An interview with Molly Gunn ‘00, owner The Porter Beer Bar
- First off, tell us a little bit about your background. What all have you been doing since you graduated Paideia, and where are you now?
I attended University of Pennsylvania and majored in cultural anthropology with an emphasis on food and drink in culture, while there I worked for a Boston restaurant group that convinced me I didn't want to be a food critic, but rather a restaurateur, directing the action, so to speak. After graduating I worked in Washington DC and Boston before returning to Atlanta where I met my husband working at Seeger's in Buckhead. Nick was the sous chef at Seeger's but was thinking of moving back to NYC, luckily I convinced him to stay in Atlanta! We opened The Porter in September of 2008, ten days before Lehman Brothers crashed during a gasoline shortage in the southeast that was producing long lines at gas stations. So no one had money or could drive, but they could walk and everyone could afford a beer!
- With regards to The Porter, tell us about your mission and what led you to come up with this idea?
Nick and I have always loved great beer. We greatly admired Monk's Cafe in Philly as well as the Brickstore in Decatur and hoped to create a beer bar that fit in with Little Five Points' punk aesthetic.
- What are some ways that COVD-19 has affected your business?
We have had to entirely lay off all our staff and learn to run a restaurant with just the two of us. I have never missed my staff so much and been so grateful for my husband and his amazing culinary talents. We are only open to take-out and luckily are still considered an essential business. We are also lucky that the City of Atlanta is allowing us to sell beer to-go so we can save you a trip to the grocery store!
- Anything the Paideia alumni community can do to support you?
Yes! Please order takeout from us! You can find our food menu here: http://www.theporterbeerbar.com/eat/lunch-dinner/ and beer here: http://www.theporterbeerbar.com/drink/beer/
Call us at 404-223-0393. We are closed Mondays, Open Tuesday-Thursdays from 3 - 8 p.m. and Friday-Sunday from 12 - 8 p.m. If you are super quarantined and not leaving the house, you can also order a gift card by emailing me firstname.lastname@example.org
- Which teachers and/or experiences during your time at Paideia helped shape who you are and what you do?
I had so many amazing teachers at Paideia it's hard to name just a few. Peter was my first teacher so the middle ages will always hold a special place in my heart. Tal Birdsey always looked at me skeptically, which is just what you need in junior high when you think you are always right. Tom introduced me to Anthropology in high school, but Donna was the best story teller. She always made history come alive. Clark Cloyd put up with antics (talking non-stop) and taught one of my favorite short term classes that involved running and writing.
- If you could go back and time and give the high-school version of yourself advice, what would it be?
Pssst. You are an introvert; it's okay that you don't like everyone and that everyone doesn't like you. It took me years to realize this and learn how to build enough quiet into my very noisy life.