Featured Server Stephen Sager
Stephen grew up in Weymouth, Mass., and earned a business marketing degree at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. He moved to Charleston in 2002 and helped open the original Tristan. After it closed, he bartended at Carolina’s before moving on to Peninsula Grill. His hobbies include planning his wedding, watching football, playing golf and enjoying the great food and wine Charleston has to offer.
Eat This! What is the #1-selling item on the Peninsula Grill menu and what is
your personal favorite dish?
Stephen Sager : Our best selling dish is Peach Glazed Jumbo Shrimp with Hoppin' Jon Hush Puppies. My personal favorite is the Berkshire Pork Chop.
ET! What do you think separates Peninsula Grill from other restaurants in the area?
SS: Our level of team service – the way we all work together – makes us unique. Nobody has a certain section. Anyone in the restaurant can help anyone.
ET! Which cocktails and types of wine are most popular right now?
SS: White wine, any variety, is popular because of the time of year. Teatinis and Carolina cocktails are popular, as is a salty Saint Bernard – fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, Belvedere pink grapefruit vodka and St. Germain.
ET! What is your biggest pet peeve in your work as a server?
SS: When people season their food before they taste it and then tell me it’s too salty.
ET! Do you find that because of what you do for a living, you are judgmental about service when you go out to eat?
SS: Yes. I have a hard time going out to dinner without critiquing. I’m not necessarily vocal about it, but I am aware.
ET! Some people say that everyone should work as a server for a little while because it is a valuable experience. Do
SS: Yes. Everyone should understand the intricacies of trying to run an efficient operation while maintaining a high-quality and pleasurable dining experience for everyone.
ET! How long have you been a server?
SS: 12 years. Six years at Peninsula Grill.
ET! What do you like best about being a server?
SS: I enjoy meeting new and interesting people every day. I enjoy food and wine and like to pass on my knowledge to our customers.
ET! Do you think most servers would rather work at a restaurant where they make decent tips and have great management or work at an establishment where they make outstanding tips but have to deal with management they do not care for or respect?
SS: I would rather work with great management, enjoy my job and make less money.
ET! Do you aspire to own your own restaurant or manage a restaurant someday?
SS: No. Why would I not want to own a restaurant? Owning a restaurant is a very difficult job. They spend their life in the restaurant. It takes a lot more than most people think to run a successful restaurant, especially in the Charleston market.
ET! What do you say to people who say Peninsula Grill is overpriced?
SS: We are not the most expensive restaurant in the city. The price on the menu is a great value for the quality and service of food, and we provide generous portion sizes.
ET! What is the most memorable experience you had working as a server?
SS: We participated in the Food and Wine Festival, and the celebrity chef did not show up, so Bill Murray was our guest celebrity chef. He did impromptu comedy the entire night.