to be a young entrepreneur, plans for his next restaurant, and more.
How did you get start?
I started working at a restaurant called the Roasted Garlic when I was thirteen. It's a very vivid memory—we were there for my mother's birthday, and I kind of joked with the owner about wanting to work in a restaurant, and the next thing I knew, I was starting the following week. Not as a dishwasher, but as a cook. I was at a grill. It was totally illegal, but my parents were cool with it and the restaurant was cool with it. We had a lot of fun. I grew up in those [Castellucci Hospitality Group] restaurants all through high school.