Behind the Scenes: Anthony Audino of Blue Ridge Grill

Credit: Alexa Lampasona

As a server, charisma and charm go hand in hand if you want to make an impression to an otherwise hungry table of diners. Anthony Audino comes from a background in acting, and uses his casual, laid back manner to appeal to his guests at Blue Ridge Grill. Here, the aspiring actor shares with us his balancing act of casting calls and classic American cuisine. 

How did you get your start at Blue Ridge Grill?

I’ve spent several years as a server in casual restaurants, and then working in banquets. Here, the big difference is I don’t deal with volume, it’s quality over quantity. The guests are more savvy, so the servers are focused on customer service and making sure guests enjoy their experience, instead of just turning out food and drinks.

The restaurant attracts some high-profile people, like Coke and Turner executives, and actors like Tyler Perry. Is that intimidating?

You can’t be star struck, you have to be professional. It can be intense but it is a welcome change from casual dining. In my every day life I would never cross paths with these people, but here I do.

Do you notice any dining patterns at the restaurant?

At lunch during the week, it is very business-oriented. You can guarantee there are going to be pie charts and papers spread out across the table. People are here for business meetings, whereas weeknights, particularly in the fall and winter, are crowded with the neighborhood crowd, like couples and families. Then on the weekend it flips; groups of girlfriends or men after golf come to lunch, and in the evening it is business-oriented.

You went out to Los Angeles to work the acting scene. How did it go?

I have family out in LA, so I drove out there without much of a plan and stayed on an aunt’s coach. I went to every open audition. I survived on that for about two months, but this was 2008, so then I started working again, and eventually moved back to Atlanta.

Did you land any big roles?

I made it to the final eight guys for the Twilight movie’s “wolf pack,” but all the guys they chose had Native American heritage. We were all inexperienced so that is what they ended up looking for.

How does a typical casting call in Atlanta go?

You’ll show up and see a bunch of people who look similar to you. People are usually muttering their lines, sometimes you can hear the other person in the room doing their audition. When you go in for your audition, it’s typically you, a casting director, and a camera. They tell you where to stand and then you’ll introduce yourself and go.

Does it make you nervous?

I revel in moments like that, I like to do something to make myself stand out or make the casting director laugh. You have to think, what makes you special when there is a room full of guys that look just like you.

What are your distinguishing factors?

Casting directors tell me I have a good voice, probably from years of theater. I can do a good Hispanic newscaster tone now. I also have a versatile look, so I can represent different ethnicities.