AMANDA KIZA | RETAIL MANAGER at STORICO FRESCO
by: Lia Picard
Atlanta has thousands of people working in the restaurant industry. The most recognizable faces among those are often times chefs, doing what they do to keep us well-fed. But what about the other people who make up the fabric of the industry? Here at Nosh Talks we’re highlighting people from all walks of life that make up the restaurant industry in Atlanta, shedding a light on those who keep it going.
Today we’re profiling Amanda Kiza, the retail manager at Storico Fresco in Buckhead. For the uninitiated, Storico Fresco is a hybrid Italian shop and restaurant, and recently relocated from its small storefront to a much larger shop with dining space and a kitchen.
Kiza grew up in Alpharetta and has lived in Georgia her life. She got a taste for the restaurant industry in high school, when she hosted and waited tables at an Alpharetta restaurant, and then again in college when she bartended, but didn’t intend for it to become her “grown up” job. She went to Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA and graduated with a degree in psychology. She thought she wanted to teach, and even tried her hand at office work but says, “that was probably the worst decision I ever made.”
She’s always been a food enthusiast, though, and even strongly considered going to culinary school. While she pondered the decision, she began working at the cupcake shop, Sprinkles, and joined their management track. While that gave her a hand in all things cupcake store related from marketing to baking the cupcakes themselves, she realized she really loved working in retail. This gave her a chance to combine two loves: food, and helping people.
“be willing to get your hands dirty.”
It was fortuitous then, that Michael Patrick, owner of Storico Freso, should walk into a shop she was working at and offer to take her under his wing.
“He told me, ‘you don’t need culinary school, I’ll teach you everything you need to know.’ I was in the right place at the right time,” she explained. A year and a half later and Kiza has taken the lead on the retail side for Storico Fresco and works closely with the two owners, Patrick and Pietro Gianni.
Kiza loves the environment of Storico Fresco, and says it’s like working with an extended family. They all have each other’s backs. She also loves working for a local shop that has a unique story – it started in Patrick’s basement as a hobby – and she hopes to continue to watch it grow. “As long as we’re still open, I’ll be here.” Even though her title is “retail manager” every day brings new challenges and never fails to make life interesting. The one constant, though, is helping customers. Storico Fresco sells specialty pastas, meats, cheeses and other Italian goods and not everyone who enters the store is familiar with them. “I love getting people to feel comfortable with our products, and educate them.”
It’s not all work for Kiza. She lives near the shop, but loves to get out and explore Atlanta’s culinary scene. Current favorite spots include BeetleCat “for the oysters” and The General Muir for well, everything.
Even though it was a “seven year detour to get” where she is, she’s content now at the helm of the Storico Fresco shop, and plans to help the company grow. If she could impart any wisdom on the younger generation starting in the restaurant industry it’s to “be willing to get your hands dirty.” And, don’t be so quick to push off your passions – although you’ll eventually get there, it just may mean a seven year detour.