Q & A with restaurateur Wilhelmina “Mina” Bestman, owner, Mina’s West African & Caribbean Cuisine, (5439 Memorial Dr), Stone Mountain, Georgia
This week interview features restaurateur Wilhelmina “Mina” Bestman, owner of Mina’s West African & Caribbean Cuisine, who single handedly turned the once struggling Mina’s Place/Mina’s Kitchen into a thriving and all-inclusive place to dine with families and friends. So far, Mina’s West African & Caribbean Cuisine is believed to be the longest-serving and running Liberian-owned restaurant in metro Atlanta catering to West Africans and Caribbean diners.
Q. How and why did you get into the restaurant business?
A. After I moved down here from Philadelphia in 1996, few friends and I started throwing business ideas around about the need to have a restaurant in our community, after we noticed a void in that sector.
Q. Any experience owning and operating a restaurant, and is this something you always wanted to do?
A. No. Actually, I am a hairdresser by profession. I even ventured at one time in my life into the home healthcare business.
Q. You’ve been in business for 17 years. Are you having any fun running Mina’s West African & Caribbean Cuisine?
A. Yes, I am having fun. Like any business, there are ups and downsides. Getting people to work consistently is a downside. Another downside is low turnover, which makes it difficult to get loan from the bank. I enjoy what I am doing, is an upside. Another upside is keeping my customers smiling and happy. As a result, I have repeat customers whom I am very grateful to have at this moment.
Q. Who are your customers?
A. My customers are mostly West Africans and people from the Caribbean. My customers are also African Americans, and of course, my own Liberian people. Since we like to cook our food daily and fresh, we often ask our customers to call us first then pick up their orders later, to keep their food warm and ready to eat. If our customers prefer coming in to sit with us and eat their meals, we are more than happy to to serve them.
Q. Any secret to your success and longevity?
A. I love what I am doing, and I also take my customers seriously. I gave 100% to everybody walking through the doors to my restaurant. Also, I am God-fearing, and I love my kids.
Q. What are your opening and closing hours?
A. We are open at 11:30 a.m., daily. Closed on Sundays.
Mon – Thu (11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.)
Fri-Sat (11:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m) Sun (CLOSED).
Mina’s West African & Caribbean Cuisine
5439 Memorial Dr.
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083
Phone #: 508- 9691 (Phone in to pick-up).
“We’re Open 6 Days a Week!”
“We also do event rental and catering.”
Thank you for your time.
Thank you also for interviewing me.