We had the good fortune of connecting with Andy Gonzales and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andy, what do you attribute your success to?
I am not the most talented person to ever put on an apron. That has been fairly obvious from the outset of my career. My work ethic and overall stubbornness have carried me through lots of difficult situations. People must be willing to sacrifice their time and put in effort to achieve their goals. Talent is not enough. It has not been easy. There were many times that I wanted to quit. But, if I had, my life would’ve been very different and probably not nearly as fulfilling. Persistence is the most poorly kept secret to success. To grow and succeed, you will have to be willing to do things that you don’t really want to do. You will have to answer the bell when you wish you could just roll over and pull the covers over your head. If you stop, so will your career.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Companion is a bar with restaurant tendencies on the northwest side of Atlanta. We officially opened on April 1st of 2020, which given the pandemic, was poorly timed. The City delayed our liquor license for 6 1/2 months. A bar without alcohol isn’t an optimal situation and even established restaurants have had a tough go of it. We were really up against a difficult situation, but my partners, staff and I persevered and we feel good about surviving this mess. We look forward to 2021 and getting the shackles taken off so that we can show people what The Companion is capable of doing. It’s very exciting! My other bar, Steinbeck’s, is located in Decatur, GA. It turns 15 years old in 2021. The close-knit staff there and our large crew of regulars have been the glue keeping things together. We look forward to having one helluva a party to celebrate not only 15 years in business, but surviving the restaurant hellscape that 2020 provided. I am very proud of both places.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Let’s see… these recommendations will ignore all pandemic-related issues and we will pretend as if 2020 does not exist. Deal? Deal! -Fresh off the plane, we hit Kimball House for their Oyster Happy Hour. Cocktails (or champagne) will be imbibed. Snacks and booze are best for jet lag. -For dinner, Nina & Rafi for a Detroit Style Pizza. -I would try to score some Delta Club Level tickets to see Atlanta United during the visit. It’s a massive amount of fun and United matches are one of the most special sports experiences in the nation, not just Atlanta. -Dinner at Lyla-Lila the restaurant of my good friend, Craig Richards, is a must for any visitor to our city. -I have a few connections at country clubs around the area and would love try to work in a round at Settindown Creek. It’s not easy to get on, but its the nicest course in the area, in my opinion.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Douglas Turbush, owner of Seed, Stem & Drift in East Cobb, is a mentor & friend who inspired me to open my own place, He was the Georgia Restauranteur of the Year in 2019 and I worked under him at Nava & Bluepoint. He helped me believe in myself and has done the same for countless others. I don’t know that my career would have progressed without his encouragement and knowledge.