Angie Clark enjoyed her work as a LongHorn Steakhouse bartender in Georgia, but after 22 years, she said, “I felt like shaking things up. LongHorn was wonderful, but I was ready to make a change.”
She saw a Seasons 52 restaurant being built a mile from her home in Buford and was intrigued. “I knew management wasn’t for me, and I wanted to stay with Darden because it’s a great company, so I thought, ‘This could be my chance.’ ”
She talked to her LongHorn managing partner and director of operations, and they told her they hated to see her go but thought Seasons 52 would be a good fit. The director got the ball rolling, and before the new restaurant even opened at the end of June, Paul Duke, its managing partner, had welcomed her to the team. “I knew it was going to be a positive move, and it has been,” Angie said.
“Angie has a freshness and life to everything she does,” Paul said, “and she shares it with everyone around her. She is dedicated, works hard and loves people. I could go on and on. We are so fortunate she has joined our team.”
She might not have reinvented herself, Angie said, if not for Darden’s umbrella of eight brands, which allows its team members to switch brands without having to relocate. “I was nervous, of course, but with Darden’s backing and the support of my LongHorn management team, I knew I could transition. It was an opportunity to work closer to home, at a sister concept, in a new restaurant and new area.”
Angie said she liked that everyone was starting off together. “I wanted the opportunity to help open a new restaurant and help build its business. When you’re a bartender, it’s really your own show, taking care of the guests but also entertaining them. Seasons 52 provides an excellent venue, and it’s up to me what I do with that venue. I can go as far as I like here.”
Her favorite Seasons 52 cocktail is the Cucumber Basil Smash — “so light, crisp and refreshing — I recommend it often, and I’ve never had a guest dislike it.” Her favorite menu item is the Lump Crab Cakes. “I love the food. I tell guests it’s truly fresh, and I joke with them and add, ‘not fresh out of the bag, but truly fresh.’ ”
Angie said it meant a lot that many of her regular LongHorn guests visited on her last day to say goodbye, and a few have made the drive to her new digs. Open only about two months, the new Seasons 52 already has attracted a group of regulars.
Angie said she used to be shy, but bartending changed all that. “Bartending is a show, and I give it everything I’ve got. But it’s not being fake because I love what I’m doing. I love talking with our guests, and getting them to talk with each other. I love the whole atmosphere. I always tell them: ‘It’s like the TV show “Cheers” except I’m cuter than Rhea Perlman.’ ”