SEASON 1: EPISODE NUMBER: 30

EPISODE GUEST: Greg Auten

Pinky’s Westside Grill was serving up a mean meal long before Guy Fieri and the Food Network visited.  We’re chatting with owner, Greg Auten, whose long history in the restaurant scene has taken him from a hot dog cart to working with another Charlotte, NC iconic diner, the Penguin.

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It’s the restaurant with a VW Bug sitting atop the roof that you’ve seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. But we already knew Pinky’s Westside Grill was serving up a mean meal long before Guy Fieri and the Food Network visited.

Owner, Greg Auten, has had along history in the Charlotte, N.C. restaurant scene. A Charlotte native, Auten has watched the city and food scene grow exponentially. He started his culinary career working a hot dog cart, bartending at Red Lobster and working as a banquet chef before taking a position at the iconic Penguin restaurant.

Despite the popularity and success of Pinky’s, Auten’s career has had many setbacks. Overcoming them has taught him the importance of consistency, reliability, and investing. His advice? “Whoever’s listening to this learn from these stories… there’s a little thread of what it takes to succeed.”

Greg Auten’s Business Tips:

  • Take what you do serious
  • Be in control of finances
  • Stay on top of everything
  • Knowing the cost of everything

After a wide and varied journey through all sides of the restaurant industry, bbq fan Lewis Donald launched his shop, Sweet Lew’s, in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlotte, NC because he felt Charlotte needed a true barbecue shop and “I felt like that was my best avenue to be me, have fun and I could see myself doing it for the rest of my life.”

“It takes time and you have to really work at it like any business”

– Jason Ackerman of @scallionpancake on growing an Instagram following

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