Whiskey Bird in Atlanta ranked #37 on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2022.
Check out Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in 2023 and catch up on stories of past winners.
Key business takeaways
- Building a strong, dedicated team will help your business thrive, even in unexpectedly difficult times
- As an entrepreneur, some days you’re acting as the CEO and others you’re helping bus tables—be prepared and welcome all roles
- Although the entrepreneurial world is dominated by “grind culture,” it’s important to establish a work/life balance in order to find success in and out of your business
With blanco tequila and a splash of the restaurant’s housemade sour mix, Whiskey Bird co-founder and general manager Anthony Vipond welcomes the Atlanta dinner crowd with one of his favorite drinks, a classic margarita. “There’s nothing better than shaking a great cocktail,” he said.
It was always a dream of Anthony’s to open a restaurant—a vision that he shared with his friend Chad Crete, a chef and the other co-founder of Whiskey Bird. The two met at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and quickly bonded over their love of food and hospitality. The friendship grew as they hosted dinner parties each week, yet it wasn’t until a trip to Asia that the idea of Whiskey Bird took flight.
Anthony and Chad were primarily inspired by the Japanese yakitori they ate on their trip, and they quickly recognized an absence of this type of cuisine in the Atlanta area. With their vision realized and market identified, the two worked together to create a restaurant driven by creativity, vibrancy, and most importantly, community.
‘Our team is everything’
The duo has been fortunate enough to be supported by an excellent team, with several members having been there since the restaurant’s opening in 2017. “They are the ones that have helped build the foundation of our reputation and are the ones that have helped to train and develop our current team,” Anthony said.
Not only did their team’s dedication help bring Whiskey Bird to life, but it also helped the restaurant survive one of the greatest challenges of this lifetime: the pandemic.
“It was really tough, but we seized the moment to focus on our customers and employees, and it made the business stronger. We created a lasting takeout business, including installing a convenient take-out pick-up window in the front of our restaurant, revamping our menu, investing in new patio space, and keeping our employees’ safety a top priority. We came out of COVID stronger than ever with a great customer base and team,” Anthony said.
The reality of entrepreneurship
The COVID-19 pandemic was not the only surprise the team faced on their entrepreneurial journey. While the Whiskey Bird co-owners recognized that opening a business would not come without its share of challenges, Anthony admitted that he was surprised by the overwhelming volume of work it takes to open and run a successful business.
“When you own your own business, not only do you wear many hats (from CEO to janitor), you also care about the business more than any other job you’ve previously had. The combination of those two things leads to a pretty grueling amount of work,” Anthony said.
Although the intense workload may have come as a slight shock to Anthony and Chad, owning their own restaurant is something the pair wouldn’t trade for anything.
As Anthony noted, entrepreneurs possess a love for their business that fuels their work ethic and drive. However, this passionate care for one’s business can oftentimes lead to a life dominated by work and burnout. Once Anthony’s family welcomed their second daughter to the family, he soon realized the importance of striking a better work/life balance.
“I think [grind culture] is the only culture I have ever known, but it is not a culture we want at Whiskey Bird so I actively fight against it,” Anthony said. “I don’t work for the sake of working, and I know when it’s time to take a break.”
Looking to the future
The Whiskey Bird team was thrilled to be recognized as a Yelp top 100 restaurant and continued the celebration into their five-year anniversary (April 2022). As they reflect on their past achievements, the team looks forward to the future and all that they will accomplish.
“In six months, I think the entire Atlanta restaurant scene will be booming and our guests will be visiting Whiskey Bird more than ever… In five years, we hope to be an Atlanta institution. We will have been open for 10 years at that point and hope to be known for continually great food, drinks, service, and a comfortable, lively atmosphere,” Anthony said.
Photos of Whiskey Bird on Yelp
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